Bucatini with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Bucatini all’Amatriciana


This is a classic Roman dish. If you order it in a restaurant in Rome you may find that when the waiter brings the dish to your table he covers it with a plate and goes away. You will wonder what has gotten into him since covering a dish of pasta is probably the worst thing you can do to it. Actually he knows exactly what he’s doing: trapping the steam from the hot pasta infuses it with the spiciness of the hot red pepper.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 45 minutes


  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon or more crushed red pepper
  • 4 ounces pancetta, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 pound. bucatini
  • ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
  • 2 Tbs. pecorino romano, freshly grated


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it with 3 tablespoons of the butter and the crushed red pepper in a 4-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion has turned a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the onion is Sautéing unravel the pancetta and cut it into narrow strips. When the onion is done, add the pancetta and cook until the it is lightly browned but not crisp, 2 to 3 minutes
  3. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Season with salt and, once the tomatoes have started bubbling, lower the heat to medium. Cook until the tomatoes are no longer watery, about 30 minutes.
  4. Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6 quarts of water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. When the sauce is done, add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the bucatini, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente, then drain well and toss the pasta with the sauce in a serving bowl. Add the remaining tablespoon butter and the two cheeses and stir vigorously until creamy. Cover the bowl and wait one minute before serving.

Also good with: