Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

If you’re looking for another weeknight pasta recipe to add to your repertoire (I know I always am), then allow me to suggest Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. Hailing from the Central Italian town of Amatrice (hence the name – aha!), this flavorful dish comes together in less than half and hour and uses mostly pantry items. Although guanciale, or pig jowl, traditionally provides the flavor base, pancetta or bacon work as well. I find it’s a great alternative to carbonara, and its spicy, smoky red sauce will keep you coming back for more.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
Prep Time
Cook Time
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This quick, filling pasta dish is perfect as a weeknight main and is sure to please the whole family. Feel free to adjust the level of spice to suit your tastes.
Recipe Type: Entree
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 ounces pancetta, guanciale, or bacon, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water until al dente.
  2. Drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add the pancetta to a large pan over medium heat and cook until just browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion has softened.
  5. Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and stir to combine.
  6. Allow to simmer, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened and flavorful. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the spaghetti and parsley and toss to coat.
  8. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and serve immediately.


53 thoughts on “Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

  1. Kiri W.

    Mmm, looks lovely! I am always in for spicy pasta dishes, and pancetta should be gorgeous in this. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Could I ask a favor? What’s you favorite Israeli dish that should be makeable overseas ingredient-wise? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Katherine

      Thanks Kiri!! Hmmm I love grilled eggplant drizzled with tahina, date honey, and pomegranate seeds and all of that is available in the States. Hummus is also always a good bet!

        • Katherine

          It is, it is! It’s delicious on everything, sweet or savory. I put it in my yogurt in the morning, you can use it as a substitute for molasses (it’s really more of a date molasses than honey), and drizzle it over all kinds of savory preparations. I was also happy and surprised to find it easily available when I was just home in New York. It was on the shelf in a deli in Brooklyn!

    • Katherine

      Ha, yes pig jowl sounds scary but it tastes a lot like pancetta! It’s actually delicious. However you make it I hope you enjoy it!! Let me know how it turns out!

  2. kitchenriffs

    One of my favorite dishes! This is a staple for me when I’ve got to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes and I want to prepare something from scratch. Good job on this – thanks.

    • Katherine

      Thanks Erin! I remember trying it for the first time many years ago and being dubious about bacon and tomato sauce, now I can’t remember why! It’s perfect.

  3. mjskit

    This is one of my favorite recipes that I acquired when I took a cooking class at a local Italian restaurant years ago. SO tasty and SO easy. I made the mistake once and forgot to add the red chile flakes. It just wasn’t the same. I’ve always used bacon, but you have inspired me to find some pancetta the next I make this. I’m sure that will be easier than finding pig jowl. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congrats on this making the Top 9!

    • Katherine

      A cooking class at an Italian restaurant sounds like so much fun! You’re right that the red pepper flakes really do add depth to the dish. I’ve also made the opposite mistake and added way too much – wowzas! It was still delicious, but a little overpowering. So glad to have inspired you! Thanks MJ ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Katherine

      Thanks you so much Lyndsay! So glad it appeals to you ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you make and enjoy it! Just checked out your cooking videos and they’re fab, thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    Thank you for the recipe, and guess what I’ll cook this tomorrow night! I saw this post from email and I’ve been thinking about it since then. For a record I haven’t had pasta for… maybe more than a month? It’s crazy! I’m trying to reduce carb, but I think I can take a break for this deliciousness. Thanks for the recipe. I have all the ingredients ready!

  5. Carol Mysliwiec

    Hi Katherine,
    Your Spaghetti All’ Amatriciana recipe looks so delicious. It’s the best recipe I’ve seen. Your recipe calls for 4 ounces bacon. I love bacon. Can I add more than 4 ounces, if so, how much bacon should I add?

    Thanks for your help,
    Carol Mysliwiec

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