Amatriciana is a famous pasta recipe in Roman trattorias and restaurants. Because of this, many people think it’s a dish that was created in Rome. Actually, the recipe has its origins in Amatrice (hence the name), a small town in the Rieti area.
Amatriciana recipe consists of pasta – bucatini or spaghetti – tossed with the classic Amatriciana sauce made with peeled tomatoes, guanciale, chili peppers and pecorino cheese. A unique goodness!
Other ingredients, such as garlic and onion, are not present in the authentic recipe from the town of Amatrice, but you will find them in the Roman variant.
Also with regard to pasta, the Roman recipe uses bucatini, while in the authentic Amatriciana recipe you will have spaghetti.
Wanting to respect the traditional recipe of pasta all’Amatriciana (or Matriciana as they call it in Rome), in this recipe we’ll just use spaghetti, pecorino romano, guanciale, chilli pepper and peeled tomatoes.
According to tradition, remember that the right ratio of guanciale to pasta is one-fourth: therefore, for 500 g (1,1 pound) of pasta, you need 125 g (1/4 pound or 4,4 oz) of guanciale.
Some prefer to sauté the guanciale for a few minutes and then add white wine. White wine is listed as an ingredient but is optional; it’s not essential to the success of the recipe, so it depends on taste.
Along with pasta carbonara and cacio e pepe, amatriciana, although a typical recipe from Lazio, has become a classic of Italian cuisine.
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Authentic Amatriciana Recipe
- Prep Time: 20 Min
- Cook Time:10 Min
- Yields : 6
- 125 g (4,4 oz) of guanciale
- 400 g (about 2 cups) of canned San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 chili pepper
- 50 ml (1/4 cup) of dry white wine (optional)
- fine salt
- 500 g (1,1 lb) of spaghetti (or bucatini)
- 80 g (2/3 cup) of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
How to Make Amatriciana Sauce
Step 1) – To prepare the amatriciana sauce, get a fairly large frying pan. First cut the guanciale into strips. Then put the chili pepper in the pan and add the guanciale.
The dark meat of the guanciale, which you see in the picture, is rich in pepper and spices and should not be thrown away. It gives the sauce a very tasty flavor, so keep it.
As you may have already guessed, you don’t need oil in this recipe. If, however, instead of guanciale you are using bacon, which is leaner, add a tablespoon of oil, as suggested in the paragraph below on variations of amatriciana sauce.
Step 2) – Sauté the guanciale, turning it often with a wooden spoon, until the white fat part has become transparent and golden (about 5 min).
Now is the time to add the white wine (optional). Keep the high heat and let it evaporate.
Step 3) – Meantime prepare the peeled tomatoes. You can find many types of canned tomatoes but San Marzano variety are the best choice for this recipe.
Add the peeled tomatoes with their sauce.
Step 4) – With the help of a fork, crush the tomatoes so that they become pulpy. Stir and add a pinch of fine salt to taste. Cook Amatriciana sauce for 10 minutes on medium heat. When the sauce is ready, remove the chili pepper.
Amatriciana Sauce is Ready! Now let’s see how to make pasta all’Amatriciana.
How to Make Pasta Amatriciana Recipe
Step 4) – Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in plenty of salted water, following the cooking times specified on the package.
Drain spaghetti al dente and pour them into the pan with Amatriciana sauce.
Step 5) – Stir and add grated pecorino romano which will bind all the ingredients.
Authentic Italian Amatriciana is ready! Serve very hot with a further sprinkling of pecorino romano.
You can store the amatriciana sauce in the refrigerator sealed in a food container for up to 3 to 4 days.
If you prefer, you can freeze it and store it in the freezer for up to a month. Thaw it at room temperature.
You can reheat the amatriciana sauce in a frying pan or in the microwave.
Finally, it is possible to store pasta all’amatriciana in the refrigerator in a food container for up to one day. We do not recommend freezing it.
