Pasta all’ Amatriciana

Pasta all’ Amatriciana

Pasta with smoked pancetta and tomato sauce. Amatrice is a town on the central Apennines where on 15th August huge cauldrons of this dish are prepared for the local festa. The sauce is traditionally made with pork jowl, and flavoured with a lot of dried chilli and grated pecorino to counter-balance the fattiness of the meat. In this country I use smoked pancetta sold in cubes.

Cook time 15 min For how many? Serves 6 as a first course or 4 as a main course


  • 350g smoked pancetta cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 dried chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 120 ml dry white wine
  • 450 ml tomato sauce
  • 450 g bucatini
  • 6 tbsp freshly grated pecorino
  • Freshly grated Parmesan to serve


Put the pancetta and the oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté until the fat has run out of the pancetta and the pancetta is crisp and browned. Stir frequently.

Add the onion and a pinch of salt to the frying pan and sauté for about 10 minutes. Mix in the garlic and chilli. Cook for a further minute or so and then splash in the wine. Turn the heat up and let the wine bubble away to reduce it by half. Pour in the tomato sauce and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to combine. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Cook the bucatini in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain thoroughly, giving the colander a few sharp shakes so that the water trapped in the bucatini comes out. Transfer the pasta to a heated bowl and mix in three-quarters of the sauce and the pecorino. Toss very thoroughly and then spoon over the rest of the sauce. Serve immediately, handing round the Parmesan separately in a bowl.

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