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5 from 35 votes
Bucatini or Spaghetti Amatriciana
Bucatini (or spaghetti) Amatriciana
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

This classic Italian pasta recipe from Lazio is loved by both kids and adults all over Italy and abroad. The Amatriciana sauce is very simple and easy to make yet absolutely delicious

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Rome & Lazio
Keyword: amatriciana, bucatini, guanciale, spaghetti
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline Debono
  • 400 g spaghetti or bucatini (14oz)
  • 150 g cured pork cheek (5oz) Guanciale di Amatrice is the traditional type but you can also use thick slices of pancetta but preferably not the ready cubed one .
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Some cooks believe it’s not necessary to add oil as the pork is already quite fatty
  • 1/2 glass dry white wine
  • 400 g San Marzano tomatoes peeled
  • 1 fresh peperoncino or teaspoon of dried peperoncino flakes
  • 100 g grated pecorino cheese (3.5oz) Traditionally pecorino from Amatrice which is less salty than other types
  • black pepper
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  1. Thoroughly clean the pork cheek and cut it into small strips. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water and peel them. Cut them in halves or quarters and remove most of the seeds.

  2. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt when it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.

  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan (traditionally a cast iron pan) and add the pork cheek and let it brown.

  4. Sprinkle with the white wine. Allow the wine to evaporate and add the peperoncino (if using a whole fresh one, remove before serving)

  5. When the pork cheek is browned nicely, remove it from the pan and remove some of the rendered fat too. Add the peeled and cut tomatoes to the pan and cook on a medium heat until they start to soften. If you think you need more sauce you can add a little tomato passata too.

  6. Put the pork cheek into the sauce with some salt and pepper (taking into account that the pork is quite salty already). Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in the boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet

  8. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce with some of the pecorino, keeping the heat very low while you mix everything well together.

  9. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of more pecorino.

Recipe Notes

There are no other ingredients in the original recipe. Some people add onions, garlic, celery or carrot, but the taste of the sauce will change slightly with different ingredients. In Rome, onion is often added.

If you can't find or don't like pork cheek (guanciale) you can also use pancetta.