Dinner Tonight: Bucatini all'Amatriciana

October 18, 2016

Say "Bucatini all'Amatriciana" five times fast. Okay, you don't really have to do that, however you should really make it for dinner tonight.

This five-ingredient pasta may not taste like it, but it's deceptively simple to make. Guanciale is fried until golden brown, tomato passata (purée) and finely sliced chile are added, and, after it's allowed to simmer for a little, a healthy amount of grated Pecorino or Parmesan is stirred in to make the whole thing creamy. Simple? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely. (And, hey, if you want to say Bucatini all'Amatriciana five times fast, we're not going to stop you!)

Grocery List

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  • 1 dried or fresh red hot chile, finely sliced
  • 14 ounces bucatini, spaghetti, or rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese (or Parmesan), plus more for garnish
  • 14 ounces tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
  • 7 ounces guanciale (cured pork jowl)

We're assuming you already have salt and freshly cracked black pepper, but if not, add them to your list, too!

The Game Plan

Thirty minutes before dinner, bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta al dente. Cut the guanciale into 1/4 inch strips, removing the tough outer rind (if present) first. Heat a large skillet to medium heat and fry the guanciale until the fat melts and the it turns golden brown. Mix in the tomato passata and chile. Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes and add the pecorino cheese at the last minute before turning off the heat. Stir the sauce well as the cheese melts.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta and a splash of pasta water to the sauce, making sure each noodle is coated nicely. If the sauce has cooled, warm on the stove for a few minutes before adding the pasta. Eat right away—with more cheese on top, of course!

See the full recipe here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • SallyM
  • Mr Bruce
    Mr Bruce
Freelance Food Writer


SallyM October 18, 2016
What could I use if my market doesn't carry pork jowl?
Mr B. October 18, 2016
You can get guanciale from Amazon.com, or you could use pancetta.