Bucatini all'Amatriciana

By • January 19, 2010 • 23 Comments

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Author Notes: Given that we are talking about nose to tail, I'm offering you a piece of pig face that's fit for a pope. You really should seek out real guanciale for this authentically Roman recipe. This plate can be prepared in the time it takes for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. The key ingredient is “guanciale” which is an unsmoked bacon made from pork jowl. This recipe serves two but it can easily be doubled. Keep in mind that pasta is typically served as a first course ahead of the entrée.pierino

Food52 Review: WHO: pierino is a self-described "standup commis, fougassier and flaneur" and a trusted Food52 authority on Italian food.
WHAT: A pitch-perfect recipe for the Roman classic.
HOW: Saute the shallot and guanciale, add the tomatoes, then the pasta. Grate cheese. (That's it.)
WHY WE LOVE IT: This recipe is a perfect example of why we love Roman cooking: simple, good-quality ingredients, prepared in little to no time. You can find guanciale at your butcher, but, if needed, you can substitute pancetta or bacon.
The Editors

Serves 2-4

  • 1 handful bucatini pasta, or substitute perciatelli
  • Olive oil, about 2 tablespoons or enough to coat the bottom of your pan
  • 1 large shallot or the equivalent amount of chopped onion
  • 1 dried hot pepper, coarsely chopped and seeds separated. Alternatively, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (separate the seeds with the point of a knife).
  • 4 ounces guanciale, chopped (or substitute pancetta or bacon)
  • 14 ounces chopped, canned tomatoes (in summer by all means substitute fresh)
  • Freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • A chiffonade of two basil leaves or alternatively a small handful of finely chopped parsley for garnish; very optional
  1. Heat the olive oil until it’s shimmering but not smoking. Saute the the shallot, the guanciale and the pepper flakes until the onion is only lightly colored.
  2. Turn down the heat to low and add the tomatoes. Simmer this while the pasta is cooking. Add salt and pepper.
  3. When the pasta is cooked drain it saving a few tablespoons of pasta water (if needed). Add the drained pasta directly to the sauce and stir to combine. Make sure the sauce is “tight” but if it’s too tight flick in a little bit of the pasta water.
  4. To plate: using tongs portion out the pasta on warm plates. Grate the pecorino cheese over each. If using the garnish sprinkle it over the top.
  5. Notes to cook: it's worth your trouble to source real guanciale even if it is domestic. You can substitute pancetta but we are talking nose to tail here, so we want you using face parts. Bucatini is a long, relatively thick strand of round pasta with a pinhole running through it. Latini is a good brand as is Rustichella D’abbruzzo. But perciatelli works just fine. Focus on the guanciale.
  6. Find the guanciale. Make me proud. You can do it.
  7. Note to cook: You can up the amount of red pepper if you like but we're not going all' arrabbiata here.
Jump to Comments (23)

Tags: bacon, Italian, Italian, pasta, pork

Comments (23) Questions (0)

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9 months ago AlainaMK

I made this last night and it was delicious. I hunted down the guanciale per pierino's recommendation, and boy was it worth it. I'm sure bacon or pancetta would have been fine, but the flavor and texture of the guanciale is so unique (and soooo tasty) and brings this dish to another level. I followed cookinginvictoria's tip on sauteeing the guanciale first for a bit, then added the shallot to cook in the oil/fat mixture. Outstanding.

Sunvalleygroupshot

over 1 year ago Tad Friend

I increased the ingredients by 50 per cent and it fed a family of four as a main (and only) course. Substituted linguine and parmigiano and it worked beautifully. A tasty and very satisfying dish.

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almost 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

Congratulations pierino, on being in the winner's circle! You so deserve it. This recipe rocks. I have made it a number of times (most recently just last night!), and I love the gusty simple flavors in this dish. It can be put together quickly for a weeknight dinner but I have served it to company as well. I usually use onion, rather than a shallot. I often saute the guanciale first (always guanciale, not bacon!) and then let the onion cook in a mixture of olive oil and guanciale fat. Italian comfort food at its very best!

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about 2 years ago gustus

Bravo, Bill!

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about 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Warmest congratulations, very well deserved!

Zester_003

about 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Thanks so much.

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Bravissimo! Ever so well deserved!

Zester_003

about 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

And thank you too!

Zester_003

about 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Thanks very much. This has been fun.

Cakes

about 2 years ago Bevi

Congratulations! This is well deserved!

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about 2 years ago dymnyno

Congratulations on a well deserved Wild Card Win!!!!!

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about 2 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Bravo, my friend.

Zester_003

about 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Thanks very much. I've been waiting three years to finally lift the cup and the competition just keeps getting deeper and deeper as the site grows.

Dscn3274

about 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Bravo pierino! Certainly a well deserved win!!!

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about 2 years ago Midge

Congrats pierino!! Well-deserved!

Zester_003

about 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Thanks Midge, I wasn't aware I actually had a winner until I saw your message come through. I'd skate around the ice holding up the cup but the NHL players are locked out right now.

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almost 5 years ago Maria Teresa Jorge

Guanciale, guanciale, have you tried it processed in a blender with rosemary and spread on toast?! Man, it's to dye for and come back for more!

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almost 5 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

Excellent.

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almost 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Good man. :)

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Is the guanciale flavor similar to prosciutto? I will look for it. I'm Italian, but this is something I've never had growing up, and I've tried a lot.

Zester_003

almost 5 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

No, just about the only seasoning prosciutto receives is salt. Whereas guanciale picks up some additional flavors depending on who is making it. Odds are (depending on where you live) that you will have to order it on line, Zingerman's, Corti Bros, Salumi et al. I'm sorry but you have to work for this one if you want it to be true to the Roma prototype. Pancetta works as a substitute but I'm staying true to the theme of the contest.

Kay_at_lake

almost 5 years ago Kayb

All those years, when I was eating hogsjaw, it was really guanciale. Who'd'a thunk it. (If you're in the rural South, you can source it quite easily.)

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almost 5 years ago dominicc

if you can get a hold of some pork jowls, guanciale is really easy to make. i made some awhile back.

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