Bucatini all’ amatriciana recipe

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It’s all about onions, spicy tomatoes, and pork products. Guanciale cured pork jowl is the key here. It has a sweeter, more interesting flavor than bacon. In a pinch, pancetta can be substituted, and in a double pinch bacon will suffice (though it does add a smokier flavor, so be warned).

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces guanciale, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 4 onions, cut into ½-inch dice
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes, passed through a food mill
  • 1 pound bucatini or perciatelli
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano
For garnish
  • Big fat finishing oil
How to Make It
  1. Coat a large saucepan with olive oil; add the guanciale and cook over low heat until it’s brown and crispy and has rendered a lot of fat, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the guanciale and set a third of it aside for garnish—I like to call these bits “the crispy critters.”
  2. Bring the pan and the remaining fat to medium heat, add the onions and red pepper, and season generously with salt. Cook until the onions are soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and two-thirds of the guanciale, and bring to a boil (BTB), then reduce to a simmer (RTS) and cook the sauce for about 1 hour, tasting periodically and adding salt as needed (trust me, you will need to reseason).
  4. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the instructions on the package suggest. Taste it: It should be toothsome with just a little nugget of hard pasta still in the center—this is al dente.
  5. Ladle about 2 cups of the sauce into a bowl and set it aside as an insurance policy; you want the perfect ratio of pasta to sauce and while you can always add it back, you can’t take it out once the pasta is in the pan.
  6. Drain the pasta, add it to the pan of sauce, and stir well. Cook the pasta in the sauce, adding more sauce if needed, for another 1 to 2 minutes; the pasta will begin to absorb the sauce and it will cling to the pasta in a lovely little hug. Add the cheese and a drizzle of big fat finishing oil and toss until it’s a homogeneous mixture. Divide among serving bowls, top with more Parm, and give each a sprinkle of the crispy critters.

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