Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Monday 9 August 2021

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
I am sure loving being able to feed my pasta loving heart to it's content. Not having anyone to please other than myself, I can cook pasta every night of the week if I want to, not that I would . . .  variety is the spice of life!

Another ingredient I really love is tomatoes. I could eat them right out of the can and have sometimes feasted on a dish of cold chopped tomatoes and a slice of buttered bread. That is heaven to me.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
 Today I cooked myself a little pasta dish for two from a cookery book I have entitled, Clodagh's Kitchen Diaries by Clodagh McKenna. She is an Irish writer. You might say she is the Martha Stewart of Ireland.

This is one of the few books I was able to bring over with me from the UK. It is written on a monthly theme and is filled with lovely recipes that are quite simply delicious.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
The true simplicity of this one really caught my eye.  First of all it contains very few ingredients, bonus!

Second two of the major ingredients are tomatoes and pasta, double bonus! Oh, and there is bacon in there as well.  TRIPLE BONUS!

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
Bucatini All'Amatriciana is a wonderful testimony to the Italian capacity to be able to cook something delicious from very few and simple ingredients.  Making the most of what they have been given in every way.

Simply delicious, Bucatini All'Amatriciana derives its name from the small town of Amatrice which is found about an hour northeast of Rome, Italy.  Visiting Italy was always on my bucket list of things to do that never got done while I was close enough to do them, so will remain a dream now.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
I had always wanted to go but my husband didn't want to go because he said he didn't like Italian Food. He hated pizza and pasta and could not be convinced that they eat a lot more than just those things in Italy. His loss I guess.

Unfortunately mine too, but thank goodness I am a fairly competent cook, so whilst I may not actually be able to feast my eyes upon the physical beauty of Italy, I can at least enjoy some of her tastes!

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
Bucatini is one of the pasta's that I love. It is long like Spaghetti, but is a bit thicker and has a hollow center, much like macaroni does! 

It is a pasta that I love to use, and works beautifully with a sauce like this. It has the capacity to hug the sauce  and that is what you want in a pasta, and why certain pasta shapes are particular to certain sauces!

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
Traditionally this sauce will be made with Guanciali or Pancetta. Guanciali (pronounced Gwan-cha-lay) is an Italian type of cured meat made from the cheeks or jowls of the pig.

It has a much richer and sweeter flavor than pancetta or bacon.  Those both come from the belly of the pig.  The cheek or jowls of the pig have more intramuscular fat which has more flavor and tenderness.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
Having said that, I could find neither one when I was at the shops the other day and so today have had to make do with bacon, which worked fine.  At least taste-wise anyways! Italians might shake their heads at me in disgust! 

I just happened to have some really thick (and I mean thick) streaky bacon in the freezer. Did you know that one easy way to freeze your bacon it to take it out of the package and roll each slice into a roll. Place onto a baking sheet and freeze and then pop into an airtight container.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
It is really easy to then take out just as much as you require when you need it. Its also very easy to chop from frozen.   In fact frozen bacon chops a whole lot easier than thawed bacon.

I know its a bit of a cheat using bacon, but one has to do what one has to do.  I have not found pancetta in the shops here yet, but live in hope.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
You will want to use really good tomatoes for the sauce also. I used to use Cirio tomatoes when I was in the UK.  They were the best,

Here I am not sure what is the best.  There have really only been two types/brands available in the shop other than the store brand or no name brand.  

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
Trust me when I tell you that when it comes to tomatoes and cooking, you want to always use the very best ones that you can afford to buy.  It really does matter.

And it really does show when it comes down to flavor.  The flavor of good tinned tomatoes speaks for itself.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
I have also been unable to find really good Parmesan or Pecorino cheese that hasn't already been grated.  (Yes, it is a really small place.)  What I wouldn't give for a nice big hunk of whole Parmesan.

Maybe I just don't know where to look.  I've been shopping at the Independent  or Foodland in town for the most part, or the Super Store every now and then.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 

I haven't really been to Sobey's. Perhaps they have more to choose from. I think I am going to check them out next time and see.

In any case, this turned out really well and tastes delicious. That's what truly counts.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana 
The Bucatini I bought online via Amazon. You can get a lot in the way of food stuffs via Amazon. I was really spoilt in the UK, most things arrived pretty much overnight if you had Prime delivery.

