The Perfect Amatriciana Sauce

How to Make the Perfect Amatriciana Sauce

As we are still in lockdown and our Carbonara Challenge was a huge success, we continue our blogs to inspire you to cook traditional Roman dishes which are quick and easy to make. Spaghetti, bacon, cheese, and tinned tomatoes!

Today we invite you to make the traditional Roman pasta dish all‘Amatriciana (matriciana in Roman dialect).  Filling, tasty and cheap it is a traditional dish of Lazio that comes from Amatrice, North East of Rome. 

amatriciana sauce

The best Amatriciana Sauce can only be found in Rome!

Rome is a province in the region of Lazio, and of course the capital of Italy.  Italy has 20 regions, each one has a different character, different dialects, different pasta shapes and of course different regional dishes.  In the UK whilst we may think we are different… Cornish pasties come from Cornwall, Lancashire is famous for its pies, and we all know Haggis comes from Scotland. 

We think of Italian food in general terms but actually many famous dishes originate from particular regions… However, you will find Pasta Chef’s that serve the best Amatriciana Sauce in the world in Rome because the small village it originates from is located to the north east of Rome.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is italy-regions-map-4135112_final-5c705528c9e77c000151ba4e.webpCredits to TripSavy for the photo

Quick and Easy

This is a very simple dish using only guanciale, tomatoes and pecorino cheese.  The fat from the pork cheek, strong cheese and tomato gives a rich slightly sweet sauce served on Bucatini or Spaghetti. Amatriciana literally means the woman from Amatrice, the town is famous in Italy for its pecorino, but more so guanciale (pork cheek).

Although this recipe may seem familiar, the taste is a result of the method of cooking.  Pork fat flavours the sauce cooked on a low heat and the pasta is always added to the sauce to make sure every single piece of pasta is coated.  You will also notice an absence of onion or garlic; these are rarely added to pasta dishes as the Italians think they have too strong a flavour

Amatriciana Sauce

The Recipe for the Best Amatriciana Sauce

This recipe has the traditional ingredients. We know that it can be hard to get the specific regional ingredients so we have suggested more available alternatives.

Time 20/25 mins

Level: Easy

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients for the best Amatriciana sauce

350 g pasta (Bucatini or Spaghetti)

120g guanciale (you can use pancetta or streaky bacon sliced into small strips)

50 g pecorino (grana padano or parmigiano)

2 tins of peeled plum tomatoes or 500g fresh tomatoes peeled and finely cubed

50ml White wine

Whole chilli or chilli flakes



Method for the best Amatriciana sauce

  • Cut the guanciale into strips.  The Romans use the cheek of the pig to make this dish as the fat gives a lot of flavour.  You can use Pancetta or thick sliced Streaky Bacon, the fattier the better.

  • Cook the guanciale/pancetta/bacon, adding the whole chilli or chilli flakes.  Cook on a low heat without added fat.  You want to sweat the fat out of the strips and for them to become crunchy but not burnt! 

  • When the strips are crunchy and golden, remove the bacon bits and put to the side.  If you used fresh chilli, discard the chilli now.  Add wine to the fat and cook slightly then add tomatoes.  Cook on a low heat for 15/20 minutes.

  • Add pasta to boiling water.  You want the pasta with a bite ‘al dente’ (slightly undercooked) this should take 5/6 minutes.

  • Drain the pasta and add to the tomato sauce along with the cooked pieces of bacon, mix well.  Each piece of pasta should be coated with the sauce. Cook on a low heat for a minute or two

  • Take off the heat and add half of the cheese to the sauce and stir well.  Your perfect Amatriciana sauce and al dente pasta ready to serve topped with more grated cheese to give a nice finish

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