Bucatini all'amatriciana

By Andrew Cotto
Published November 10, 2010 10:01PM (UTC)
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Bucatini all'amatriciana

Serves 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a starter


  • 1 pound bucatini (a thick, dry spaghetti can be substituted)
  • ½ pound of guanciale sliced into long, thin strips (make matchsticks)
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1½ teaspoons of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatoes (crushed by hand)
  • ½ cup of torn basil leaves plus a handful julienned and reserved for garnish
  • ½ cup of grated Pecorino Romano plus ¼ cup for sprinkling
  • salt and sugar, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed


  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. In a large saucepan with a thin coat of olive oil, render the guanciale over low heat, turning the cheeks occasionally until the fat has nearly dissolved and the meat slightly crisps.
  3. Add the onions and red pepper flakes to the pan and soften over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  4. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes. Season them with salt and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer while the pasta cooks.
  5. Salt the boiling water aggressively and add the bucatini. Stir until the boil returns and stir occasionally until two minutes short of package-instructed cooking time.
  6. Transfer the noodles to the saucepan. Raise the heat and coat the noodles with sauce, simmer until al dente (two minutes more).
  7. Off the heat, add ½ cup of Pecorino and toss.
  8. Plate the pasta and give each a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of the remaining cheese, and top with the julienned basil. Enjoy with a simple red wine of central Italy, and say arrivederci to pancetta.

Andrew Cotto

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