Recipe Bucatini All Amatriciana

Photo Andrea Marchetta

Regional dishes are often the cause of dispute between Italians, whether they are professional chefs or amateur chefs, and Penne Rigate all’Amatriciana is no exception!
Bucatini or spaghetti, bacon or bacon, garlic or onion… these are the main questions that anyone preparing this recipe for the first time has to face.
It is said that this famous dish born in Amatrice was the main meal of the shepherds, but originally it was without tomatoes and took the name “gricia”; this ingredient was added later when tomatoes were imported from the Americas and the seasoning took the name Amatriciana.
It is therefore normal that such an ancient and popular recipe has been transformed over time taking on the many variations that are still discussed today.

An example of Penne all”Amatriciana
  • 1 lb pasta, bucatini
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 oz slab bacon or pancetta finely diced
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 – 14 1/2 oz (or 1 28 oz) can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
  • 1/2 chili pepper, broken into small pieces, or 1/4 t chili pepper flakes to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pecorino cheese
How to make Pasta all’Amatriciana:

How to make the pasta all’amatriciana, melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Saute’ the onion until transparent, or about 5 minutes, then add the chili and pancetta and saute’ until onion is golden and the pancetta or bacon nice and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, making sure sauce does not burn, about 15 minutes.
Add the salt to taste. Make sure it needs salt, as pancetta and or bacon are quite salty.
You will also be later adding the cheese, which is rather salty, too.

At the same time cook the pasta, when done to taste, drain and pour into a warm serving bowl or directly into pan with the sauce, mix well adding grated cheese to taste and serve the pasta all’amatriciana. Pass extra cheese at table.

In the pasta all’amatriciana, spaghetti can be substituted for the bucatini or, if  in a crunch, pennette.

Serves 4 to 6

Pasta all’Amatriciana comes from Amatrice, a town on the border between Lazio and Abruzzi about 80 miles northeast of Rome.
A bit of history:
This dish comes from Amatrice, a town on the border between Lazio and Abruzzi about 80 miles northeast of Rome.

Il guanciale di Amatrice and the amatriciana: food favored by the transumanti Abbruzzesi sheep carers due to its easy conservation and transportation, and its high caloric value, the guanciale, a sort of cured meat, originally was, together with the pecorino cheese, the only condiment for the pasta, that was called “GRICIA”. At the end of 700, with the addition of tomatoes, this dish became famous with the name “AMATRICIANA”.

On the Sunday after Ferragosto, August 15, Bucatini all’Amatriciana is served with great fanfare at local celebrations. Ferragosto, “Holiday of August”, is one of the most observed Italian public holidays when practically all of Italy comes to a halt.
The big factories in the North such as Fiat close their gates and most Italians get in their car or on the train leaving the large towns to the elderly and the tourists.

Regional Recipe from Lazio and Abruzzi