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Bucatini all'Amatriciana

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A classic pasta recipe for good reason
Bucatini all'Amatriciana - The Daily Meal
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This is the bucatini recipe to end all bucatini recipes. Truly, it doesn't get much more classic than bucatini all'Amatriciana. With guanciale (pork jowl), pecorino and tomato, the dish has just the right balance of salty, savory, acidic and umami. If you can't find guanciale (aka cured pork jowl), feel free to substitute pancetta, bacon, or even prosciutto. A good vegetarian Amatriciana recipe can even be made with plant-based bacon.

Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian sheep's milk cheese that is excellent for grating. Although many Americans use Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano interchangeably, the are actually quite different. Parm is made with cow's milk and is aged longer, giving it a more crystalized texture and nutty taste; Pecorino Romano has a tangier flavor. That being said, if you can't find or don't have Pecorino Romano, Parmesan would make a decent substitute.

This is one of those dishes that is quick enough for a weeknight but good enough for company, and is a must to have in your culinary arsenal.

Notes

The guanciale can be substituted with pancetta, bacon, prosciutto, or even plant-based bacon. Pecorino Romano can be replaced with Parmigiano Reggiano if necessary. Spaghetti can be used in place of bucatini.

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound bucatini
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 8 Ounces guanciale, diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 peeled whole plum tomatoes (fresh or canned), diced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Cup dry white wine
  • 1 Cup grated pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish
  • 4 Teaspoons finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the bucatini and cook al dente according to package directions. Reserve the pasta water then drain the pasta. 

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a large pan and heat on medium-high. Add the guanciale and cook until crispy and browned, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and break up with tongs. Add the wine and 1 cup pasta water and boil until the sauce reduces and thickens, 10 minutes.

Add the bucatini to the pan along with the Pecorino Romano, parsley and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, tossing until the sauce is silky and the bucatini is fullly coated. If the sauce gets too thick, add more pasta water. Serve and generously top with additional grated Pecorino Romano.