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Bucatini All'Amatriciana (Pancetta & Tomatoes in Thick Noodles)

Bored of your usual weeknight spaghetti? I've found a solution guaranteed to ruin any hope of you making packet/jar spaghetti ever again.  I've discovered two ingredients that have changed my life. (okay, not changed, but certainly made my afternoon perfectly giddie yesterday) - with these ingredients, you can conquer the universe.

Bucatini and Pancetta.... HOLY MOLEY.

First of all, Bucatini pasta is heavenly. If you've never had it, it's not your typical pasta. To me, it looks like really really thick spaghetti, but when you hold it up, you can see a little whole going all the way through the long pasta stem. I have no idea how they do that, but it's wonderfully unique.
Pic Source
I couldn't find it at my local supermarkets - I even tried the fancy-schmacy places where I usually can't afford to even walk in the door. Couldn't find that dang bucatini. So, of course, I asked Facebook land, and my friend reminded me of such a fantastic place: Gloria's Little Italy! There's no way I could forget about their amazing food, but I never really had purchased pasta there (in packaged form, that is). Long story short, the manchild and I took a short pilgrimage, and came back with our spoils. It was about $2.50 for a pound. Not bad. This pasta also fills you up fast, so a pound goes a long way in this recipe.

Secondly, pan-FREAKING-cetta. I can't even get started without saying this: it is beyond amazing.  Bacon lovers: I have found you something that will change the way you feel about bacon. I thought bacon was the ultimate. I stand corrected. Pancetta is like the best bacon you've ever tasted... but a thousand times better. It's nuts, people. The flavors of pancetta are beyond ridiculous, and I seriously did a happy dance in the kitchen when I tasted my first little crunchy bite. It tastes like salty bacon, with rich flavorful pork undertones. How have I not had this stuff before?! Oh, that's right.... it's a whopping $5.59 for 5 thin slices. The splurge was more than worth it.

Not sure what it is? It's pork belly meat that is salt cured, then they season it with nutmeg, fennel, peppercorn, dried hot peppers, and garlic. Then they dry for at least three months - stick it in a moist little package, and sell it at the market.

 So the combination of these two ingredients, plus onions, garlic, tomatoes, fresh Italian parsley and a little oil complete the dish. It was SO easy, and the flavors were unforgettable. The manchild loved it (what other kid is eating pancetta and bucatini on the block, eh? Such a spoiled little guy), and Ryan loved it, too (leftovers for lunch today).

I tried to do a little research on what "all-amatriciana" means. Let's just say, my hard-core Italian mother-in-law was sitting at work with an Italian native, and even they didn't know. So I'm callin' it on Rachael Ray. Google says it's just "pasta with bacon and tomatoes". Fair enough.

Speaking of bacon, apparently you can use it as a substitute for the pancetta (it will come out a bit more smokey flavored). Also, you can use just regular spaghetti instead of bucatini. But after what I just told you about both those original ingredients... how dare you.


Bucatini all-Amatriciana

1 lb bucatini (tube pasta that looks like spaghetti with a hole down the center of it)
1/4 lb, 4 or 5 slices, pancetta,  chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano or Romano. (I used parmesan)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water.

Heat a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and pancetta. Cook pancetta 2 or 3 minutes then add onions and garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook 7 or 8 minutes more, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and parsley. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Simmer sauce over low heat until ready to serve.

Cook bucatini pasta to al dente or, with a bite to it. Drain pasta well. Do not rinse. Starchy pasta holds more sauce. Toss hot pasta with sauce and serve. Pass grated cheese at the table to top pasta.

*recipe adapted from Rachel Day, Classic 30 Minute Meals 

linking up here.  


  1. Visiting from Wednesday Whatsits
    That pasta looks really cool--I'll have to search for it. My son loves pasta and I think he'd get a kick out of bucatini.

  2. I just love everything on your blog! My mouth is seriously watering!

  3. Hey Mandy, your "hard core Italian mother-in-law" just figured it out!! There's a town in Italy in the province of Rieti called Amatrice - that's where the sauce is from. So, in Italian, when you're explaining that something is from a place, the ending will change. Rather than say "from Amatrice"....the say Amatriciana. if someone dresses up in a costume from Rome, they say "alla Romana".... a sauce from Amatrice is "all'Amatriciana." So there you go!!

  4. This spaguetti looks awesome, I will certainly try it... I'm following you now on Pinterest. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. I can't wait to try this - it looks delicious! I'm off to find bucatini in my corner of the world. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Fantastic! Love the post and the recipe. Looks so delicious. Come and visit us. We have great picnic foods this week and on Friday we are giving away flip flops!

  7. I love me some pancetta cooked until it is crunchy on the outside. Yum! This dish looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you next week.


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