This classic Pasta all’Amatriciana recipe is easy to make with 6 traditional ingredients and full of the best rich and savory flavors.
- 1 pound (~500 grams) pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni)
- 4 1/2 ounces (125 grams) guanciale
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce or 794 grams) can San Marzano whole tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) Pecorino Romano
- fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Prepare the pasta water. Fill a large stockpot about half full of water (roughly 3 quarts), add 2 tablespoons fine sea salt, and bring the water to a boil.
- Cut the guanciale. Slice the guanciale into ¼-inch-thick slices. Then cut each slice into roughly ½ x 1-inch pieces. (It can help to freeze the guanciale for 10 minutes beforehand to make it easier to cut.)
- Cook the guanciale. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the guanciale to the pan and cook, stirring and flipping occasionally, until the guanciale is golden brown and crispy and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. (Keep a close eye on the guanciale so that it does not burn.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the guanciale to a separate plate. Pour the remaining fat into a heatproof measuring cup. Measure out ¼ cup of the fat to save, then discard the rest.
- Simmer the sauce. Carefully add the wine to the saucepan and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck left on the bottom of the pan while the wine simmers. Use your hands to roughly crush the tomatoes into small pieces, then add them to the saucepan. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, cooked guanciale, the reserved guanciale fat and stir to combine. Let the sauce continue to simmer on medium-low while the pasta cooks, stirring it occasionally and adding in a ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water if the sauce starts to seem too dry.
- Boil the pasta. Once the pasta water reaches a rapid boil, add the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is about 2 minutes shy of al dente. (The center of the pasta should still have just a slight crunch.)
- Emulsify the sauce. Use a spider strainer or tongs to immediately transfer the pasta to the sauté pan with the tomato sauce. (Be sure to save all of the remaining starchy pasta water in the stockpot.) Gently toss the pasta continuously in the sauce for 2-3 minutes until the pasta is al dente, adding in an extra ¼ cup of the remaining starchy pasta water as needed anytime the sauce seems too dry.
- Finish the pasta. Turn off the heat. Gradually add in the cheese and toss gently until the cheese has melted and the sauce is glossy, adding in an extra few tablespoons of the starchy pasta water when needed to thin out the sauce.
- Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with an extra sprinkle of cheese and twist of black pepper.
Source: This recipe is slightly adapted from the official Amatriciana recipe from the city of Amatrice. All of the ingredients and amounts are the same, with the exception of omitting the tablespoon of olive oil which was originally recommended to brown the guanciale (I find it unnecessary). I also slightly updated the instructions.