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Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Hello and Welcome to Sunday Supper! Happy Spring! It’s a little chilly here in Athens, but the sun is shining this weekend. After last week’s rain, everything is greening up; flowers are putting on their early-spring show. When I haven’t been admiring the cherry blossoms in my yard, I have been watching Stanley Tucci’s show, Searching for Italy. In the Rome episode, Tucci orders Rigatoni all’Amatriciana. Needless to say, I had to try this. So today, we are making Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

plated Bucatini all'Amatriciana

The all’Amatriciana is the sauce; it consists of guanciale (Italian salt-cured pork cheek), tomatoes and pecorino cheese. The recipe I found is from Bon Appétit and it’s a little different, due to the the addition of onion and garlic. The additions of garlic and onion seem to be a little controversial, nevertheless it’s amazingly delicious.


Bucatini all'Amatriciana ingredients

Let’s start with the sauce. If you cannot find guanciale, you can substitute with pancetta. The flavor will definitely be different, but no less delicious, I’m sure. I had never had guanciale before and I was surprised at how different its flavor is from pancetta. Guanciale has less of a bacon flavor, and more of a deep pork flavor than pancetta.

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Sauté the guanciale until it’s golden and crispy. Then add the red pepper flakes and the fresh cracked black pepper. Stir and cook for a few seconds. Then add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often until the onions and garlic are soft, 5-8 minutes.

Take the entire can of San Marzano tomatoes and pour it into a large measuring cup, then hand crush the whole tomatoes in the sauce and then pour the whole thing into the pan with the guanciale, onions and garlic.


Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile get the pasta started.

The Pasta!

all'Amatriciana and pasta cooking

While the sauce is cooking and reducing, get a large pot of salted water boiling. Cook the bucatini for about 8 minutes. We want the pasta less than al dente because the bucatini will finish cooking in the sauce.

Reduced all'Amatriciana
After about 20 minutes the sauce has thickened up nicely.

Before draining the bucatini, scoop out one cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Then drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Use tongs to toss the pasta in the sauce.

Once the pasta is mostly coated with sauce, add about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and continue to toss to coat the pasta. If the sauce is too thick, keep adding pasta water a little at a time, tossing to coat the pasta.

Then, add the finely grated pecorino and toss to combine.

Adding pecorino to Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Turn off the heat and use tongs to transfer portions of pasta to shallow bowls.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

plated Bucatini all'Amatriciana

I am no Roman chef, but this pasta dish kinda blew my mind. For this Sunday Supper, treat yourself to a little trip to Rome with a bowl of Bucatini all’Amatriciana! Take it one further and watch the Rome episode of Searching for Italy while you tuck into this amazing pasta dish.

plated Bucatini all'Amatriciana
Top with a little extra pecorino and enjoy!

I encourage you seek out the guanciale. It’s worth the effort of making an extra trip to your local specialty cheese or charcuterie shop. If your town doesn’t have one, you can find it online.

I didn’t have a chance to try all’Amatriciana when Alex and I were in Italy (missed flights: long story…), but this dish sure makes me feel like I have taken a tiny vacation back. Have you been to Italy? If so, what was your favorite dish you had there? Let me know in the comments below or reach out on facebook and Instagram! Thanks so much for joining me today for Sunday Supper. You can always catch up on Sunday Suppers, in case you’ve missed any recipe. Take care and be well everyone! xo Kelly

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Dinner, Main Course Italian
By Sarah Tenaglia & Selma Brown Morrow Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cooking Time: 35 Minutes Total Time: 45 Minutes

Guanciale, Italian salt-cured pork cheek, deeply flavors this classic sauce. A little spice from dried chili and black pepper is perfectly balanced with the chunky tomato sauce and pecorino cheese. A little bit of Rome in a bowl.


  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced Guanciale or Pancetta (sliced like short matchsticks)
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Minced Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 28-oz. Can Peeled Tomatoes with Juices, crushed by hand
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. Dried Bucatini or Spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino



Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and sauté until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes.


Add pepper flakes and black pepper; stir for 10 seconds.


Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes.


Add tomatoes (with juices).


Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes.


Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes (2 minutes before al dente). Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water and drain pasta.


Add drained pasta to sauce in skillet and toss vigorously with tongs to coat.


Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. (Add a little pasta water if sauce is too dry.)


Stir in cheese and transfer pasta to shallow bowls.

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  • Susan
    March 21, 2021 at 9:45 am

    ALways enjoy our recipes and discussions. I am just as glad you blog instead of a tv show, because it would probably air at the wrong time for me and i would miss you. You cook the way I do. A little bit of this and a little bit of that!Incidentally my Irish pizza was an interesting experiment. I tried it in the iron skillet. However i put too much stuff in it and it became overwhelmingly large’ But nest time I will know better. I thoguht a pizza would not be quite so much food with no leftovers. However, I still have lots. The publx pizza dough was fine. Trader Joes is across town and I did not want to drive that far just for pizza dough. But nest time when we are going that way will plan on doing that. Our son really likes theirs better than Publix. Oh well. can’t wait to try this Sunday’s recipe. We are having dumpy rainy cold weather, but it is supposed to warm up again.going to Atlanta this weekend see our other son and hope there is sill some spring flowering left. Here’s to cooking up a storm!

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 21, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Hi Susan! It’s funny sometimes how pizza toppings can get away from you. I have had this happen many times. It is so chilly this weekend, but I will take that considering how much rain we are expecting in the coming week. I found an easy pizza dough recipe that I am working on to share on the blog soon, because like you, I don’t like having to drive across town to get the Trader Joe’s dough! Thank you so much for tuning in to the blog, I am so happy to have your support! Have a wonderful visit with your son in Atlanta! xo Kelly

  • Jill
    March 21, 2021 at 10:13 am

    I keep wanting to try the cocktail recipes, but found yesterday that there is….a campari shortage! I was told it may be 4 or 5 weeks before any arrives. I’ll save them off and try them then! Crazy.

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 21, 2021 at 10:18 am

      A Campari shortage?!!! Wow! That is crazy, Lol. Well, these cocktails will be there for you when the shipment comes in! Take Care in the meanwhile! xo Kelly

  • Kathy S
    March 21, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I have been watching the Stanley Tucci show also , dreaming of the day we can return to Italy! This recipe looks delicious. I’ll definitely be trying it soon.

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 21, 2021 at 10:20 am

      Hi Kathy, Yes for sure! Alex and I had planned to go back for our honeymoon…but I guess we will just have to wait a bit longer. Let me know how you like this dish. I can’t wait to make it again! Thank you for stopping by today, have a great Sunday! xo Kelly

  • Catherine
    March 21, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the tip in the Stanley Tucci show. On Friday, we had an Italian themed dinner of pasta with shrimp and rose/vodka sauce. Of course we had to watch something with an Italian theme. The best I could come up with to interest my husband was an old war movie – Anzio.
    As for cocktails, I used to drink Campari and grapefruit juice on ice. You might enjoy that too.

    • Kelly Djalali
      March 21, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      Hello Catherine! Yes, Searching for Italy is a must-watch! Your rosé vodka sauce sounds great – and I love shrimp with pasta! Oh my goodness, I love Campari and grapefruit juice, it’s so refreshing; a perfect brunch cocktail. Thank you so much for stopping by and writing in today, I love to hear about what y’all are cooking, drinking and watching! Thanks so much! xo Kelly