Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta dish that has gained popularity all over the world. This dish hails from the town of Amatrice, Italy, located in the central region of Lazio. The recipe features bucatini pasta, pancetta or guanciale (Italian cured pork), onions, garlic, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. This flavorful dish is served hot and topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Why this recipe works
Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a flavorful and comforting dish that is easy to prepare and perfect for a weeknight meal. This recipe works because it is a simple yet flavorful combination of high-quality ingredients. The pancetta or guanciale provides a salty and savory flavor, while the onions and garlic add depth and complexity to the sauce. The red pepper flakes provide a subtle heat that balances the sweetness of the tomatoes. The bucatini pasta, a thick and hollow spaghetti-like pasta, is perfect for holding the sauce and delivering a satisfying bite.
What is Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta dish that originated from the town of Amatrice, Italy. The dish features bucatini pasta, a thick and hollow spaghetti-like pasta, topped with a flavorful tomato-based sauce made with guanciale, onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This dish is a perfect example of traditional Italian cuisine, showcasing the importance of high-quality ingredients and simple yet flavorful cooking techniques.
Best ingredients for Bucatini all’Amatriciana
- Bucatini pasta: Look for high-quality bucatini pasta that is made with durum wheat flour and water. The pasta should have a rough texture, which helps the sauce adhere to it.
- Guanciale or pancetta: Choose high-quality cured pork pancetta or guanciale, which are both traditional ingredients for this dish. Pancetta is made from the belly of the pig, while guanciale is made from the pig’s jowl or cheek. Both provide a rich, savory flavor to the sauce.
- Onion and garlic: Use fresh onions and garlic for the best flavor. The onions should be diced finely, while the garlic should be minced.
- Canned tomatoes: Choose high-quality canned tomatoes, such as San Marzano or Roma tomatoes, which have a sweeter and less acidic flavor. You can also use fresh tomatoes when they are in season.
- Red pepper flakes: Use good quality red pepper flakes for a subtle heat that complements the sweetness of the tomatoes.
- Pecorino Romano cheese: Use freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, which has a salty and nutty flavor that pairs well with the dish.
How to make Bucatini all’Amatriciana
Please note: This is just an overview – the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the bucatini pasta. Cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Step 2: Cook the guanciale or pancetta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced guanciale or pancetta and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Cook the onion.
Add the diced onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Add garlic and red pepper flakes.
Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Step 5: Add canned tomatoes.
Add the canned tomatoes to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Season the sauce with salt to taste.
Step 6: Combine the pasta and sauce.
Add the cooked bucatini to the skillet with the tomato sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen it up.
Step 7: Serve.
Serve the bucatini all’Amatriciana hot, topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Storing and freezing tips
If you have any leftover bucatini all’Amatriciana, let it cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat the pasta, transfer it to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a lid or microwave-safe wrap, and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a skillet over medium heat, adding a bit of water or tomato sauce to loosen it up if needed.
The sauce without pasta can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Let it cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. Label the container with the date and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight, reheat using the above methods, and then add freshly cooked pasta.
Top tips for the best Bucatini all’Amatriciana
- Use high-quality ingredients: Since this dish has only a few ingredients, it’s important to use the best-quality ones you can find. Look for imported Italian bucatini pasta, guanciale or pancetta from a reputable source, and canned San Marzano tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Cook the pasta al dente: To avoid overcooked or mushy pasta, make sure to cook the bucatini until it’s just al dente. Follow the package instructions for the best results.
- Reserve pasta cooking water: Save some of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. The starchy water is great for thinning out the sauce if it’s too thick or helping it cling to the pasta.
- Render the guanciale or pancetta: When cooking the guanciale or pancetta, make sure to render the fat until it’s crispy. This will add flavor and texture to the dish.
- Simmer the sauce: Let the tomato sauce simmer until it has thickened and the flavors have melded together. This will ensure a rich and delicious sauce.
- Use Pecorino Romano cheese: The salty and sharp flavor of Pecorino Romano cheese is the perfect complement to the spicy tomato sauce. Be generous when sprinkling it on top of the pasta.
- Adjust the heat: The amount of red pepper flakes can be adjusted to your taste. If you prefer a milder sauce, use less; if you like it spicy, use more.
- Serve immediately: Bucatini all’Amatriciana is best served immediately after cooking while the pasta is hot and the sauce is fresh. Don’t let it sit for too long, or the pasta will absorb too much of the sauce.
Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a satisfying and filling dish on its own, so there’s no need to add any additional sides or main courses, but here are some serving suggestions to inspire you:
- Serve with a side salad: A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette is a great way to balance out the richness of the pasta dish.
- Pair with a red wine: A full-bodied red wine such as Chianti or Sangiovese will complement the rich flavors of the pasta dish.
- Add a crusty bread: Serve the pasta with a crusty Italian bread to soak up all the delicious tomato sauce.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Add some chopped fresh basil or parsley on top of the pasta for a pop of color and flavor.
- Serve with roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers are a great way to add some extra nutrients and flavor to the meal.
You may also enjoy…
What is bucatini pasta?
Bucatini is a type of pasta that is similar to spaghetti, but with a hollow center. It is a long, thin, and cylindrical pasta that is often used in Italian dishes.
What is guanciale?
Guanciale is a type of cured pork that is similar to bacon or pancetta. It is made from the jowls or cheeks of the pig and has a rich, savory flavor.
Can I use pancetta instead of guanciale?
Yes, pancetta is a good substitute for guanciale in this recipe. It has a similar flavor and texture, but is made from the belly of the pig instead of the jowls.
Can I use crushed tomatoes instead of whole peeled tomatoes?
Yes, you can use crushed tomatoes instead of whole peeled tomatoes. However, the texture of the sauce might be slightly different.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat the sauce and cook the pasta.
Can I freeze the sauce?
Yes, you can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months. Let the sauce cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze. To reheat, let the sauce thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Yes, you can use a different type of pasta if you prefer. However, the traditional pasta for this dish is bucatini. Spaghetti or linguine can also be used as a substitute.
Can I omit the red pepper flakes?
Yes, you can omit the red pepper flakes if you don’t like spicy food. The dish will still be flavorful without the heat.
What is the origin of bucatini all’Amatriciana?
Bucatini all’Amatriciana originated in the town of Amatrice in the Lazio region of Italy. It is a classic dish of the region and is now popular throughout Italy and beyond.
Did you make it?
I would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!
Your feedback is valuable and helps me to continue creating delicious recipes that you will love.
So, don’t be shy, leave a comment and let me know how it turned out for you!
Don’t forget to mention @goodfooddiscoveries or tag #goodfooddiscoveries on social media.
I’d love to see your remakes!