Traditional Italian Pasta Sauce – All’amatriciana

by Pamela

Traditional Italian Pasta Sauce - All'amatriciana

This pasta sauce, while slightly difficult to pronounce, is not at all difficult to fall in love with. It’s rich tomatoe-y goodness coupled with a good dose of pork yumminess, onion, and a tingle of heat only needs a great bottle of red wine to complete its perfection.

While we were in Rome, a few years ago, we ate lots of pasta dishes. I mean LOTS of pasta dishes. But our favorite was bucatini All’amatriciana.

Traditional Pasta Sauce All'amatriciana

All’amatriciana pasta sauce originated in the town of Amatrice and was a dish comprised of commonly found ingredients: guanciale (pork cheek), tomatoes, and Pecorino cheese. Since guanciale isn’t quite as easy to find here, bacon or pancetta are generally used in this pasta sauce.

This is one of those easy to make pasta dishes that everyone will love, including the person who makes it because it’s so simple. It only takes two pans¬† – a pot for the bucatini (but you could also use penne) and a pan for the pasta sauce. Once the pasta is cooked, it gets tossed into the sauce pan, mixed and served. (You gotta love a recipe that doesn’t dirty a zillion dishes.)

Traditional Pasta Dishes All'amatriciana

I partnered up with Wente wines to help bring this dish to life. What would Italian food be without a glass of wine to go with it? I matched the Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon with this rich pasta sauce because the wine is full bodied and can stand up to rich pasta dishes like this one.

The perfect wine pairing for Bucatini All'amatriciana

I’ve been a fan of Wente wines for years, after having visited their winery back in the mid-nineties. Their wines pair so well with food. (It’s one of the reasons why they opened a restaurant at the winery.) They even partnered up with America’s Test kitchen to create recipes that were specifically prepared to go with their wines. If you want to see these recipes you can visit the Wente wines website.

When you’re looking for pasta dishes for an easy weeknight dinner, or maybe for that special occasion, remember the All’amatriciana pasta sauce. It’ll make for an unforgettable dinner.

Traditional Italian Pasta Sauce - All'amatriciana
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The Italian pasta sauce all'amatriciana is one of those pasta dishes you'll get asked to make again and again. Since it's easy to make you won't mind.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Ounces Pancetta (chopped)
  • 1 Medium Onion (diced)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 28 Ounces Pureed Tomatoes
  • 1 Pound Bucatini Pasta (or you could use penne)
  • Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • Fresh Parsley (chopped)
  1. Add olive oil to large pan and heat over medium high heat. Once hot, add Pancetta to pan.
  2. Cook pancetta just until it browns slightly then pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat.
  3. Return the pan to the cook top, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Cook, and occasionally stir, until onions are translucent, and add a pinch of kosher salt.
  5. Turn the water on to bring it to a boil for the pasta. Add the pasta when the water begins to boil and cook for 1 minute less than the package directions say, reserve some of the pasta water (in case you need to thin the sauce), then drain the pasta.
  6. Add red wine vinegar to the pan and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the vinegar has cooked away then add the tomato paste.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it has turned from red to brown (stir occasionally to keep it from burning).
  8. Pour in the pureed tomatoes and give everything a good stir and gently scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up any browned bits.
  9. Cook the pasta sauce until it has thickened to where you can drag a spoon through it and the line stays for several seconds.
  10. Stir the cooked pasta into the pasta sauce.
  11. Serve topped with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley.
If you don't have pureed tomatoes on hand you can simply puree your diced or whole canned tomatoes in your food processor until they are well pureed.


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Sippitysup February 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Yes. This classic is so simple to prepare and so difficult to forget. GREG

Pamela February 16, 2015 at 1:40 pm

That it is Greg!

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef February 14, 2015 at 8:42 pm

I love a sauce that sticks to the pasta! Yum

Pamela February 15, 2015 at 6:56 am

Maureen, it especially helps that the pasta doesn’t get rinsed. And this sauce definitely sticks!

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