Rigatoni all'Amatriciana recipe photo. fresh pasta in southern italian tomato sauce

Rigatoni all'Amatriciana

L’Amatriciana a spicy, rich and easy tomato based sauce from the town of Amatrice in northern Lazio. This region is sometimes best remembered for a devastating earthquake that hit in 2016.

Black Pepper and Chilies plus guanciale (cured pork jowl) make this sauce a every night classic. Guanciale is hard to find in the USA so we love to ask our pork farmers or butcher for the fatty end cuts of their bacon for a similar substitution. Pancetta or simply fatty bacon can be used instead.

Traditionally this recipe is made with dried red chili flakes but we found on our last visit, a lot of homes in Lazio used fresh chilies preserved in oil. In our house we always have a plethora of chilies preserved in oil, as this is our preferred storage method for our farm chilies. Either works great.

We like a spicy "l’amatriciana so please note that our recipe is going to be on the spicy side, feel free to cut down on the chili and black pepper amount.

Pasta wise, bucatini is king. BUT we love rigatoni, spaghettini, mafaldine, lumache and gnocchetti sardi just as much with this dish.

Rigatoni all'Amatriciana Recipe


  • 6 oz Pasta of Choice (bucatini, rigatoni ect).
  • 3 cloves, Garlic
  • 1 small Yellow Onion (or 1/2 a medium)
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
  • 5 small Red Chilies (we love Calabrian style chilies preserved oil) (sub 3 tsp red chili flakes)
  • 2 oz Guanciale, Fatty Bacon or Pancetta
  • 4 oz Tomatoes, smashed if whole
  • kosher salt
  • Pecorino Romano


  • Fill a large pot with water and add enough salt to season your pasta water. Bring to a boil.
  • Finely chop the garlic, chilies and onions keeping them separate. Finely chop the guanciale or bacon.
  • In a large sauté pan over medium low heat add the guanciale and cook until lightly rendered and golden, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute until soft.
  • Add chilies and black pepper, stir until incorporated.
  • Add your tomatoes, squeezing in your hands to ensure small pieces. Cook together until the sauce thickens into a paste, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Cook your pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water!
  • Add the pasta and water to the sauce and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta well. Taste & season with salt as necessary
  • Top with pecorino Romano cheese and Buon Appetito!
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