Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Bucatini all’Amatriciana – The Original Recipe

Sara Provenzano

Sara Provenzano is the Contributing Editor at Global Storybook (Italy).
You can read more about Sara here.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana is another traditional Italian dish from Amatrice.  Amatrice is a small village close to the city of Rieti, in Lazio Region.

Everybody has probably heard about the terrible Earthquake and the enormous tragedy that hit this small village and the surrounding area, last August.  Hundreds of people lost their life and those who were lucky enough to survive lost their home.  The village has been almost entirely destroyed.

Italy and the entire world has mobilized to raise funds necessary to survive and in order to rebuilt the village.  People from all over the world came to this area in order to help in any way.  Chefs from around the world have organized Charity Dinners where Amatriciana, was the “Star” of the eveninig.

The World knows Amatrice for its delicious pasta, called Amatriciana.  The origin of this dish itself is quite popular.  The shepherds, who lived by transhumance, used to carry in their backpacks pepper, Pecorino cheese, guanciale, lard and pasta and baked them together to prepare a substantial and satisfying main course.

The version with tomato dates back to 1700s.  Since then, pasta with Pecorino cheese, bacon and lard is called Gricia, while the one with the same ingredients and the tomato acquired the title of Amatriciana.

In the years since, the recipe changed with the addition of some ingredients that should not be used, like: onion, garlic and bacon.  Bacon, for example, is too salty and flavorful and alters the traditional taste of the dish.  The true Amatriciana from Amatrice is in fact prepared with Guanciale, made from the pig’s cheek and characterized by a more delicate flavor.

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To really enjoy this dish, prepare the sauce with Casalini tomatoes, typical of the Castelli Romani varieties.  Casalini  tomatoes have an intense and pleasant flavor with a slightly sour note.  A valid alternative to Casalini are the San Marzano tomatoes.


  • Bucatini Pasta 400 gr
  • Totamotes 500 gr
  • Guanciale 250 gr
  • Chili n. 1
  • Pepper as you like
  • Extra Vergin Olive Oil as you like
  • Pecorino Cheese as you like


  • Cut into uniform strips the Guanciale.  You have to avoid cutting it into cubes because, while cooking in the pan, it tends to become too dry.
  • Blanch the tomatoes, without skin and seeds and cut them into fairly large pieces.
  • Cut in pieces also the chili.
  • Put a little oil in a pan, preferably made of iron and pour the red pepper and the Guanciale, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Use the iron pan in order to not alter the flavor of the sauce.  Lower the heat and let cook the Guanciale for few minutes until it becomes golden.  To preserve the softness of strips of Guanciale, remove them from the oil and keep them warm in a saucepan with lid.
  • Add the tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a spoon.  After cooking, remove the chilli and add the Guanciale again.
  • Boil water and cook the pasta al dente.  Drain the pasta and put it into the pan with the sauce, mixing with a spoon.
  • Add a generous sprinkling of Pecorino cheese and a pinch of pepper, and serve.

I hope you will enjoy it!

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