Classic Pasta Amatriciana is a quick and easy Italian pasta recipe that is the perfect dinner idea. Sautéed pancetta in a perfectly spiced Tomato Sauce. Delicious.
Classic Pasta Amatriciana
This was probably one of the first pasta sauces that I tasted when I first came to Italy. It was naturally made by my mother-in-law. I know a lot of people will fight me on this but yes she made it with pancetta. Probably because my brother-in-law couldn’t stand the idea of guanciale.
What is the difference between pancetta and guanciale?
Pancetta is salt-cured seasoned pork belly, while guanciale is made from seasoned pork cheeks that is cured for at least three months, which as a result has a more intense flavour.
I have used both, I personally I prefer pancetta, although my daughter swears you can’t make this recipe or Classic Carbonara without guanciale. So you decide.
What does Amatriciana mean?
It is a tomato based sauce, made with guanciale or pancetta and it is usually a little hot and spicy. It originates from the town of Amatrice in the province of Rieti, in the region of northern Lazio which is located in central Italy.
How to make Amatriciana Sauce
In a medium pan add the olive oil, pancetta and water, cook over medium heat until the pancetta is cooked (not over cooked or crisp) and water has evaporated.
Then add the garlic, tomatoes, spices and water. Stir to combine, place lid on pan but leave a small space uncovered, continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove the cover and continue cooking until thickened. Add the al dente pasta, a little pasta water and toss together over medium high heat for about 30 seconds.
Serve immediately, top with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese if desired.
What is the best pasta to use?
The classic pasta used in this recipe is bucatini, it is a thick long pasta with a hole in the middle. Although I have to say the Italian prefers “mezze penne rigate, which is a short rigate pasta with ridges. The ridges are known to hold the sauce better.
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How to store the sauce
The sauce can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for two days. It can also be frozen in a freezer safe bag or container. It will last up to three to four months.
So if you are looking for an easy Italian Sauce recipe then I hope you give this Classic Pasta Amatriciana a try and let me know how it goes. Take care and Buon Appetito!
Classic Pasta Amatriciana
- 3/4 cup pancetta or guanciale (chopped) (170 grams)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup water (divided) (176 grams divided)
- 1-2 cloves garlic chopped (minced)
- 1 can peeled Roma or Marzano (tomatoes with juice no additives) 1 1/2 - 2 cups (400 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil (or fresh basil leaves 5-6 chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 pinches hot pepper flakes (if desired)
- 3- 3 1/2 cups pasta al dente* (600-700 grams)
*Depending on the pasta but usually double the amount of dry to get cooked.
- In a medium pan over medium heat add the olive oil, pancetta and 1/4 cup (58 grams) water, cook until the pancetta is cooked (not over cooked or crisp) and water has evaporated (approximately 10 minutes). Stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic, can of tomatoes (cut up the tomatoes and mash gently with a fork), then add the oregano, basil, salt, hot pepper flakes and 1/2 cup (118 grams) water. Stir to combine, place the lid on the pan, but leave a small space uncovered, continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally for approximately 10 minutes, remove cover and continue cooking until thickened but not overly.
- Add 3 - 3 1/2 cups cooked al dente pasta (my husband prefers short pasta, he says it holds the sauce better, I prefer Bucatini, you decide, add 1/2 ladle of pasta water and toss together gently over medium high heat for about 30 seconds or until thickened and almost a creamy texture. Serve immediately, top with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese if desired. Enjoy!
Updated from June 16, 2014.