Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a classic Roman dish. The sauce is hardy and pairs perfectly with the thick bucatini pasta. This is one of my family’s favorite meals. When we visited Rome this is one dish that we ate multiple times. This recipe is also very popular with my niece, Jasmine. She asks me to make this for her every time I visit her.
The sauce is simple to make, and uses only a few ingredients. I am making the dish with pancetta (Italian bacon) instead of the traditional guanciale (pork cheek) because it is easier to find. I think the taste is equally good.
1 – lb. bucatini pasta
1 – 28 oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1 – medium – large onion
3 – cloves garlic
6 – oz. pancetta
1/2 – tsp. crushed red pepper flake (or to taste)
1/4 – tsp. salt
1/4 – tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 – cup pecorino romano cheese
Cut the onion in half, then make thin half-moon slices. Heat a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; add the onion and sauté until translucent. In the meantime, dice the pancetta into small pieces and mince the garlic. Once the onions are translucent, push them to one side of the skillet and add the pancetta. Cook until lightly browned; add the garlic, crushed red pepper and cook about 1-2 minutes more.
Blend the whole peeled tomatoes in a blender, just for a couple of seconds. Pour the tomatoes into the skillet and add salt and pepper and stir. Be careful not to use too much salt because the pancetta is salty. You can always add more later. Once the tomatoes start to bubble, turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
Put on a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and throw in the bucatini. Cook as directed on the box, but check it about 2 minutes prior to the time the directions suggest. The pasta is best if it is cooked al dente (it should be a little firm to the bite).
Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and pecorino cheese and serve.