Recipe: Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of my absolute favorite pasta dishes.   This sauce gets its unique flavor from a combination of chili flake, black pepper and Guanciale, an Italian cured meat made from pork jowl. I like to buy my Italian specialty ingredients from A. Litteri, but feel free to substitute with Pancetta or bacon if it’s easier to find. This recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner or the next time you’re ready to throw a party!

Yield: 4-5 servings | Total Time: 45 minutes | Active Time: 20 min


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ lb cubed Guanciale
  • ½ red onion, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz canned tomatoes (use San Marzano if possible)
  • 1 pound dried bucatini
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • Pecorino Romano for serving
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat 2 tbsp in medium sauce pot over medium heat. Add Guanciale and cook until golden and fat starts to render.
  2. Add chili flake, onion and garlic. Stirring often, cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add tomatoes, and stir occasionally for about 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. If your sauce seems too acidic from the tomatoes, try adding a dash of sugar to help balance the flavors.
  4. As sauce simmers, cook your pasta. Bring a large pot of water to boil and season well with salt. Add pasta and cook until almost al dente (we’ll finish cooking the pasta in the sauce!) Reserve 2 cups of pasta water and drain well.
  5. To finish the pasta, heat reaming tablespoon of oil and a ¼ cup reserved pasta water. Add sauce and drained pasta, stirring quickly to coat.  As the sauce reduces, test pasta for doneness, adding reserved water as needed until pasta reaches desired doneness.
  6. Transfer to bowls and top with grated Pecorino Romano and chopped basil.

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