I love a good pasta.
A quick and easy pasta that tastes like it took way longer to make than it actually did is even better.
Say hello to just that: our favorite version of pasta all’amatriciana!
If you aren’t familiar with amatriciana sauce, it is an Italian tomato sauce that originated in Rome. It’s flavored with pancetta (or other pork parts like the jowl or cheeks) and is a touch spicy like an arrabiata would be.
It is quick to make and the flavor is incredible.
When we went to Italy a few years back, we started our trip in Rome. On the first night, we went to one of the classic sidewalk cafes, and I immediately ordered pasta all’amatriciana! I had made it many times before and was eager to taste an authentic version.
It did not disappoint!
My at-home version pays homage to that first Roman meal, and I think I do it justice!
The sauce starts out by crisping up cubed pancetta. If you can’t find pancetta, you could use bacon. Just know that your sauce will have a smokier flavor, as pancetta is cured but not smoked like American bacon is.
Once the pancetta is crispy, I like to remove it and use the drippings to cook the sauce. I use onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes to build the flavors.
Next goes in canned crushed tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them – they’re much sweeter than any other canned tomato variety), a touch of sugar for balance, and my secret ingredient to making any tomato sauce taste like it has been simmering for hours: a drizzle of balsamic vinegar!
The vinegar adds depth and a touch of richness and the acidity brightens up that canned tomato flavor. Works in a pinch every single time!
Once your sauce has simmered for a bit, stir the crispy pancetta back in and add in your freshly cooked pasta. I add it straight from the boiling water right into the pan of sauce, as a little pasta water will help move things along. And any good Italian will tell you: always finish your pasta in the sauce you’re serving it in.
I love a long pasta noodle for this, bucatini being our favorite, but ANY pasta will do!
Stir and toss the hot pasta in the tomato sauce until it absorbs the flavors and all the noodles are well coated. All that’s left to do is finish things off with some cheese and fresh herbs and serve.
This dish takes 30 minutes from start to finish to make and is really pretty simple, but the flavor is out of this world. There is so much porky richness from the pancetta and the tomatoes taste sweet and savory.
It is slurpy and messy to eat in all the best ways.
Hopefully I’ve made the Romans proud!Print
This recipe for our favorite Pasta All’amatriciana is one for the books! Based on the classic Roman dish, this tomato sauce is flavored with crispy pancetta, onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes for some heat. Served simply and quickly without sacrificing an ounce of that amazing flavor! This is a go-to pasta dish in our house!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 oz pancetta, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (28-oz) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 lb long pasta noodle of choice (we love bucatini for this)
- 1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- Fresh herbs, for garnish (basil or parsley work best)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil, start the sauce in a large skillet by crisping the pancetta in the olive oil.
- Once the pancetta is crisp on all sides, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- To the drippings in the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add in the red pepper flakes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce over low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir the crispy pancetta back into the sauce after it has simmered, and adjust the seasoning, as needed.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta until it is just shy of el dente (I usually do 2-3 minutes fewer than what the pasta box recommends). Using tongs, place the pasta straight from the water into the tomato sauce. If some of the pasta water gets into the tomato sauce, this is good!
- Stir and toss the pasta in the sauce until every noodle is well coated and the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce.
- Stir in the cheese and fresh herbs, toss again, and then serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: pasta
Keywords: quick and easy pasta all’amatriciana, amatriciana pasta sauce, homemade amatriciana pasta sauce, homemade pasta all’amatriciana