Italian food generally is one of the finest cuisines in the world in my opinion. Bucatini all’Amatriciana is one of the best and most popular Italia dishes by no mistake. It is simply delicious and if you are a red sauce lover like me, you’ll take a liking to it.
When I visited Rome several years ago, I was so excited to be in one of the oldest cities in the world! I was walking on the streets of what was once a thriving civilization that was ahead of its time. To walk steps away from the great Coloseum where gladiators fought wild beasts for entertainment is really an incredible lifetime experience.
After seeing some of the beautiful sites, one does get a little hungry. We had a wonderful meal at a restaurant near the Coloseum that served us antipasto. It had fresh roasted peppers, prosciutto, sharp provolone cheese and green olives. It was followed by a simple pasta dish with tomato sauce that tasted delicious beyond words.
I thought to myself “How can this sauce be so tasty?” It was the kind of tasty that you can’t stop eating it. You don’t even want to talk to anyone until you finish every last forkful. Please don’t interrupt me while I devour this spaghetti with a hole it mixed with savory tomato sauce.
Yes, it was THAT good! Really!
I soon found out this simple dish is a popular classic Roman dish. Well, I can taste why! Bucatini all’Amatriciana is the name of this delicious dish. It is named after the town where it originated called Amatrice.
The meat used in the original Bucatini all’Amatriciana recipe is cured pork jowl which, I suspect may not be easy to find. A common and widely accepted substitute is good quality pancetta (similar to bacon.)
Pork gives tomato sauce an incredibly savory flavor and turns the color of the sauce a bit orange (pictured later in this post.) The pancetta package below is peppered. You may be able to buy it already diced.
If you’ve never heard of Bucatini, it is similar to spaghetti, except it is hollow. I’ve referred to it as spaghetti with a whole in it. “Bucco” in Italian means hole. I really like this type of pasta. If you can’t find Bucatini, use spaghetti. The originators of this recipe used spaghetti and over time Bucatini became the pasta to use, hence its name.
You can find this pasta online on Amazon or in Italian specialty stores. I bought the Bucatini pasta (pictured below), Pecorino Romano cheese and Pancetta (pictured above) from a great local Italian specialty eatery located 30 minutes northwest of Philadelphia in Collegeville, Pa called Collegeville Italian Bakery Pizzeria Napoletana.
How to Make Bucatini all’Amatriciana
First, make the sauce. Simmer minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil (the only kind of olive oil I use.)
Then add the pancetta and cooked for three minutes before I added the tomatoes with juice. You may use crushed tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes.
After adding the tomatoes, let it cook for one hour. It will take one hour for this sauce to achieve its perfected state of greatness. This sauce will not taste as good in 45 minutes. It needs the extra 15 minutes of cook time!
Then, add a little starchy pasta water to the sauce and mix with the pasta.
Last, top it with grated Pecorino Romano cheese and crushed pepper flakes. That’s it! Easy!
Do you see the orange color? I’ve adapted this authentic Bucatini All”Amatriciana recipe from La Cucina Italiana.it . It is written in Italian but, you can make out the ingredients if you don’t speak Italian. The recipe at this site uses the cured pork jowl.
This Bucatini al’Amatriciana recipe is favorably reviewed in this article by a fellow food blogger. He made it with fresh bucatini pasta and San Marzano tomatoes.
When you have some wild beasts (a.k.a. hangry husband and kids that haven’t eaten in an hour) to feed, this savory, yet simple pasta recipe comes together in one hour. It will leave their tummies full and a smile on their faces! It is the perfect Sunday dinner!
Bucatini all’Amatriciana- pasta in a savory tomato sauce made with pancetta (pork)
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- 500 gr or 1 lb of Bucatini pasta
- 5 oz of pancetta or bacon diced
- 2- 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes with basil garlic and oregano seasoning
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic minced
- Pecorino Romano grated cheese 3 tbs
- red pepper flakes optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbs of pasta water
In a large frying pan on medium heat, begin to heat olive oil. Add garlic and simmer for 30 seconds being careful not to brown the garlic. Then, add pancetta and black pepper and cook for two minutes. Add tomatoes with juice. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes and then turn to low heat and cook another 45 minutes, covered stirring every ten minutes. When sauce is finished cooking, stir in 3 tbs of pasta water.
In a large stock pot, boil 4 quarts of water and season with salt. Cook Bucatini pasta according to package directions. Do not over cook. Reserve 3 tbs of pasta water for sauce. Drain pasta and return back to stock pot.
Add tomato sauce to the drained pasta and stir together.
Add grated Pecorino Romano cheese and crushed red pepper flakes before serving.
Feel free to substitute grated Parmesan cheese for Pecorino Romano or omit it. Omit crushed red pepper flakes (which can be cooked into sauce) if you don't like it spicy.