Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It’s loaded with layers of flavor, and it’ll become a family favorite for sure!

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!

Ah, pasta.  There are few things more comforting than sitting down to a bowl of pasta.  Can I get an amen!?  (Ok, a big slice of chocolate cake is just as comforting.  But who says you can’t have that bowl of pasta followed by a slice of chocolate cake?  That’s how I roll!)  As much as I love classic Spaghetti and Meatballs, sometimes you just need to mix it up.  Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is a great way to do just that!

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!

I wasn’t familiar with Spaghetti all’Amatriciana until I had the chance to study in Italy after my junior year in college.  My Italian was minimal at best, so going out for dinner was a bit of an adventure.  Sure, there are those restaurants (mostly in the tourist areas) with photos of each of their meals.  That makes it easy to understand, but my experience is to avoid those places.  The quality of the food tends to be, uh, average.

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

However, one of my friends who spoke far better Italian than me helped me decipher the menu that first night, and I landed on Spaghetti all’Amatriciana.  This classic Italian pasta dish is simple, rustic and delicious.  The flavors come from guanciale, pecorino cheese, tomatoes, and sometimes onions.  (I chose to include the onions in this recipe.)

Guanciale.  Say what?  Cured pork cheek, aka delicious.  Guanciale is traditionally used in Spaghetti all’Amatriciana and Spaghetti Carbonara.  Every time I go to Italy, I’m pretty sure I eat my weight in both all’Amatriciana and Carbonara.  However, a problem arises when I come back home.  Guanciale isn’t easy to find in the States.  To be fair, it’s becoming a bit easier to find in high-end markets and delis, but it’s still not easy.  And if you do find it, it’s likely very expensive.  Sometimes it’s fun to splurge, so I recommend trying guanciale in this recipe if you ever stumble across it!

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!

So how do we make Spaghetti all’Amatriciana without guanciale?  Luckily, pancetta is a close enough substitute.  Guanciale is a bit more tender, and the flavor is a bit stronger…but pancetta is totally acceptable.  I’ve seen some recipes and restaurants call for bacon.  I guess that could work, but I highly recommend the pancetta route here.  And use a good quality Pecorino cheese.  That makes a huge difference, too!

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!

Once you’ve got the ingredients in hand, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is a very easy recipe to make.  In fact, you can have this one ready for weeknight dinner without any trouble at all.  The sauce doesn’t come from a jar.  It comes from a can of peeled tomatoes.  (As I noted in this previous post, try to find canned San Marzano tomatoes.  The difference is noticeable!)  I recommend just pouring that can of peeled tomatoes into a large ziptop bag.  Then you can crush the tomatoes without ruining your favorite shirt.  Not like that’s ever happened to me or anything…

So if you’re looking for a delicious (and easy!) comfort food meal, then put Spaghetti all’Amatriciana on the menu.  This classic Italian dish is loaded with layers of flavor, and it’ll become a family favorite for sure!

Did you make this recipe at home?  Leave a comment.  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  Cheers!

Looking for more delicious pasta recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Pasta
Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs
Garlic Parmesan Sauce
Italian Lasagna Bread (half bread, half pasta…and really cool!)
Spaghetti with White Wine Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic and delicious Italian pasta dish.  It's loaded with layers of flavor, and it'll become a family favorite for sure!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 620kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz. guanciale or pancetta thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes preferably San Marzano tomatoes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 16 oz. spaghetti
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese plus more for garnishing
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

  • Using a large, deep skillet, add olive oil and place over medium-low heat. Once hot, add guanciale, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 12-13 minutes, or until onions have softened.
  • Pour tomatoes (with juiceinto a large ziptop plastic bag. Seal bag and crush tomatoes with hand. (Note: the ziptop bag is not required, but it keeps tomato juice from going everywhere!)
  • Transfer tomatoes into skillet and add sugar; stir until well combined. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water for 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain pasta, but reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Transfer pasta into skillet and stir until well combined. Add ½ cup of reserved pasta water; cook for 2-3 minutes, or until pasta is fully cooked. (Note: If necessary, add more pasta water.)
  • Add Parmesan cheese and stir until well combined.
  • Divide pasta into bowls. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley.
Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Spiced® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that spicedblog.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

23 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I am very intrigued and must try! I’ll probably need to make with pancetta unless I can find guanciale. I think it might be a bit difficult to find here. I agree that a bowl full of pasta is perfect comfort food. This looks amazingly delicious.

