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.
Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

5.0 from 6 reviews
Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
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.


  1. Your spaghetti looks yummy and your pictures are Gorgeous! πŸ˜€
    Greetings from Mexico.

  2. This looks wonderful, I love the pancetta!

  3. A local Italian deli just started serving this as one of their pasta sauces and I adore it. So yummy!

  4. ooh, this looks perfect for nights when dinner is on the fly! I`ve got some home-canned tomatoes that would perfectly…Theresa

  5. I’m in love with all the ingredients in here. Looks so good!

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

    • 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!

      • Oooh, date honey sounds amazing!

        • 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!

  7. This sounds very good, will pass on the pig jaw and go for the pancetta. I will be making this next week.

    • 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!

  8. This is a great Italian recipe, I love it! Just a thing.. is Spaghetti all’amAtriciana, not amitriciana πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Giuilia! Jeez, how embarrassing! I’ve fixed πŸ™‚ I got the AmAtrice right, just got all’AmItriciana stuck in my head.

  9. Not sure if I could find pig jowl even if I tried, so it would be bacon for me. Sounds like a great, quick meal for a busy night.

    • Bacon works great here, it’s delicious in fact! This dish is definitely perfect for a busy night, it comes together so quickly!

  10. Ooooooh! I’m so making this tonight! We’ve fixing to go on holiday and I’ve got some bacon that needs cooking πŸ™‚ Looks fabulous!

  11. Simple and perfect pasta recipe! Have a nice day Katherine!

  12. 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.

    • Mine too! It’s amazing that something so flavorful can be prepared in such a short amount of time! Just love it. Thanks!

  13. One of my favourite recipes and one that I will post someday too! Wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing yours.

  14. This looks amazing! I love all the ingredients, they sound wonderful together.

    • 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.

  15. I like that it is a simple recipe. Would love to try this out.

  16. I love a good pasta dish that can be thrown together quickly. This looks bright and tasty.

  17. Simplicity at its finest! It looks mouthwatering.

  18. Lovely post! I looove anything with bacon. Beautiful photos.

  19. Sounds perfect for tonite! Congrats on your top 9!

  20. I haven’t made this in years…thanks for reminding me of this great dish~

  21. 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. πŸ™‚ Congrats on this making the Top 9!

    • 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 πŸ˜€

  22. I was on the lookout tonight for a nice pasta recipe for tomorrow and this one really appeals to me. Lovely recipe, photo and website!

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

  23. This looks and sound fabulous. I love those healthy colors.

  24. 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!

    • Wow, a month without pasta?! Very admirable πŸ™‚ I do hope it came out well! Let me know if you liked it πŸ˜€

  25. 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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