Pasta all’Amatriciana is the perfect meal for those hectic weeknights. This dish can be on your table in less than 30 minutes and consists of thick pasta, bacon, canned tomatoes, and onion, resulting in a delectable explosion of flavors that will surely please the whole family.
I don’t know where I would be without quick pasta meals in my back pocket for those crazy nights. Ones like Spaghetti Carbonara, American Goulash, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, and this family and reader’s favorite Homemade Hamburger Helper.
I’m not claiming this to be authentic pasta all’amatriciana as I don’t live in Italy and some of the things they use are harder to find or taste different here in America, so this is my simple version.
Tell Me More About Pasta all’Amatriciana:
- Uses pantry staples to make a restaurant quality dish.
- Can be on your table in less than 30 minutes.
- Smokey flavor with a hint of heat.
- Uses a “secret” ingredient that will make all the difference in the sauce. Pasta water! Yes, just a splash of salty pasta water can do wonders for a sauce.
BACON: I chose to use bacon instead of pancetta because it is easier to find. Feel free to use pancetta if you so desire.
PASTA: This dish needs thick pasta to hold up to the sauce. Use bucatini to stay more traditional.
ONION and GARLIC: Both add a nice flavor to the sauce.
DICED TOMATOES: Regular canned tomatoes work great in this sauce. Use petite diced if you don’t like larger chunks of tomato.
RED PEPPER FLAKES: Add some heat to the sauce. Feel free to add more or reduce the amount to your taste.
PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE: Add a healthy grating to your plate when serving.
How To Make Pasta all’Amatriciana:
STEP 1: Fry the bacon. Remove from pan and leave around 2 tablespoons of grease.
STEP 2: Cook onion until soft. Stir in red pepper and garlic until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
STEP 3: Stir in bacon, cooked pasta, and a splash of pasta water. Serve garnished with a hefty dose of grated pecorino romano cheese.
Be sure to salt the water so it tastes like the sea. Don’t overcook the pasta. Never rinse your pasta. Use a splash of pasta water in your dish.
Bucatini is traditionally used, but you could also use spaghetti, linguine, or rigatoni.
Tips and Suggestions:
- Finely grate your cheese by hand. It melts so much better, and I think a nice quality block of cheese also tastes better.
- Make sure you use a large enough saucepan to toss the pasta with the sauce, or it will be everywhere but in the pan, lol.
- Don’t skip salting the pasta water! It adds so much flavor to the pasta and will make the dish stand out.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. Boil just shy of al dente or right at al dente and NO LONGER. Mushy pasta does not go well with this recipe.
Keep it simple and serve with this Easy Caesar Salad (uses no anchovy) or this Tomato Cucumber and Avocado Salad. Sometimes, I like to make my own salad dressing, and my kid’s favorite is this Homemade Ranch Dressing.
- 1 pound (454g) bucatini
- 8 ounces (225g) bacon, cut into ¼" strips
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 (28 ounce) (793g) can diced tomatoes
- Pecorino Romano cheese for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp (about 3-5 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of grease.
- Add onion and cook over medium heat until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 3o seconds. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Boil pasta just before al dente or al dente in salted water while sauce simmers. Reserve a little pasta water.
- When sauce has thickened, stir in the bacon, drained pasta, and a splash of pasta water. Serve with freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Bucatini is traditionally used, but you could also use spaghetti, linguine, or rigatoni.