Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of my all time favorite pasta dishes. I visited Italy with my family when I was 19, and one of my favorite memories from the trip was the most perfect bowl of Bucatini all’Amatriciana I ate in Rome. Perfectly al dente pasta, chunky tomato sauce loaded with crispy, salty pork and tons of cheese—you can’t go wrong!

This dish originated in Amatrice, Italy—hence the name, Amatricana—and traditonally involves cured pork jowl, tomato, and Pecorino cheese. Of course, the recipe varies from region to region and sometimes uses onion, like I did here. These days you can find many, many, variations on this recipe but I like to keep mine simple and fairly close to the original.

I wrote the recipe using pancetta instead of the traditional guanciale (Italian cured pork jowl) because guanciale can be a little more difficult to find. If you live someplace where you can easily access guaniciale, by all means, use it! You could also use parmesan instead of pecorino but I reeeeaally, really hope you don’t. The pecorino is just so delicious in this dish, it’s not to be missed. If you can only find parmesan, however, you get a pass.

My dad has been making Bucatini all’Amatriciana for my family for years and years and now that we’re all grown up, my siblings and I all make it on a regular basis. I told you it’s one of my favorite dishes! Recently, my dad gave me the tip to add vinegar to the sauce, which I did in this recipe. I’m sure some recipe purists will have a problem with that but, hey, that didn’t stop me from making my Anchovy Carbonara!

I was going to apologize for how many photos there are in this post but, I don’t think I can,  I’m just not sorry. I can’t help it if this pasta is incredibly photogenic! Please enjoy the series of cascading cheese photos that follows. [Enter heart eyes emoji here.]

Cheeeeeeeese.

Okay, okay that’s enough cheese. Said no one ever.

I hope you guys love this recipe as much as my family and I do! Please let me know if you make it, I love to see your pasta photos!

Recipe Summary

  • Name: Bucatini all'Amatriciana
  • Prep Time
    5 Minutes
    Cook Time
    45 Minutes
    Total Time
    50 Minutes
  • Level: Easy
  • Servings: 4
  • Ingredients:

    For the sauce

    • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 (5 Ounce) package pancetta, cubed
    • 1/2 Red onion, diced
    • 1 (1 pound 12 ounce) Can whole plum tomatoes
    • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 3/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Salt and pepper

    Other

    • 1 Pound bucatini
    • 1/4 Cup Pecorino Romano, grated. Plus more for serving
  • Instructions:
    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    2. In a bowl, break the tomatoes up with your hands. Set aside.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy; about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta to a bowl. Add the onions to the pan and cook until softened; about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the red pepper flakes and the vinegar and stir. Turn the heat down and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes or until thickened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Cook the pasta to one minute less than package instructions for al dente. Drain and add the pasta to the pan with the sauce along with the reserved pancetta and the cheese. Toss to coat and cook for 1 more minute.
    5. Serve right away and pass more cheese at the table.
    6. Enjoy!

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