Skip to Content

How to Make (and say) Bucatini all’Amatriciana

bucatini pasta dish

Photo: roboppy on Flickr

It might be harder to pronounce Bucatina all'Amatriciana than it is to make it. And while the former can be fun to learn, the latter is among the greatest pleasures of the Italian kitchen. One of the Holy Trinity of Roman pastas (alongside Carbonara and Cacio e Pepe), Amatriciana (and its variation, Gricia) is distinguished by a tomato-base, infused with savory guanciale (cured hog jowl) and sweet red onions absorbed by the perfect pasta for such a sauce: Bucatini, a long, thicker noodle with a 'little hole' ('bucatini') down the middle that hosts additional sauce.

Pancetta, or even bacon, can be used in place of the guanciale, though we at Appetito highly recommend procuring some guanciale as the rendered fat, the real base of this dish, can't be equaled by substitutes. You can mail order some extraordinary guanciale (and other amazing salumis!) from Terra di Siena, a generation's old Sienese pig farmer with an outpost in the Virginia hills.

Now, for that pronunciation:

Bu = boo

ca = cuh

ti = tea

ni = knee

al = ahl

la = la

ma = mah

tri = trrree (rolling the r 3x, if possible)

ciana = chana


Say it with me, amici!

How to Make (and say) Bucatini all'Amatriciana

How to Make (and say) Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Recipe by andrewappetito
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 lb 1 bucatini (a thick, dry spaghetti can be substituted)

  • 1/2 lb 1/2 guanciale sliced into long, thin strips (like matchsticks)

  • 1 medium 1 red onion, halved and sliced ¼-inch thick

  • 1-1/2 tsp 1-1/2 red pepper flakes

  • 1 28 oz 1 can of whole San Marzano tomatoes (crushed by hand)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 torn basil leaves plus a handful ribboned and reserved for garnish

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 grated Pecorino Romano plus ¼ cup for sprinkling

  • salt and sugar, to taste

  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed


  • Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  • In a large saucepan with a thin coat of olive oil, render the guanciale over low heat, turning the pieces occasionally until the fat has nearly dissolved and the meat slightly crisped (10 minutes).
  • Remove the guanciale with a slotted spoon and reserve (leaving the rendered fat).
  • Add the onions and red pepper flakes to the pan and soften over medium heat until the onions are translucent (10 minutes).
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
  • Add the 1/4 cup basil to the sauce.
  • Salt the boiling water aggressively and add the bucatini.
  • Stir until the boil returns and stir occasionally until two minutes short of package-instructed cooking time for al dente.
  • Transfer the noodles directly to the saucepan (i.e. do not drain in a colander).
  • Raise the heat slightly and coat the noodles repeatedly with sauce, simmer until al dente (two minutes more).
  • Off the heat, add ½ cup of Pecorino and toss.
  • Plate the pasta and give each a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of the remaining cheese, and top with the ribbons of basil.


  • Photo courtesy of Roboppy on Flickr

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @appetitomagazine on Instagram and hashtag it with #italianfoodanddrink

Like this recipe?

Follow @Appetitomagazine on Pinterest

Follow us on Facebook!

Follow us on Facebook

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Appetito

20 Things to Know About Prosecco DOC

National Prosecco Week is coming next week, which makes this a great time to freshen up your knowledge of the popular Italian sparkling wine.

June 19, 2024

Making Olive Oil Cake for Musicians in the Wildnerness

Our contributor takes a gig cooking for musicians while recording upstate, and she shares her experience and recipe for olive oil cake.

June 19, 2024

How To Apply for the S. Pellegrino Young Chefs Academy Competition

Applications close this week for the prestigious culinary competition that has become a springboard for launching chef careers.

June 17, 2024

Exploring the Coastal Charms of Cesenatico in Emilia-Romagna

Our correspondent discovers Cesenatico, a gem on Emilia-Romagna's Adriatic coast that is rich in heritage, charm and cuisine.

June 17, 2024
See all posts