Since the very first trip to Italy in 2020, I have been addicted to replicating some of the Italian dishes we had on our vacation as closely as possible. My personal favorite Roman pasta dish is Carbonara.

Matt Sparx
Matt Sparx

In total, there are four pasta dishes that are Roman Staples. Pasta all'Amatriciana is one of them. I am going to tell you how to make this easy pasta dish.

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Pasta all'Amatriciana Ingredients

  • Pasta - Bucatini or Rigatoni are my personal preference, however, we had Pappardelle in the cabinet.
  • Canned Peeled Tomatoes - I prefer the Cento brand since they are San Marzano Tomatoes.
  • White Wine - I used Pinot Grigio. I keep a four-pack of small bottles of wine at home pretty much all the time as I only use this type of wine for cooking.
  • Black Pepper - Freshly cracked is best.
  • Pancetta - This dish calls for Guanciale, but it is hard to find. When you find Guanciale, it's expensive. Instead, I head to the grocery store deli and get Pancetta. I ask them for the "Thick as Heck" cut. I use one of these thick cuts for every two people I am serving. You can also add another half slice for a meatier dish.
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese - Grated to taste.
Matt Sparx
Matt Sparx

Prepare Your Ingredients

  • Pancetta - cube the pancetta up into evenly shaped squares.
  • Tomatoes - You will use approximately 2/3 of the can. I like to chop up my tomatoes a bit. You can also use a fork or your hands to mush them up for a more rustic style.
  • Pecorino Romano - Finely grated.

Let's make Pasta all'Amatriciana. Put your saute pan on medium-low heat. You will want to add the Pancetta to a cold pan and render the fat out of the meat. Based on the chunk size and fat content, this could take anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes. I have a power boil feature on my range and this is normally the time I start to heat my pasta water.  Once the Pancetta fat has been rendered out, add about 1/2 to 1 full teaspoon of cracked black pepper. I let the pepper bloom a bit in the oil before adding the white wine. After adding the white wine, let the alcohol burn off of the wine, and then add the tomatoes to simmer.

Your pasta water should be boiling at this point. If you are using Bucatini or Rigatoni, cook times on these kinds of pasta range anywhere from 10-15 minutes to al dente. Now would be a good time to toss in your pasta.

Stir your tomato base occasionally. You will see that the sauce has started to reduce. This is what you want to happen. All of the flavors from the Pancetta, white wine, and black pepper are marrying quite well with the tomatoes at this point.

Just before al dente, transfer your pasta to the tomato sauce. If you are using a strainer, be sure to reserve about half of a cup of pasta water to add to the sauce. Some people like to toss in a pan, I however tend to make a mess when I do it, so I prefer to use tongs to get the sauce and pasta incorporated.

After you get the pasta and the sauce all mixed up, you might see that the sauce has been absorbed by the pasta. If this happens, add a bit of the reserved pasta water, but not too much. One of the final steps is to incorporate the Pecorino Romano cheese to your dish. Do this by sprinkling atop of the pasta and then toss or stir.

By now, you have worked up an appetite and it's time to eat. Plate your pasta and then finish off with more Pecorino Romano and black pepper to enjoy this classic Roman pasta dish.

Need more of a tutorial? If you are like me, you are a visual learner. Youtube has been a good friend of mine when it comes to learning to cook a new dish. Not Another Cooking Show is a channel that I follow that breaks down the recipe quite easily. If you would like to check out the video on how to make Bucatini all'Amatriciana, I have linked it below:


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