In the Style of Amatrice

This is an adaptation of a recipe for bucatini alla matriciana (or all’amatriciana), that is as it is prepared in Amatrice, a small village in the province of Rieti. Originally a dish from the Abruzzi region, it’s one of the most important dishes of Roman cuisine and is quite well-known among Italian gastronomic specialties in general.

Spaghetti alla amatriciana

cooked whole wheat spaghetti
bacon (1)
onion, chopped
chopped tomatoes (2)
red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
Italian parsley
grated cheese

Cook bacon over medium-high heat until cooked through. Remove from pan and reserve drippings.

Saute onion in bacon drippings until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally or until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Return bacon to pan and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute. Check seasoning.

Drain pasta, add directly to saute pan and toss. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley and grated cheese, and serve immediately.


1. I used bacon from Flying Pigs Farm, but you can substitute store-bought bacon. Since FPF produces uncured/non-preserved bacon, I’ve increased the salt accordingly. In Italy, the cured meat used for this dish is pork cheek (guanciale) rather than pancetta or prosciutto.

2. Pomi vacuum packed tomatoes are de rigueur in Spamwise’s kitchen once winter hits. Otherwise, use fresh ripe tomatoes if you can. If you prefer your sauce smoother, pass the tomatoes through a food mill before adding them to the saute pan.

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anna brones

writer + artist + activist

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