Pasta Amatriciana made with pancetta, tomatoes, Romano cheese, crushed peppers and onions. It will be a family favorite!
Ryan and I have been fortunate enough to go to Italy twice in our lives. The trips were a dream. During those two trips we visited Rome, Venice, Florence, the Amalfi Coast, Milan, Lake Como and Siena. The country, the sights and the people were wonderful. The food and wine were fantastic. I still find myself thinking about some of the meals we had there. And it has been almost a decade since we visited. I consider the meal that I had at Il Buco Ristorante in Sorrento to be among one of the best meals I have ever had. Ever.
Whether we were eating stuffed zucchini blossoms, linguine aglio olio or gelato, everything was unbelievably delicious. My favorite meals were always the ones that were simple. Meals that tasted like home cooking. Pasta Amatriciana is a perfect example of that.
Pasta all’amatriciana is a traditional Italian dish with guanciale, tomatoes, olive oil and romano cheese. Guanciale is an Italian cured meat and, unfortunately, is not readily found here in the US. Pancetta is a great substitute and a lot easier to find. Pancetta is basically Italian bacon, but unlike American bacon it is not smoked. If you cannot find pancetta use thick cut unsmoked bacon.
Another traditional aspect of Pasta Amatriciana is the pasta. Bucatini pasta is traditional. Bucatini pasta is a thick spaghetti like pasta with a hole in the middle. I like it because it’s thicker and has more of a bite to it. In recent years I have seen bucatini pasta available at my grocery store. If you cannot find it, you can substitute spaghetti or linguine.
Originally published in 2009. Republished with updated photos in 2018.
Start the water for your pasta. Cook according to box directions.
Meanwhile, brown pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat, 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels, reserve pan drippings.
In the same skillet add the onion and crushed red pepper. Cook until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Cook 15 minutes, sauce will reduce slightly. (Note: Pancetta can be salty so taste your sauce before you start adding salt.)
Return pancetta to pan, toss in pasta. Add pecorino romano cheese, toss pasta once more. Serve.