Dinner/ European/ Pasta/ Recipes/ Super Simple

Chef Stefano’s Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe

23/11/2020

On the table in 30 minutes, Chef Stefano’s Bucatini all’Amatriciana recipe is an easy dinner with less than 10 ingredients. This Italian pasta favourite has a gorgeously rich tomato sauce, smoky guanciale, hint of chilli and freshly grated pecorino romano cheese.

Bucatini all'amatriciana served up on a plate with a fork.

Why We Love This

Pasta is a popular choice for dinner, so it’s nice to have a few variations to make such as a amatriciana sauce rather than the regular bolognese. 

What makes this dish so wonderful is its use of simple ingredients with powerhouse results, making it perfect to cook for guests, while keeping things relaxed and easy.

The bucatini all'amatriciana ready to be served up.

What is Amatriciana? 

Amatriciana gets its name from the mountainous town of Amatrice in the 1700s. The rustic Italian shepherd’s recipe uses ingredients which were readily available to shepherds to keep them warm through bitter winters.

According to the City of Amatrice, the most traditional and authentic version of amatriciana uses 7 specific ingredients – pasta, guanciale / bacon, white wine, tomatoes, olive oil, chilli and pecorino cheese. The Roman version however, can include the addition of onions and garlic as well.

Where We Learnt This Recipe

Our version today, from Chef Stefano, is a mix between the Rome and Amatrice versions, from his city of San Donà di Piave, just outside of Venice, Italy. It does include onions, but no garlic, and instead of canned tomatoes, he has simplified it to use a jar of tomato passata instead.

The day we were taught to cook amatriciana with our two friends Beppe and Chef Stefano, we quickly learnt important tips that make or break the recipe, according to Chef Stefano.

From the moment we stepped into the kitchen, we were beset by bad fortune and quickly scolded by Stefano. We had refrigerated passata (instead of room temperature), sweet pancetta (instead of salty guanciale), tasty cheese (instead of pecorino romano) and a complete lack of wine in the apartment:

“Beppe, you can’t drink beer with pasta!” Yells Stefano, while sloshing spoonfuls of pasta water into the pan.

While Chef Stefano wanted to revoke Beppe’s Italian passport, it was the just the beginning of our love affair with bucatini all’amatriciana. 

Needless to say, by the end of the day (and with a trip back to the shops for the RIGHT ingredients) we had very delicious bowls of pasta in front of us by the end of the night.

Bucatini topped with cheese in tomato sauce.

What You’ll Need

There’s 8 core ingredients in today’s recipe plus a pinch of salt, and utilising the leftover pasta water.

  • Pasta – This recipe suits both long pasta like spaghetti or bucatini, or you can use a short pasta such as penne or fusilloni. We use Garofalo pasta, as it’s high quality, and made in Naples, Italy.
  • Passata at Room Temperature – Passata is different from other tomato based pasta sauces because it’s essentially uncooked tomato puree strained of the seeds and skin. Stefano’s number one rule when it comes to using passata is to always use it at room temperature. If you’ve got passata that’s been in the fridge, run it under warm water to bring it to room temperature. Substitute with the more traditional can of peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, or a can of chopped tomatoes.
  • Guanciale – Bucatini all’amatriciana traditionally calls for an Italian cured meat called guanciale, which is made with pork cheek / pork jowl. Guanciale can sometimes be hard to find, but thankfully it’s extremely similar to pancetta. Look for either type at your local supermarket, Italian grocery store, or even online. If you can’t find guanciale or pancetta you can easily substitute with bacon chopped into pieces.
  • Onion – Use white onion, or omit for a more authentic amatriciana.
  • Chilli – Use a fresh whole red chilli, or substitute with a teaspoon of chilli flakes. You can also use black pepper if you prefer.
  • Cheese – Use pecorino romano cheese in the first instance, or substitute with parmesan cheese. The sharpness from the cheese really brings up the flavour to the next level.
  • Pasta Water – Pasta water is the unsung hero of Italian pasta sauces.  All that milky white starch helps give your sauce a smoother consistency and bind with your pasta.
  • Olive Oil – This recipe calls for a good amount of extra virgin olive oil in the sauce, however, this is not always to everyone’s taste. Feel free to adjust the amount of olive oil used in the sauce to suit your own preference.
Mixing the pecorino remano cheese into the pasta.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • 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.

FAQs

Where is Amatriciana from?

Amatriciana is a pasta sauce that originated in the city of Amatrice in Italy during the 1700’s.

What’s the difference between guanciale and pancetta?

Guanciale and pancetta are different sections of pork meat. Guanciale is from the jowl and pancetta is from the belly.

Variations

  • For the Roman Version – Add 2 cloves of garlic, whole and slightly crushed, then remove before serving.
  • For the Amatrice Version – Omit the onion, use canned peeled tomatoes instead of passata and add ¼ cup white wine after cooking the guanciale.
Plate of amatriciana pasta with cheese and wine in background.

More pasta recipes made for weeknight dinners:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!

Bucatini all'amatriciana served up on a plate with a fork.

