With just a few key ingredients like guanciale, tomatoes, shallots, and bucatini, you can make one of the best and most authentic Italian pasta dishes you'll ever consume.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: amatriciana, authentic amatriciana, bucatini, bucatiniall'amatriciana, roman pasta dish, rome
2Tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
6ounces guanciale, cut into strips that are roughly 1" long, and 1/4" wide*
128-ounce can of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
red pepper flakes
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
12ouncesbucatini or other pasta
2ouncesPecorino Romano, finely grated plus more for serving
In a large dutch oven, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is heated and shimmering, add guanciale. Cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the guanciale is a deep golden brown color and crispy on the outside. Using a slotted spoon, remove the guanciale from dutch oven and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate or bowl.
Add the shallots to the dutch oven with the remaining olive oil and rendered guanciale fat. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until shallots are translucent and soft, but not browned. Add the entire can of San Marzano tomatoes and its juices to the dutch oven, slowly crushing each tomato with your hands to release the juices before letting them fall into the dutch oven. Add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Cook on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water (should taste like the sea) to a boil. Once boiling, add the bucatini and cook until a minute or two just under al dente. Remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and set aside.
Using an immersion blender, blend the contents of the dutch oven until smooth.** Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and pasta to the dutch oven and, using tongs, gently combine the pasta and the tomato sauce. Bring the dutch oven to high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, add pecorino, and use tongs to combine. Add additional pasta water, 1 Tablespoon at a time if needed. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Plate the pasta and top each serving with additional Pecorino (don't be shy) and the crispy guanciale (which should be evenly divided between servings).
*Guanciale is an imperative ingredient in this recipe. It will help you achieve the signature Amatriciana flavor, as well as provide incredible texture to your dish. You can usually buy this at European or Italian markets, or at artisan, high-quality delis. Ask for 6 ounces of guanciale, in the thickest slices possible. When you are slicing the guanciale, try to cut it into strips that are roughly 1" long, and 1/4" wide. **If you don't have an immersion blender, you can leave the sauce as is (it will be more textured and not as smooth but will still taste delicious), or let it cool slightly and transfer to a blender to blend until smooth, and then back to your dutch oven.