Pasta all’Amatriciana

When you get a hold of guanciale from Italy you put it to good use. Guanciale is produced with whole pork cheeks. It is rubbed with salt, sugar , and spices and cured for three weeks. It has an earthy flavor that is stronger and richer than pancetta and its texture is more delicate and silky. When cooked, the fat melts away giving great depth of flavor to the dishes and sauces you use it in. This month I made authentic Pasta Carbonara with guanciale and now I would like to redo another pasta dish I previously posted, Pasta all’Amatriciana.

Once again this is a pasta dish with few ingredients, but it’s important to use the best possible quality ingredients. If you don’t have Italian specialty stores in your neighborhood the internet is a wonderful thing. There is nothing you can’t get online from around the world, for a price. For me, this was well worth it.

Please note, this recipe has NO onions, No garlic, and specifically calls for San Marzano tomatoes.

1 -2 ounces of Guanciale, cut into small dice.

1/2 cup white wine

1 – 28 ounce can of San Marzano Tomatoes, crushed by hand

1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 pound bucatini pasta, or other thick spaghetti product

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Salt & black pepper to taste

Put a large pot of salted water on high heat and bring to a boil for the pasta.

In the meantime, in a skillet large enough to hold the cooked pasta, cook the guanciale over medium low heat until the guanciale is crisp and most of the fat is rendered. Put the crisp guanciale in a small dish for later and add the white wine and red pepper flakes to the pan with the rendered fat. Cook off the wine for about a minuet.

Add the crushed San Marzano Tomatoes to the pan and bring the heat to medium high. Stir well and bring to a simmer, uncovered. The sauce should only cook for about 10-15 minuets. After that cooking time, taste the sauce for salt and pepper. When the water comes to a boil add the pasta and stir. However long the pasta takes to cook, drain it two minutes earlier, it will finish cooking in the pan of sauce. Reserve one cup of pasta water if needed.

Add the drained pasta to the pan of sauce along with the reserved crisp guanciale and cook on medium heat while stirring for the additional time it takes to cook the pasta al dente.

Plate the pasta and add a generous amount of Pecorino Romano cheese. Enjoy! Simplicity at its finest.

One of three feral cats that come to visit was watching me the whole time through my patio door as I prepared this meal. They know when something good is cooking in my house.


About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. Now that Peter is retired, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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4 Responses to Pasta all’Amatriciana

  1. Pat Hindle says:

    Looks delicious!

  2. Rosemary says:

    Keep these wonderful recipes coming. Your efforts are much appreciated.

  3. Richard D Schinella says:

    Great recipe Peter! The only time I had pasta ala Amatriciana it was in an excellent restaurant in Milano, and was served not with spaghetti but with a pasta similar to lasagna. It was absolutely delicious. I assumed the meat was a thick bacon, and when I returned from Italy made it using bacon that I simmered in hot water before cooking. Thanks for the info re guanciale; I’ll try to get some and try it next time.
    Richard Schinella

  4. Bella says:

    Love these stories and recipes Peter, yes…please keep them coming! We were so lucky to grow up having these incredible memories. Your stories bring me back to those childhood days when life was richer, yet so much simpler. This is one of my favorite dishes to order out, I’ve never attempted making it. I’m going to need to find guanciale 😉
    So glad I found your blog 🇮🇹🇺🇸

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