Chef Stefano’s Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe

On the table in 30 minutes, Chef Stefano’s Bucatini all'Amatriciana recipe is an easy dinner with less than 10 ingredients. This Italian pasta favourite has a gorgeously rich tomato sauce, smoky guanciale, hint of chilli and freshly grated pecorino romano cheese.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 949kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Let’s start by bringing a large saucepan of water to boil. For the best texture, use 1 litre of water per 100g of pasta, and add in a large handful of good quality rock salt.
  • Once the water's boiling, add your pasta and cook for a few minutes LESS than the packet directions indicate (the pasta will continue to cook when it's added into the sauce). Drain the pasta but 4 cups of the pasta water to use in the sauce. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the onion, chillis and guanciale/pancetta or bacon pieces, and stir fry until gorgeously fragrant.
  • The next step is to add the passata and 4 scoops of pasta water. Stir everything through then reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes.
  • Now for the fun part! Place the drained pasta on top of the sauce, but DON'T mix through yet. First, top the pasta with your grated pecorino romano cheese and gently mix it through the pasta (avoiding the sauce as much as possible).
  • Once the pasta is coated with that wonderfully melted cheese, you can start to slowly mix it in with the sauce. It should bind nicely to the cheese-coated pasta.
  • If you decide the sauce is too dry, you can add more pasta water and mix it through until the pasta is nicely coated.
  • To serve, portion out the pasta into serving bowls, leaving some of the cooked pancetta to place on the top as a garnish.
  • Buon appetito!

Recipe Notes

  • For the Roman Version – Add 2 cloves of garlic, whole and slightly crushed, then remove before serving.
    For the Amatrice Version – Omit the onion, use canned peeled tomatoes instead of passata and add ¼ cup white wine after cooking the guanciale.
  • Pasta – This recipe suits both long pasta like spaghetti or bucatini, or you can use a short pasta such as penne or fusilloni. We use Garofalo pasta, as it’s high quality, and made in Naples, Italy.
    • 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.
    • Pasta Water – Pasta water is the unsung hero of Italian pasta sauces.  All that milky white starch helps give your sauce a smoother consistency and bind with your pasta.
  • Passata at Room Temperature – Passata is different from other tomato based pasta sauces because it’s essentially uncooked tomato puree strained of the seeds and skin. Stefano’s number one rule when it comes to using passata is to always use it at room temperature. If you’ve got passata that’s been in the fridge, run it under warm water to bring it to room temperature. Substitute with the more traditional can of peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, or a can of chopped tomatoes.
  • Guanciale – Bucatini all’amatriciana traditionally calls for an Italian cured meat called guanciale, which is made with pork cheek / pork jowl. Guanciale can sometimes be hard to find, but thankfully it’s extremely similar to pancetta. Look for either type at your local supermarket, Italian grocery store, or even online.  If you can’t find guanciale or pancetta you can easily substitute with bacon chopped into pieces.
  • Onion – Use white onion, or omit for a more authentic amatriciana.
  • Chilli – Use a fresh whole red chilli, or substitute with a teaspoon of chilli flakes. You can also use black pepper if you prefer.
  • Cheese – Use pecorino romano cheese in the first instance, or substitute with parmesan cheese. The sharpness from the cheese really brings up the flavour to the next level.
  • Olive Oil – This recipe calls for a good amount of extra virgin olive oil in the sauce, however, this is not always to everyone’s taste. Feel free to adjust the amount of olive oil used in the sauce to suit your own preference.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 949kcal | Carbohydrates: 88g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 615mg | Potassium: 749mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 669IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 3mg
    Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
    Chef Stefano’s Bucatini all\'Amatriciana Recipe

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    12 Comments

  • Reply
    Natalie | Natalie's Food & Health
    03/03/2017 at 11:43 pm

    5 stars
    This looks amazing!!! I’m a huge pasta fan so I can’t wait to try this pasta amatriciana. Lovely photos. And thanks for tips 😉

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2017 at 11:09 am

      Thanks for stopping by Natalie, glad to help! 🙂

  • Reply
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    03/03/2017 at 10:13 pm

    Is there ANYTHING more comforting than a big bowl of pasta in a rich sauce?! Especially with some grated cheese over the top 😉 Yum!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      09/03/2017 at 11:12 am

      Hmmm that’s true, there aren’t too many things as comforting as a big bowl of pasta… unless it’s a nice glass of red to wash it down with! ????

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine
    03/03/2017 at 7:10 pm

    5 stars
    Stunning photos of this dish! I haven’t experimented much with that dark look, but this motivates me to!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      10/03/2017 at 8:49 am

      Thanks, it’s definitely a style we love to experiment with and that makes the colours in our dishes really pop. We’ve learned so much about moody photography from Rachel over at Two Loves Studio so be sure to check out her site. 🙂

  • Reply
    Brian Jones
    03/03/2017 at 4:32 pm

    5 stars
    I couldn’t agree more with life being too short for bad pasta, in fact, life is too short for bad food period 🙂 Love the sound of this, simple and beautiful.

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      03/03/2017 at 5:41 pm

      High fives to that, Brian! And thanks for your kind words.

  • Reply
    Luci's Morsels
    03/03/2017 at 4:12 pm

    5 stars
    This looks delicious! I am having some serious dinner envy! Yummy!

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      03/03/2017 at 5:40 pm

      Haha dinner envy – there’s only one cure! 😉

  • Reply
    Carlos At Spoonabilities
    02/03/2017 at 9:57 pm

    5 stars
    The pasta looks amazingly good and the pictures are beautiful

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      03/03/2017 at 2:23 pm

      Aww thanks Carlos, means a lot. Hope you enjoy your amatriciana! 🙂

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