March 26, 2012

The "Best" Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

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Spaghetti all' Amatriciana is one of those classic pasta dishes that you can find just about anywhere. This is probably because it's extremely simple, quick to make, and very tasty. We've created our own version here that uses a lighter sauce that just barely coats the pasta, letting the onion and pancetta really stand out.

This is one of those meals that we make some nights when we've got some leftover pancetta (or bacon, or any other sort of cured pork) and aren't really feeling like making a big, high effort feast. In fact, there's a good chance that you've got everything you need for this already! So, take a look at the recipe below and give it a try!

Making the Dish
What You'll Need
2 - 3 oz pancetta
1/2 red onion, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 lb spaghetti

Start off by chopping up the pancetta into small cubes - to about the size you'd want to eat them. Then place them in a sauté pan with the olive oil and cook over medium heat until the fat renders from the pancetta and it gets slightly caramelized.

Start boiling the water with a touch of salt. Cook the spaghetti until 1 minute shy of the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, finish making your sauce.

Into the pan with the pancetta, add in the red onion. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium high heat until it is fairly soft and somewhat caramelized. Then add in the garlic and cook for 2 - 3 minutes more. Finally, add in the tomato paste. Place it on the side of the pan where there's no veggies or pancetta and let it cook for a minute or so directly on the heat. Then stir it into the red onion and pancetta and get fully incorporated into the veggies.

As the pasta is finishing cooking, take a ladle of pasta water and pour it into the sauté pan. Stir to incorporate full. This will create a slight, light sauce out of the water and the tomato paste.

Grab the spaghetti with tongs and place it into the pan with the pancetta and onion. Add in the chopped parsley, and toss to combine over medium heat. Add in more pasta water if necessary. Serve garnished with grated pecorino romano.

The Result
The red onions are slightly sweet after caramelization, the pancetta is savory, salty, and hearty.

Everything is held together by this perfectly delicate tomato sauce that just barely coats the pasta, which really lets the pancetta and red onion shine through.

This is in my opinion the perfect version of Spaghetti all'Amatriciana, but we know there are plenty of variations. Have a favorite version of your own? Let us know about it in the comments below!

One Year Ago: Pork and Fennel Meatballs and Jambalaya


  1. This looks absolutely amazing! Can't wait to try it!

  2. This looks absolutely delicious and so simple to make. I have about 4 ounces of pancetta in the fridge and this would be the perfect use for it!

  3. This is one of my favorite dishes! Yours looks just gorgeous.

  4. I came here via a recommendation from Laura Vitale and I'm glad I did. I wasn't sure what to make tonight for dinner - this looks amazing. If you get a chance, be sure to come by my blog this week. I'm holding a great giveaway with a very nice prize package - nice to meet you!

    1. Lyndsay, that's so great to hear! I will have to thank Laura for recommending us. Thanks for letting us know about the giveaway. Just liked you on Facebook to enter :)

  5. Looking Delicious.And I like the fact that it is made up of simple ingredients,I will obviously try this and come back for more... I like your work!

  6. Great recipe... and if you have time, try making your own pancetta this autumn. Or better yet: Romanesque Bucatini all'Amatriciana using guanciale (cured pork jowl). Fantastic.


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