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Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

Total Time

Prep: 15 min. Cook: 1 hour


6 servings

Updated: Apr. 24, 2022
Spaghetti All'Amatriciana is a traditional Italian dish that reminds me of my roots. This amatriciana sauce recipe features guanciale (dried pork cheek). Guanciale can be hard to find, but pancetta or thick-cut bacon are good substitutes. —Lou Sansevero, Ferron, Utah
Spaghetti All'Amatriciana Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 12 ounces guanciale or pancetta, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 fresh sage sprig
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked spaghetti
  • Optional: grated Pecorino Romano cheese and fresh basil


  1. In a large skillet, cook guanciale over medium heat until crisp, stirring occasionally, 5-8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels. Add carrots, onion and butter to pan drippings; cook until vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add half the garlic, rosemary and sage sprigs; cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in wine; cook until reduced, 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer partially covered until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally, 30-40 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard rosemary and sage sprigs; cool sauce slightly. In batches, add sauce to blender. Cover and process until desired consistency. Return sauce to pan. Stir in half of reserved guanciale, remaining garlic, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and red pepper flakes. Set aside; keep warm.
  4. In a large saucepan cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Add drained spaghetti to pan with sauce; toss to combine. Add enough reserved pasta water for sauce to reach desired consistency. Garnish with remaining guanciale. If desired, sprinkle with cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Amatriciana Sauce Tips

What are the best tomatoes to use in Amatriciana sauce?

San Marzano tomatoes are hands-down the best canned tomatoes you can use in a sauce like this (or any other homemade pasta sauce, for that matter). Check the label on your tomatoes to make sure they're imported from Italy—the real deal.

What are the best pasta shapes for an Amatriciana sauce recipe?

Bucatini is a great option, with a thick, hollow noodle. It can be a little trickier to find, though, so spaghetti, linguini or even rigatoni work wonders, too. You can learn more about pasta shapes here.

What can I use instead of guanciale or pancetta in this Amatriciana sauce recipe?

Try a thick-cut bacon in its place. Bacon uses the same cut of meat (pork belly) as pancetta, but is cured and smoked while pancetta is cured and?not?smoked.?Here’s a primer on bacon types used around the world.

Research contributed by Elizabeth Harris

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 623 calories, 28g fat (9g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 1694mg sodium, 68g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 6g fiber), 22g protein.

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