Reheat the amatriciana in the microwave or saute it in a pan with a tablespoon of oil.
You can also put it in an baking dish, sprinkle with grated pecorino romano cheese and finally gratin it in the oven.
Amatriciana Sauce: Some Variants
Every traditional recipe has many variations, and this happens also for this traditional recipe of pasta Amatriciana, in which the variations are characterized by the addition or replacement of the ingredients according to the traditions of the different Italian regions or simply to your tastes.
Many people like cooking Amatriciana sauce without tomatoes. This dish in Italy is called Pasta alla Gricia or Griscia from the name of Grisciano, a village near Amatrice. For more information check out our recipe “Pasta alla Gricia”.
Pasta Amatriciana with Parmigiano
As mentioned above in the authentic amatriciana sauce recipe, pecorino Romano is one of the main ingredients. You can replace it withparmigiano cheese or use half parmigiano and half pecorino romano.
In this case the flavour becomes less strong and tasty (pecorino Romano is a very tasty cheese). It depends on the tastes and the possibility of finding the ingredients.
Amatriciana Sauce with Bacon
Amatriciana sauce is often made with bacon, as is the case with pasta alla carbonara. If only for the easy availability of the ingredient, which is indeed also less expensive than guanciale.
Bacon is less fat then guanciale so add 1 spoonfull of oil to sauté it.
Amatriciana with Garlic or Onion
Many people like to cook guanciale with a clove of garlic or a small onion. This is used a lot in Rome and surroundings. The traditional Amatriciana recipe does’t want any of them so, in the ends, it’s up to you.
There are even different opinions on the type of pasta: in addition to spaghetti, Amatriciana pasta is excellent with bucatini. Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a famous dish in Rome but the authentic recipe born in Amatrice is made with spaghetti. So now the choice is yours 😉
Amatriciana Sauce Recipe: History and Curiosities
In the beginning, Pasta Amatriciana was without tomato. Only around 1600 it was imported from America and began to appear in Italian recipes. Nowadays, the “white” version of this famous pasta recipe is called pasta alla Gricia or Grascia (from Grisciano, another little town near Amatrice).
Centuries ago, many shepherds who lived in the mountains of Amatrice, brought in their saddlebags the necessary ingredients for its preparation: pieces of guanciale, pecorino cheese, red hot pepper and dried pasta.
The secret behind a perfect Amatriciana sauce is the fat, the white and slightly pink part of guanciale, which is the main and most important ingredient.
Much appreciated throughout Italy, Amatriciana or Matriciana (as it is called in Rome) has been included in the list of Prodotti Agroalimentari Tradizionali (Traditional Food Products – PAT) of Lazio.
It exists in several variations, but the authentic recipe has been formalized by the municipality of Amatrice in a De. C.O. (Denominazioni Comunali d’Origine) specification.
In 2015 the municipality, in addition, began the path to recognition as a TSG (Traditional Specialty Guaranteed), a mark of origin that protects precisely the traditional productions.
Amatriciana web story
7 thoughts on “Authentic Amatriciana Recipe”
I just returned from Rome, and I had this dish,it was amazing but they used rigatoni. It was really good. I plan on using your recipe but the place that sells guanciale sells it in a larger package than I would need for one recipe. Can I freeze it? If so should I cut it up or freeze whole?
Sure you can freeze it but first cut it up
I went original with spaghetti, guanciale, chili pepper, and tomato. It was so simple yet delicious. I also added a drizzle of Roma olive oil, it was a nice finisher. I wanted an authentic Italian amatriciana and this delivered, ty.
Is it just 14 oz canned peeled tomatoes, not 28 oz?
Yes, for 6 people use just half a tin of peeled tomatoes.
Thanks for setting us right!
I have been curing guanciale and using this recipe and techniques for quite a while…simple, perfect, and utterly satisfying should be enough!
Looking forward to trying this amatriciana recipe. Do you have a recommendation for the type of red pepper/chilli to cook it with? Thanks!