    1. Yup, I’d recommend going with the pancetta here, Kathy. If you happen to have an amazing butcher store in town, then maybe…maybe…they can get guanciale for you. But pancetta is close enough for all practical purposes! Thanks so much, my friend!

  2. 5 stars
    AMEN! It’s hard to beat a big bowl of pasta. . .or chocolate cake for that matter. This sounds really, really good and much better than the big bowl of oatmeal I’m eating right now. Pasta is definitely happening for dinner! Have a great week, David!

    1. So that big bowl of pasta followed by chocolate cake…now that is the winner! 🙂 Hey now, I love oatmeal, so I can’t be hatin’ on that. But I do love pasta as well! Hope your week is off to a great (and maybe cooler) start, Kelsie!

    1. No way! You’re in Italy now?? I am so jealous, Alex. Please make me a promise and go find some really good Spaghetti all’Amatriciana somewhere! And then when you get home, make this recipe and reminisce about the vacation. Sounds like a good idea, right? 🙂

    1. I sincerely hope your butcher can get you some guanciale, Matt! If not, pancetta is a decent substitute. Either way, this pasta dish is one of my favorites. Give it a shot sometime!

  3. 5 stars
    One of my all time favorite classic Italian pastas. Guanciale is so fabulously porky, but I can rarely find it so love having the pancetta option too.

    1. Yeah, I hear ya on the guanciale. It’s darn near impossible to find around here, but pancetta is a decent stand-in. Gotta love a good pasta recipe! Thanks, Marissa!

  4. 5 stars
    David, I confirm that there’s nothing wrong in a bowl of pasta followed by a slice of chocolate cake (or any other cake). That’s all carbs, after all (Does it make sense?) 🙂 I’m not a huge fan of spicy food (including pasta), but Amatriciana pasta is a good exception. Indeed, I’ve never tried a version with protein, so the addition of pancetta sounds good to me. I’ve got to try it when it’s super cold.

    1. Yup, I don’t mind all the carbs when they come in the form of pasta and chocolate cake. 🙂 So if you’re not a fan of spicy food, then I’d recommend leaving the red pepper flakes out of this recipe. Other than that, this recipe should be a hit! Plus, pancetta is so tasty!

  5. Fabulous stuff. I just used Guanciale ina soup. It’s magnificent. Love this recipe. Pasta is indeed comforting. Unfortunately I gain weight just looking at it, but then when I do make a pasta dish, it’s really really special to me! And I don’t make just make any flippin’ pasta. It would be like this one.

    1. Ah, you can find guanciale! I’m so jealous, Mimi! Also, I’m cracking up at your comment about not making any flippin’ pasta. This really is one of my favorite pasta recipes…and it’s super easy to make, too! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    So awesome you studied in Italy. I did the same in Spain. What a delicious recipe this is! This past summer when we were in Spain visiting friends, we had beef cheek. Wondering how similar it is to Guanciale. Well, it wasn’t cured for one thing. I love learning about unfamiliar (to me) ingredients. Very cool. 🙂 ~Valentina

    1. I remember you talking about studying in Spain, Valentina! It shows up in your awesome Spanish-inspired recipes, too. 🙂 Beef cheek, eh? I love beef, but I’m drawing a blank on whether I’ve tried that one before. Somewhere in the cobwebs of my brain, I feel like I have. Either way, I’m not sure how that work in this recipe mainly since it isn’t cured. However, in the same breath, I say we give it a shot and find out!

  7. At first I thought you were using shaved salami in this recipe, David, which would honestly make my kids very happy. I am sure it will be super delicious with pancetta too! Can’t wait to make it – thanks for sharing.

    1. You know, I bet you could use shaved salami here, Katerina! I would just cook it in a dry skillet until it’s crispy and then mix it into the recipe. Yum! Or you could go all in and use shaved salami and pancetta…talk about a fun recipe right there! Thanks so much, my friend!

  8. 5 stars
    Loving your Spaghetti all’Amatriciana David, and I couldn’t agree more that sitting down to a big bowl of this would be so comforting. Especially with it pouring down with rain here and the grey skies. I’m longing for it!

    1. It really is hard to beat a good pasta night! This Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is an absolute favorite, and I love that it’s still quite simple to make. Yum!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating