Rigatoni Amatriciana – Roman Pasta

When it comes to classical pasta recipes, the Romans have it totally covered. They own the ‘cacio e pepe, the ‘carbonara‘, ‘alla gricia‘ (its like a carbonara but without the egg). However, it wasn’t until my trip last year to this spectacular capital city, that I totally fell in love and became obsessed with the ‘‘Amatriciana‘.

A rich tomato based sauce, cooked with guanciale (pig cheek) and wine, served with generous amounts of grated salty pecorino cheese. I think I ate it at least 5 times during my 7 day stay. I mean, when I say I loved it, I loved it.

Below, I am sharing with you my version of this incredibly simple, easy but highly delicious pasta dish. Guanciale is hard to come by in the UK unless your local Italian deli stocks it. So, I suggest using pancetta instead, or even bacon lardons as an alternative. The same goes with the pecorino. It’s not always easy to get hold of. So in that case use grated parmesan instead.

Rigatoni Amatriciana

Rigatoni Amatriciana (4 people)

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 200g pancetta or guanciale, diced
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 1 x 400g peeled plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 75g pecorino romano (or parmesan), grated
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 500g Rigatoni (or fat tube pasta)


  • In a large wide frying pan, DRIZZLE olive oil and ADD the chopped onion. SEASON with salt and cook on a low heat; COOK until the onion has softened. This will take approximately 10 minutes
  • Next, ADD the pancetta/guanciale to the pan. Keep cooking for another 10 minutes until the meat has rendered.
  • POUR in the white wine, turn the heat up to medium and COOK until the alcohol has evaporated.
  • ADD the tomatoes. Using the tomato tin, POUR half a tin of water to the pan. MIX all the ingredients together. SEASON with salt and pepper. COVER the pan with a lid and COOK on a low heat for about 20-30 minutes, making sure the sauce does not dry out. ADD water if necessary. CHECK half way during cooking time and give it a good stir.
  • In the meantime, COOK the rigatoni in salted boiling water. Try and time the cooking of the pasta alongside the cooking of the sauce.
  • When the sauce has finished cooking, ADD half of the pecorino to it and give it a good STIR.
  • ADD the drained pasta to the sauce. MIX and ensure that the pasta is COATED evenly with the amatriciana sauce.
  • SERVE immediately with more grated PECORINO.


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