Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a delicious pasta dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make. My version for two has pancetta, tomato sauce, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper. Serve the sauce with bucatini for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Post, photos, and recipe updated from the archives. First published in October 2014
Do you ever fall into a dinner rut? You know, when you realize you’ve been rotating the same few dinners night after night? A dinner rut at my house looks a lot like a school lunch program – tacos, spaghetti & meatballs and pizza get a lot of action when life gets busy and the creative juices are running low. What can I say? It happens to the best of us.
I find the first step to recovery is to admit there’s a problem and then put a plan in place. For me, the easiest way out of a rut is to just switch up a couple components of an overly-rotated dish like spaghetti & meatballs, for example. Keep the tomato sauce and swap spaghetti for bucatini, switch out the meatballs for pancetta, add a few pinches of heat and suddenly you have Bucatini all’Amatriciana. Now, doesn’t that sound fancy and delicious? It’s a whole new dinner without a lot of added effort.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- My Bucatini all’Amatriciana strays from other more classic versions which call for whole plum tomatoes, guanciale and pecorino cheese. I swap out some of these and add a couple other ingredients, but the result is the same: a spicy tomato sauce tossed with tender pasta.
- Bucatini is a long pasta that’s thicker than spaghetti. Most mainstream grocery stores sell it these days, but you can substitute any long pasta (like spaghetti or linguini) if you can’t find it. I like to get the water boiling first and while the pasta cooks I make the sauce.
- I can always find diced pancetta at the store which is similar to guanciale. They’re both uncured pork but are from different parts of the pig (guanciale is from the cheeks and pancetta is from the belly). I cook the pancetta in a hot pan until it releases it’s fat and starts to turn crispy.
- I add a generous amount of chopped garlic and some chopped onion and sautee them with the pancetta until they’ve softened. I also like to add the crushed red pepper at this point so it infuses the veggies and pork with its flavor and spice.
- Instead of whole plum tomatoes, I like to use tomato puree mostly because it’s a lot easier just to open the can and pour it in. No need to break up the tomatoes and cook them down into a sauce. These days I buy tomato puree, but I used to make it from scratch so check out my homemade tomato puree recipe if you’re feeling adventurous.
- At this point, you can simmer the sauce until the pasta is ready to go. I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the sauce right at the end before serving it. It adds a bit of bright acidity.
- Since I always have Parmesan cheese on hand I use that in place of pecorino cheese, which is what other versions of this recipe calls for. You can stir it directly into the sauce or sprinkle it over the top of each serving.
- Some chopped fresh parsley is all you need for garnish.
More Pasta RecipesPrint
This is a quick and easy pasta dish for with simple ingredients and a little kick of heat from some crushed red pepper flakes. Bring the pasta water to a boil while you prep the ingredients for the sauce and, once you add the pasta to cook, the sauce comes together by the time the pasta is tender.
- 5 ounces bucatini
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 8 ounces diced pancetta
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (see note)
- 3/4 cup tomato puree
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the bucatini and cook according to package directions.
- In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it renders it’s fat and starts to turn crispy. Add the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook them for a minute or so, just until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the tomato puree and water and stir to combine. Increase the heat to bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce while you wait for the pasta to finish cooking.
- Add the balsamic vinegar to the sauce and stir to combine. Add the cooked pasta and toss it in the sauce until the pasta is evenly coated. To serve, top each serving with the grated cheese and chopped parsley.
- A 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes adds a nice kick of heat. Start with less if you’re worried about the amount of heat – you can always add more after you give the sauce a taste before serving.
- Recipe adapted from Food Network
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Sautee
- Cuisine: Italian
- Calories: 409
- Sugar: 7.8g
- Fat: 25.6g
- Carbohydrates: 67.9g
- Fiber: 4.5g
- Protein: 23.1g
Keywords: bucatini all'amatriciana, spicy tomato sauce, pancetta recipe