Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a wonderful weeknight pasta dish made with pancetta bacon, onion, white wine, crushed tomatoes and Pecorino Romano cheese. It is fast to make and if you are like me, I usually have the basic ingredients in the pantry.
I was reminded about this classic Italian recipe by my good friend Jim Tomaszek, who runs the Ye Olde Alpaca Shoppe and Safehouse Alpaca Farms in Barrington, Illinois. SafeHouse Farms is committed to breeding the highest quality alpacas, as well as being a mentoring and teaching farm. It is a great place to visit with the kids to see and pet the adorable alpacas. Can Chiquita banana and Joti Ann be any cuter!
JT loves to cook too, and we were talking about simple pasta recipes. That discussion inspired me to whip up a batch of Bucatini all’Amatriciana.
Amatriciana Sauce originates from the town of Amatrice in the Lazio region of Italy. Traditionally, Bucatini all’Amatriciana, gets it pork flavor from guanciale, cured pork jowl. I substituted pancetta bacon which is much easier to find at the market.
Bucatini all’Amatriciana requires only a few ingredients. Use the best quality ingredients you can find. Bucatini is a thick spaghetti and works best to hold the thick sauce. You can substitute Parmesan cheese, however Pecorino Romano is traditional and adds a tangy bite. Try to use imported San Marzano whole tomatoes if you can find them.
Here is the step-by-step guide:
Cook the chopped pancetta until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is slightly crispy. Set the pancetta aside.
Add the olive oil to the pancetta fat, and cook the onions with black pepper and red chili flakes. You can adjust the spiciness to your liking. We like it a bit spicy!
Deglaze the pan with white wine and add the hand-crushed tomatoes. Add the cooked pancetta back in the pan. Simmer uncovered for 15 or until the liquids are reduced to make a thick sauce. It should look like this.
While you are simmering the sauce, cook the bucatini pasta until a la dente – about 10 minutes.
Add the hot cooked pasta to the pan with the Amatriciana Sauce. Add the Pecorino cheese and mix well with tongs.
Serve immediately with extra Pecorino cheese and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 8 ounces pancetta cubed or sliced in thin strips
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small or ½ large onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
- ½ cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
- 1 28 ounce can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes (reserve the juice)
- 16 ounces Bucatini pasta
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese + more for serving
- Get the pasta water ready. Add salt to large pot of water and bring to a boil. Keep on low boil until ready to cook the bucatini.
- In a large fry pan on the stovetop, slowly cook the pancetta over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is slightly crisp. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and reserve, but leave the fat in the pan. Turn the heat to medium high and add the olive oil. When the oil is glistening, add the red onion, red and black pepper and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are wilted.
- Turn off the heat and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes or until the alcohol evaporates. Crush the whole tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pan. Add the cooked pancetta back to the pan. Add ¼ cup reserved tomato juice to the sauce. With a wooden spoon, mix the pancetta, onion and tomatoes until incorporated. Cook, uncovered, over medium low heat for 10 - 15 minutes to reduce the sauce.
- While the sauce is simmering, bring the pasta water back to a full boil. Add the bucatini and cook 10 minutes or until a la dente.
- When the pasta is done, remove from the water with tongs, and transfer to the pan with the sauce. Mix the pasta and sauce until every strand is fully coated. If too dry, add another ¼ cup reserved tomato juice and mix.
- Turn off heat and add the pecorino cheese, tossing well.
- Serve immediately with extra Pecorino cheese.