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This Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe Is A Roman Classic

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of four traditional Roman classic pasta dishes and this authentic Italian recipe has amazing flavors and that be your favorite.

Bucatini all Amatriciana - With Basil

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

If you want to keep it traditional, and you should, you should definitely use Bucatini for this classic dish, but if you are unable to find it in your local grocery store, you can use spaghetti. I’ve written about the four best pasta in Rome previously, and for more background on these dishes you should definitely check out that post. For this recipe I want to focus more on the preparation of this classic Roman pasta.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana And Traditional Italian Recipes

This recipe is less difficult to prepare than some of my other recipes because boiling pasta is simple and sauteing the guanciale is straightforward, but the sauce can be a little tricky to prepare. It isn’t about the measurements of the ingredients as much as it is the “feel” when you are working with the guanciale and wine. It is easy to over or undercook the guanciale and deglazing with the white wine needs to be done with care. I’ve made this dish a few times and I feel like I still have room to improve, although I don’t mind trying again and again because it is so delicious.

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Pasta Pot with Strainer

Perfect for cooking pasta, this pot can be used to cook a range of meals you will love!

Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan

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There are some variations to this recipe that I will include below which allow for testing the combinations of which type of tomatoes and wine you use. Luckily for all of us, even the mistakes are delightful!

Bucatini all Amatriciana - Ingredients

Ingredients for Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe Details

Can You Make Spaghetti all’Amatriciana?

In Rome, Bucatini pasta seems to be the most used with Amatriciana, but it is not offensive to use another. You can use spaghetti for this recipe, but look for a quality bronze die pasta and you will be happy you did. A quick look around at other online recipes shows that you can easily try a long “spaghetti-like” pasta, but definitely not a short pasta.

Guanciale – Italian Pork Cheek

Bucatini all Amatriciana - Guanciale

Fried Guanciale

This is not the first recipe I’ve written about that uses guanciale, but I continue to be excited to need to buy guanciale because of how delicious I know it will be. If you are unfamiliar with guanciale, it is cured pork cheek that has been salted and rubbed with spices. It is an amazing ingredient that is foundational here in Rome. Three of the four classic dishes of pasta in Rome (Amatriciana, Carbonara and Gricia) use guanciale.

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

If you watch enough YouTube and various cooking shows, you will hear “cooks” say that as a substitute for guanciale you can use pancetta or bacon, but this just isn’t so. I understand that finding guanciale outside of a “Little Italy” section of a bigger city can be challenging, but it is not the same and it is worth the extra effort to find it. Pancetta is too subtle for this dish, so if you can’t find guanciale, bacon is an OK substitute, as is Speck.

Traditional Cheese For Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Traditionally the dish was served only with Pecorino Romano, which is a sheep’s milk cheese, but you can try some other hard Italian cheeses, like Parmigiano Reggiano, which is a cow’s milk cheese, or Grana Padano, which is another hard, slowly aged cow’s milk cheese. There is generally agreement online that Pecorino Romano is the only option for cheese to use.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana Herbs and Seasoning

Salt and the Pepper flakes (Peperoncino) are all you will need here. Amatriciana isn’t typically a spicy dish, like Arrabbiata, so keep an eye on how much pepper you are adding. It has a strong taste of the guanciale seasoning and the dish will get salt from the pasta water, guanciale and cheese, so be careful not to overdo it and continue to taste it repeatedly while you are preparing it.

Bucatini all Amatriciana - No Cheese

Bucatini all’Amatriciana Ready For Adding Cheese

Possible Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe Additions or Alterations

Once you make this dish and decide that you, like me, LOVE guanciale, you might want to double the guanciale that the recipe calls for. This is ok, but with one caveat. You will need to check on the amount of fat that is rendered when you sauté the guanciale, because that will obviously double, so you will want to remove enough as to keep your Amatriciana from being too oily.

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

I mentioned that bacon can be used, but only if you can’t find guanciale. I am probably overstating this, but once you taste the crunchy guanciale, I’m sure you will understand my insistence. That being said, I have eaten Spaghetti all’Amatriciana here in Rome and the guanciale was substituted with something like pancetta or bacon. This is a sign of a lower quality restaurant and should be avoided when possible.

For the tomatoes, I prefer a sauce rather than peeled whole tomatoes, so you may be able to see in the pictures that I made this substitution. There is a lot of room to try new things here, like cherry tomatoes or crushed, but my preference was a simple sauce, like Mutti Passata.

A fresh dried hot pepper would be the best ingredient, but the reality is that these are seasonal, so you can substitute dried pepper flakes without much of a concern.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Servings: 4

Ingredients For Bucatini all’Amatriciana

  • 1 lb. Bag (500 g) of Bucatini Pasta
  • 16 oz. (500 g) of Peeled Tomatoes
  • 8 oz. (250 g) of Guanciale (or more, if you would like)
  • 4 (120 g) of grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Pepper Flakes (Peperoncini) or 1 Whole Spicy Pepper
  • 1/2 small glass (4 oz) of dry white wine
  • Salt to taste

Steps to Make Bucatini all’Amatriciana

  1. Cut the guanciale into strips and brown it in a thick-bottomed pan for a few minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown.
  2. Drain the guanciale on a paper towel and set it aside.
  3. Remove part of the rendered fat, leaving 2 tablespoons, and deglaze the pan with the white wine.
  4. When it has evaporated, add the coarsely chopped peeled tomatoes (or sauce) and the chopped red pepper, season with salt and continue cooking for about 15 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta in well salted boiling water and cook until it reaches al dente, then drain while reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  6. Pour the pasta into the saucepan with the sauce, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of pasta water and mix it well.
  7. Add the Guanciale and Cheese, mix and serve immediately.
Bucatini all Amatriciana - Finished

Bucatini all’Amatriciana Ready To Eat

Previous Recipes That Might Interest You

If you enjoyed this Bucatini all’Amatriciana recipe, then here are some of my previous delicious recipes that you might want to try:

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