Make classic Bucatini all’Amatriciana with this simple recipe and you’ll have dinner on the table in less than half an hour! A simple combination of tender bucatini noodles, spicy tomato sauce, pancetta (or homemade mock pancetta) and cheese, it’s likely to become one of your favorite busy day meals!
I first tried Bucatini all’Amatriciana (my first Pasta Aglio e Olio too) at Trinacria , a tiny Italian restaurant in Olympia, Washington. It’s the kind of place that you could mistake for a dive: lettuce green walls and neon lights, rickety chairs and inexpensive wine. But it’s iconic in Olympia, well known for fantastic food, curt service (Enjoying the music one evening, Keith and I asked our server what it was. Her quick reply, “Annoying.” We liked her immediately.) and the friendly but quirky first generation Italian owner, Eugenio.
Despite living in the United States for decades, Eugenio spoke with a strong accent. I once asked him about the ingredients in his Amatriciana, his reply, “Oh yes, yes…I start with…and then…” As he rattled off the ingredients and preparation, his accent became mysteriously stronger, as though he didn’t really want to share his secrets.
So I decided to figure it out on my own and after a few tries, I had it.
Do not be alarmed when you see the short ingredient list and simple instructions, thinking that something so easy can’t be spectacularly good. I promise it is. In fact, I predict it will become one of your go-to pasta recipes.
Easy Bucatini all'Amatriciana
- 1/4 pound pancetta or mock pancetta diced small (see recipe notes for mock pancetta recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion sliced into thin slivers
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or more
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound dry bucatini pasta
- 2 ounces aged pecorino cheese grated
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley finely chopped
Cook and stir pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until brown. Remove from heat and transfer pancetta to a paper towel. Pour off most or all of the fat from the skillet, but no need to wash it.
Return skillet to stove over medium heat; add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, red chili flakes and pancetta; cook and stir, crushing tomatoes with the spoon. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened considerably. (That sounds vague, but I bet you'll know it when you see it. 🙂 )
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook bucatini according to package directions and drain.
Once sauce is done, add cooked pasta; cook and stir until combined and heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle grated pecorino and parsley over the top. Serve.
Want to make your own mock pancetta? Try this pancetta recipe.