Pasta Amatriciana


I’ve waited quite a bit before posting this. It’s probably the most famous dish of the Roman cooking, along with Carbonara and the Coda all Vaccinara. This is one of my specialty and I’m sure it could proudly challenge any restaurant of the Eternal City. In Rome there is a big discussion that’s been going on for centuries (at least), the matter is weather or to to use onion. Big dilemma. I’ve researched a bit and apparently even the mythical chef Ada Boni uses onion… But as everybody who really knows me is aware, I have an opinion about that. My point is simple, you don’t need onion if you are using good guanciale. Yes. because the real Amatriciana only has few ingredients and relies on the quality of each one of them. Don’t trust those who put onion in their amatriciana, and be careful to embarque in such a discussion with a real Italian, You may end up breaking your friendship. Amatriciana calls for no onion. And you can come to my place and I will show you why. Here the ingredients, real Italian guanciale is a must. You know how much I love it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to write a post entirely dedicated to this amazing Roman delicacy.


  • 220g Pasta (Mezze Maniche or Mezzi Rigatoni, Bucatini or Thick Spaghetti. Avoid egg pasta, it’s already rich enough)
  • 1 small can of Whole Pealed Italian Tomatoes
  • 80/100 g of Italian Guanciale (only guanciale, whoever makes it with pancetta is an impostor, same if they make it with onion)
  • 2 Dry Hot Spicy Peppers
  • 1/2 Glass of Dry White Wine Dry wines from Lazio region or Tuscany, main grape Trebbiano)
  • Pecorino Romano (imported, real Pecorino Romano, not just Romano)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper

Cut the guanciale in thick matches, I like to give them a squared section, I found it helps the cooking and gives them an amazing crunchiness. Put the guanciale in a large pan and turn the flame to medium/low. Make sure to distribute the guanciale on a single layer, you want it to be evenly cooked. Add a little EVOO and cover with a lid.


Let the guanciale get crispy, lower the flame if needed and stir it occasionally to give it an even color. The fat of the guanciale should turn white and start melting. As the guanciale is almost cooked, add the crushed red chili peppers. Turn the flame to high and as soon s it starts frying add the white wine. Cover with a lid, lower the flame and let the liquid evaporate. When the whine is 3/4 evaporated, add the tomato, cover with a lid and let it cook. I like to let the sauce cook a little, till it gets a little thick. At this point, I usually add two spoonfuls of boiling water (that you put on the stove for the pasta) to make the sauce liquid again, but not too thin. Cook the pasta “al dente”, thrown it in the pan and give it a mix. Add the grated Pecorino, let is “mantecare” (creamify), add some black pepper and bring it to table while still warm. The amatriciana is ready. If you close your eyes you can probably feel home.


5 thoughts on “Pasta Amatriciana

    • Ale

      Happy to hear that Satoshi! You can find decent guanciale at Buona Italia, inside Chelsea Market. Post a picture of your creation. Thanks for following


    • Ale

      Thanks for your comments Judy. People from Rome are very picky with Amatriciana, it’s almost sacred. Being a dish from Rome and the surrounding areas, people from Pienza can’t be considered authorities. Plus you use onion, and onion is off limits for Amatriciana. There is a huge discussion that;s been going on for centuries in Rome. If the guanciale is good, there is no reason fro onion. Plus you’d avoid any rebellion if presented to a real Roman… 🙂


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