Italian Regional Recipes Lazio Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Pasta all’Amatriciana from Lazio

Pasta all’ Amatriciana or simply Amatriciana, is one of the most famous and loved pasta sauces in Italy. It takes its name from the town of Amatrice, Lazio region where Rome is located. Guanciale (pork jowl) guanciale-italian-cured-pork-jowl is the main ingredient in addition to Pecorino cheese and tomato sauce. The original recipe calls for spaghetti which was later supplanted by bucatini pasta (boo-kah-tee-nee), a type of long tubular pasta similar to slightly thicker spaghetti made from durum wheat semolina flour, traditionally made and served in and around Rome. Short pasta such as rigatoni or mezze maniche are also more than fine.

Traditionally a cast iron frying pan is used, otherwise a non-stick one will do.

What Amatriciana doesn’t need:

Chilli pepper and Aromatic Herbs
Parmigiano cheese
Pancetta / Bacon, unsless you can’t get Guanciale
Oil, butter, margarine, garlic and onion

Serves 4, Preparation 15 mins, Cooking 20 – 25 mins

  • 400 g Spaghetti or Bucatini or Short Pasta like Rigatoni
  • 200 g Guanciale (pork jowl), cut into strips
  • 150 g Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 500 g Peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, a sprinkle


Cut Guanciale into strips, discarding the rind.

Heat the pan, add the strips of guanciale, fry them over a low heat in their own fat which they will release until they sizzle and become translucent and crispy. Remove it from the pan, set it aside on a plate, do not throw away the fat in the pan and keep the heat on.

Pour peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce into the pan, cook for 15/20 minutes adding half of grated Pecorino, stir.

Tip: salt is optional as Pecorino is already quite salty. Taste and evaluate according to your taste.

Bring salted water to the boil in a saucepan to cook spaghetti or bucatini, drain it ‘al dente’, i.e. a couple of mins before the cooking time on the package, add it to the sauce in the pan, mix on a high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add guanciale and the rest of the Pecorino, a last sprinkle of black pepper, stir quickly and serve.

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One Comment

  1. This may very well be my favorite of the four traditional Roman pastors. I can never get enough of it! Guanciale is very hard to find here in the United States, but whenever I do? I buy a lot of it! (It freezes very well.)

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