Make Authentic Italian Amatriciana Sauce in less than 30 minutes. This is a recipe you don't want to miss! A classic Italian pasta dish to add to your favorites.
More classic Italian pasta recipes: Authentic Cacio e Pepe Recipe (Best Tips), Authentic Italian Pasta Carbonara (no cream), and Authentic Italian Spaghetti all Puttanesca Recipe. Bring a taste of Italy to your table and share this easy pasta dish with family and friends!
Make sure to read: How Long to Boil Spaghetti Pasta Perfectly Every Time to elevate this dish even more!
Why this recipe works
This classic sauce takes its spiciness from black pepper and its depth of flavor from guanciale, Italian salt-cured pork.
If you can't find guancile, use pancetta, or bacon. The San Marzano tomatoes create a rich, deep, and flavorful sauce.
Using Pecorino Romano cheese is a must in this authentic Roman dish. It is a recipe you will make time and time again for its simple and lovable nature.
Add this to your meal plan this week!
What makes this dish so wonderful is its use of simple ingredients with super flavorful results, making it perfect for guests, while keeping things relaxed and easy.
This simple pasta dish only requires a few pantry staples.
- Tomatoes in pulp
- Guanciale, pancetta, or thick cut bacon
- Spaghetti ot bucatini pasta
- Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
See quantities on recipe card.
Making amatriciana sauce with pasta is simple and requires little effort and time.
1- Heat a large pan over a high heat. Add guanciale/pancetta or bacon pieces and red chili flakes (if using), and stir fry until all the fat has been rendered out and the meat is very crisp. Scrape bottom of pan often to prevent from sticking.
2- Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Stir everything through then reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes.
3- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of cold water to a boil and add salt to taste. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
Make sure to use the right pasta tool to stir the pasta. Drain pasta and add to skillet with sauce.
4- Place the drained pasta on top of the sauce in the pan. Add half of the cheese and stir the pasta with the cheese without mixing with the sauce, yet. Stir to combine pasta water, the sauce, and pasta. Add the rest of the cheese.
5- To serve, portion out the pasta into serving bowls, top with plenty of freshly grated pecorino cheese. Mangia! (eat!)
What is Amatriciana Sauce?
Amatriciana sauce is a simple peasant dish. Sugo all'amatriciana, or alla matriciana, also known as salsa all'amatriciana, is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale, pecorino romano cheese, and tomato sauce.
Any other ingredients added are simply not the authentic recipe. This recipe is a simple peasant sauce that dates back centuries. I love this recipe for its humble and filling nature.
Italians pride themselves on simple, yet, satisfying and delicious food. This is one of those recipes that checks all the boxes!
Amatriciana originated in the green pastures on the hills overlooking Amatrice, when shepherds used to bring cheese and pieces of pork jowl with them during long stays away from home and cook them in an iron pan.
This original dish is now known as white amatriciana. Since then the recipe developed into adding tomato sauce, making it a red base.
Authentic Amatriciana Sauce
According to officials in Amatrice, there are six ingredients that make up a real amatriciana: guanciale (pork jowl), pecorino cheese, white wine, tomatoes from San Marzano, pepper and chili.
You won't find extra olive oil in the pan, onions, garlic, or other types of cheese. This recipe stays true to the true Roman authentic Amatriciana way!
The town’s deputy mayor, Piergiuseppe Monteforte, denied that officials were being too strict. “Use one ingredient for another, it changes not only the flavour of a dish but also the history of it,” Monteforte told the Guardian.
“If you use ingredients like garlic or onion in an amatriciana, it means you are ignoring a pastoral tradition that is almost 1,000 years old, passed down from generation to generation.”
One rule you absolutely can't break is adding parmigiano instead of pecorino! Shhh, if you do I won't tell the Italian officials.
I've tried it both ways and I agree that the pecorino adds a unique and distinct flavor that you can't find using any other cheese.
The classic shape of pasta for amatriciana sauce is bucatini, a sort of long-shaped pasta, rounded with a tiny hole in the middle. Bucatini is a shape typical of the Lazio region, so they pair perfectly with this sauce.
You can also use spaghetti. Spaghetti derives its name from the Italian word “spaghetto”, which means thin string. It work beautifully for this easy pasta dish.
You can also use short pasta varieties such as rigatoni, if you prefer. For more suggestions on what pasta shapes go well with what sauce read this article.
Every traditional recipe has many variations, and this happens also for this traditional recipe of pasta Amatriciana. The variations are characterized by the addition or replacement of the ingredients according to the traditions of different Italian regions or simply to your personal tastes.
- Replace the pecorino it with parmigiano cheese or use half parmigiano and half pecorino romano.
- Use Bacon. Amatriciana sauce is often made with bacon, as is the case with Authentic Italian Pasta Carbonara (no cream). If only for the easy availability of the ingredient, which is indeed also less expensive than guanciale.
- Garlic and Onion. Many people like to cook the cured meat with a clove of garlic or a small onion. This is used a lot in Rome and surroundings. The traditional Amatriciana recipe does’t approve, but in the end do what you love!
- Make your own Pasta – Make a full night of it by making your own pasta to pop into the dish!
- Al Dente Pasta – For the perfect al dente pasta, cook the pasta for a couple minutes less than the recommendation on the packet. For precise instruction read this post.
From My Cucina to your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
Made with Amore, Elena
More Delicious Recipes for YOU
Guanciale and pancetta are different sections of pork meat. Guanciale is from the jowl and pancetta is from the belly.
Amatriciana and arrabbiata are tomato-based sauces. Amatriciana has guanciale or pancetta. Arrabbiata typically includes garlic and parsley and not meat, an authentic amatriciana sauce does not.
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This is a recipe you don't want to miss. This classic sauce takes its spiciness from black pepper and dried chiles and its depth of flavor from guanciale, Italian salt-cured pork. Add this to your meal plan this week!
- 28 oz can chopped tomatoes in pulp
- 12 oz guanciale, pancetta, or thick cut bacon (if using bacon add a little oil to pan)
- 1 lb (454 grams) spaghetti ot bucatini pasta
- 1 cup (8 oz) Pecorino Romano Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cut the guanciale, pancetta or bacon into chunks less than one-half inch thick.
- Heat a large pan over a high heat. Add guanciale/pancetta or bacon pieces and red chili flakes (if using), and stir fry until all the fat has been rendered out and the meat is very crisp. Scrape bottom of pan often to prevent from sticking.
- Add the canned tomatoes to the pan. Stir everything through then reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of cold water to a boil and add salt to taste. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and add to skillet with sauce.
- Place the drained pasta on top of the sauce. Add half of the cheese and stir the pasta with the cheese without mixing with the sauce, yet. Add pasta water and stir to combine the sauce and pasta. Add the rest of the cheese.
To serve, portion out the pasta into serving bowls, top with plenty of freshly grated pecorino cheese.
Keywords: sugo al pomodoro, red sauce, amatriciana, Italian recipe, bacon, pancetta, guanciale, pecorino romano,