Authentic spaghetti all'amatriciana

Authentic spaghetti all'amatriciana


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About this recipe: Spaghetti or bucatini all'amatriciana is one of the most iconic Italian pasta dishes. In Italy, we use cured pig cheek, known as 'guanciale' which is worth trying to track down with a good butcher. If you can't find it, you can use cubes of pancetta or bacon. The pasta is cooked and tossed in a slightly spicy tomato sauce and served with plenty of freshly grated Pecorino cheese.


Serves: 4 

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 125g guanciale, pancetta or bacon, cubed
  • 120ml white wine
  • 1 (400g) San Marzano® plum tomatoes, crushed or passata
  • 1 pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 100g freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • salt, to taste

Prep:5min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:25min 

  1. Cook spaghetti according to packet directions until "al dente". Drain, reserving about 1 ladle of cooking liquid.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat; add guanciale (or pancetta). Cook until nearly crisp, then pour in wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Use a slotted spoon to remove the guanciale; set aside.
  3. In the same pan; add crushed tomatoes, salt and chilli flakes. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over low heat, checking often. Stir in the cooked guanciale and remove pan from heat. Stir in cooked pasta, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if needed.
  4. Sprinkle with pecorino romano cheese, add more chili peppers if like, and serve immediately.
  5. Portion into 4 warm bowls or one large dish, with freshly grated Pecorino and additional chilli flakes on top.

Pasta tips

A few tips to perfectly cook pasta, as Italians would do: use a large amount of water, around 1L per 100g of pasta; add the pasta only when the water is boiling, stir, then bring back to the boil, stirring from time to time. Cook 1 minute less than the time suggested on the packet; drain and reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and finish cooking, adding some of the reserved water as needed. Serve straightaway! Also, never rinse pasta, you'll lose the starch needed to keep it moist.

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