The Amatriciana is another classic Roman recipe with too many variations.  It’s very easy to make, yet it’s difficult to find an excellent preparation in most restaurants.  Try my recipe – most of my friends love it.  It’s my youngest daughter’s favorite pasta recipe. As always, the quality of the ingredients is key.  You may need to go to a specialty grocer (such as Whole Foods) in order to find the guanciale or pancetta this recipe calls for.  You also need to get imported Italian Pecorino cheese, preferably in a small block that you can grate yourself.

This recipe relies on you cooking the Bucatini in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time specified on the box.  The reason for this is that you drain the almost-cooked Bucatini, then add it with the other ingredients and cook it on high heat for a couple of more minutes. This allows the flavors from the sauce to absorb into the pasta noodle, creating a more flavorful pasta.

Note: If you cannot find either guanciale or pancetta, you can use thick-cut bacon, but the flavor will not be as good.


  • 1 box of Bucatini style pasta, or spaghetti
  • 6 – 8 TB Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
  • 130 grams, or 4 ounces of “guanciale” or “pancetta, cut in thick slices of about (about ¼ of an inch thick by ¼ inch wide and ¼ long)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes, or 1 – 3 fresh Thai pepper chopped very finely (put as little or as much red pepper as you like)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Put a large pot of water to boil on the stove – it should be boiling by the time you get to step 4 of this recipe.
  2. In an 8-inch iron skillet add the guanciale or pancetta, optional red pepper, and olive oil. Bring the heat to medium high, until the fat starts cooking.
  3. Lower the heat to low/medium low and cook slowly for a total of about 20 minutes. The heat depends on the intensity of your stove –you do not want the melted fat/oil to smoke or the fat to burn.
  4. As the guanciale starts to become crispy, add the wine. Allow it to lt evaporate for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
  5. 2 minutes before the cooking time specified on the box of bucatini or other pasta, it will be cooked but still “al dente.” Remove the pot from the stove and pour the water and pasta into a colander.
  6. Put the pasta into the skillet with the guanciale. Turn the heat to medium high and mix the pasta with the sauce/guanciale for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Transfer in a bowl, add grated Pecorino Romano, mix and serve. If you like black pepper, use a generous portion of black pepper to add additional zest.

Italiano: Bucatini alla Gricia (per 2 persone)

Tipico piatto romano, tanti maniere simili di prepararlo, io suggerisco di fare cosi.


  • 200 g di pasta
  • 130 g di guanciale
  • 2 peperoncini rossi calabresi
  • 1/4 di bicchiere di vino bianco
  • 3 cucchiai di pecorino Romano grattugiato a testa
  • 1 cucchiao di olio d’oliva


  1. Mentre la pasta cuoce (rigatoni, bucatini o spaghetti alla chitarra I miei preferiti), mettete in una padella di ferro il guanciale a cubetti di circa 1 cm, I pepperoncini tritati e 1 cucchiao d’olio. Fuoco medio alto.
  2. L’importante è fare cuocere il guanciale a fuoco vivo senza bruciarlo!!!
  3. Appena il guanciale comincia a essere un po croccante, aggiungete il vino, fate evaporare 1-2 min, e spegnete il fuoco.