Here it is usually a week or so, depending. Mind you Covid has a lot to do with that I have heard. 

Food deliveries from shopping online from all sorts of suppliers worked well in the UK, but it is a really small country. I could get frozen fish/meats, poultry, cheeses, etc. all within a few days and in impeccable condition.  Just one of the things I shall miss.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

One thing I didn't have over there however was family, and being here where my family lives, being close enough to be able to spend time with some of them, more than makes up for me not having certain ingredients, etc. A competent cook can always improvise and I do!

I consider myself pretty lucky in that I was able to live over there in the U.K. and have my palate stretched and now I am able to be here with my loved ones and share some of that stretched palate with them as best as I can.

Its a win/win situation really.  Anyways, do make this pasta dish. Its spicy with chili, but not something that you can't control.  Its truly delicious! Trust me on this!

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
Cook time: 20 MinTotal time: 20 Min
A delicious example of what can be done with a few simple ingredients. How spicy you make it is up to you. I find 1/2 tsp of the chili flakes to be more than ample, but I am a bit of a wimp.


  • 2 slices of thick streaky bacon, chopped (Pancetta and guanciale are more traditional)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 (14 ounce/400g) tin of whole unpeeled tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 6 ounces (150g) bucatini or other long pasta
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces (50g) pecorino cheese, grated, plus extra to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil.
  2. Sauté the chopped bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, until crisp and golden brown. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Leave the fat in the pan. Add the onions to the pan and sauté over low heat until softened without browning, 2 to 3 minutes.  
  3. Add a generous amount of black pepper and the chili flakes.  Cook for about 20 minutes until fragrant, then add the undrained tomatoes and the sugar.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. The sauce should be starting to thicken at the end of that time.
  4. Drop your bucatini into the boiling salted water and cook just to al dente, according to the package directions.  Drain well, reserving about 1/2 cup (120ml) of the cooking water.
  5. Add the bacon, pasta  and reserved cooking water to the tomatoes.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required with some salt. Simmer gently, stirring continuously, for a minute or two until the sauce starts to coat the pasta slightly.
  6. Stir in the olive oil and cheese.  Stir well to combine.  Serve with extra cheese on the side and plenty of crusty bread!
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #TheEnglishKitchen
Bucatini All'Amatriciana
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com 


  1. This looks delicious, Marie. Sometimes I crave pasta with just butter and lemon juice and maybe garlic, salt and pepper and parmesan cheese. I'm going to try this soon. Have a lovely week. Love and hugs, Elaine

  2. I haven't found buccatini here but Sobeys deli section has the pancetta and the parm-rom blocks.

  3. I love the simplicity of this dish and you are quite right in that the Italians have perfected the art combining a few quality ingredients and producing something extra special.

    Fortunately I can get Barilla brand bucatini here which is very good quality. I was a bit surprised as this is a small town, but the main supermarket seems to be quite well stocked with interesting ingredients. They also have pancetta and blocks of parmesan cheese, but as you say, at a pinch, bacon will do just as well.

    I shall try this one soon, with that addition of chilli as we like ours with a bit of heat.

  4. I love buccatini and allamatriciana is one of our favorites here. Rick started making it a long time ago and it's great. I'll share your recipe --I'm not sure if they are the same or not!

  5. This looks delicious! I love pasta so so much -and now I've learned about buccatini - new to me!
    Simple is often the very best. I am still thinking of that sweet vanilla cake from the other day. So good, I'm sure.

  6. hello Marie, I wanted to write and say how much I enjoy receiving your recipes everyday. There are just the two of us seniors and your recipes are perfect for cooking for us two. The recipes are simple to make and yet so flavourful. And, I love the anecdotes you add to all of your recipes. It's like reading a chapter in a novel everyday.
    I also enjoyed touring your lovely home in photos recently, you have done a lovely job of decorating.
    Keep the recipes coming as I look forward to receiving your emails everyday.
    AA from Toronto


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy!

Did you make the recipe as directed? Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.

Is this comment helpful to other readers? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Remember that this website is run by a real person.

Are you here to complain about ads? Please keep in mind that I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising helps to defray my cost of doing so, and allows me to continue to post regular fresh content.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I appreciate you!