Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Recipe

Spaghetti all'Amatriciana is a classic Italian dish, with a rich and flavorful sauce made from pancetta, passata, and a touch of heat from red pepper flakes. This traditional recipe is simple to prepare, yet delivers a robust taste that's sure to impress.

Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Recipe
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This recipe calls for passata, which is a uncooked tomato purée that has been strained of seeds and skins. It's commonly used in Italian cuisine and is widely available in supermarkets. If you can’t find passata, a good substitute is canned crushed tomatoes. Pancetta, an Italian type of cured meat, is another key ingredient. It's similar to bacon, but it's cured with salt and spices and not smoked.

Ingredients for Traditional Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Spaghetti: The base of this dish, choose a high-quality pasta for the best result.

Extra-virgin olive oil: Used for sautéing and also tossed in the pasta for additional flavor.

Onion: Adds a sweet and savory depth to the sauce.

Pancetta bacon: Italian cured meat that gives the sauce a robust, savory flavor.

Passata: Uncooked tomato purée that forms the base of the sauce.

Water: Thins the sauce to the perfect consistency.

White sugar: Balances the acidity of the passata.

Parmesan cheese: Adds creaminess and a salty, nutty flavor to the pasta.

Red pepper flakes: Adds a spicy kick to the dish.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper: For seasoning.

One reader, Claudell Serrano says:

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This traditional spaghetti all'amatriciana recipe is a game-changer! The combination of pancetta, passata, and parmesan creates a rich and flavorful sauce that perfectly coats the spaghetti. It's a simple yet incredibly satisfying dish that never fails to impress. Highly recommended for anyone craving a taste of Italy!

Claudell Serrano

Key Techniques for Mastering Traditional Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

How to cook the spaghetti: Boil the spaghetti in lightly salted water for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite.

How to cook the onion: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onion for about 5 minutes until golden brown.

How to cook the pancetta: Add the pancetta to the skillet with the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp.

How to make the sauce: Pour in the passata, water, and sugar. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

How to toss the spaghetti with the sauce: Drain the spaghetti and toss it with the sauce, remaining olive oil, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.

How to season the dish: Season the spaghetti all'amatriciana with salt and pepper to taste.

How To Make Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

Made with ingredients for the classic Roman pasta such as passata, olive oil, and cheese, this Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is all about flavor.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • 1lbspaghetti
  • 3tbspextra-virgin olive oil,divided, or more if needed
  • 1onion,finely chopped
  • 7ozpancetta bacon,diced
  • 2cupspassata,(crushed tomatoes)
  • 1tbspwater,or more as needed
  • ½tspwhite sugar
  • 2tbspparmesan cheese,grated
  • 1pinchred pepper flakes,or to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.

  2. Cook the spaghetti in boiling water, stirring occasionally for about 12 minutes, until tender yet firm to the bite.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the onion for about 5 minutesuntil golden brown.

  4. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp.

  5. Pour in the passata, water, and sugar. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

  6. Drain the spaghetti and toss with the sauce, remaining olive oil, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.

  7. Season with salt and pepper.


  • Calories: 799.93kcal
  • Fat: 33.06g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.13g
  • Trans Fat: 0.07g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 16.63g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.06g
  • Carbohydrates: 100.79g
  • Fiber: 6.80g
  • Sugar: 11.46g
  • Protein: 25.22g
  • Cholesterol: 35.90mg
  • Sodium: 788.99mg
  • Calcium: 115.94mg
  • Potassium: 963.66mg
  • Iron: 4.17mg
  • Vitamin A: 48.01µg
  • Vitamin C: 15.57mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting Your Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

When cooking your spaghetti, it's important to stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking together. Also, adding a bit of oil to the boiling water can help keep the pasta separate. For the pancetta, ensure it's cooked until crisp to bring out its full flavor. This will add a delightful crunch and depth of flavor to your spaghetti all'amatriciana.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

Prep ahead: Chop and measure ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Multitask: While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta to save time.

Use kitchen tools: Utilize tools like a food processor for chopping and grating to speed up prep work.

Organize your workspace: Keep your cooking area tidy and organized to avoid wasting time searching for ingredients and utensils.

Follow the recipe: Stick to the recipe to avoid mistakes that could lead to time-consuming fixes.

Clean as you go: Wash and put away utensils and dishes while cooking to minimize post-meal cleanup.

Substitute Ingredients For Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Recipe

  • spaghetti - Substitute with linguine: Linguine is a great substitute for spaghetti in this recipe as it has a similar texture and shape, allowing it to hold the sauce well.

  • pancetta bacon - Substitute with guanciale: Guanciale is a traditional Italian cured meat made from pork jowl, and it has a rich, slightly sweet flavor that complements the dish just like pancetta.

  • passata - Substitute with canned crushed tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes can be used as a substitute for passata, as they provide a similar smooth texture and rich tomato flavor.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino Romano: Pecorino Romano is a suitable substitute for Parmesan cheese in this recipe, as it has a similar salty and tangy flavor that complements the dish well.

  • red pepper flakes - Substitute with chili powder: Chili powder can be used as a substitute for red pepper flakes to add a spicy kick to the dish, while also providing a slightly different flavor profile.

Presenting Spaghetti All'Amatriciana for Maximum Appeal

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the spaghetti in a nest-like shape on the plate, ensuring it is visually appealing and inviting.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle finely chopped fresh basil or parsley over the spaghetti to add a pop of color and a burst of fresh flavor.

  3. Incorporate a touch of elegance: Place the dish on a sleek, modern plate to enhance the visual appeal and create a sense of sophistication.

  4. Consider the balance of flavors: Ensure the dish is well-balanced by adjusting the seasoning and ensuring the flavors are harmonious.

  5. Focus on precision: Pay attention to the placement of each element on the plate, ensuring it is meticulously presented to showcase the dish's beauty.

Essential Tools for Making Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

  • Pasta pot: A large pot with a strainer insert, specifically designed for boiling and draining pasta.

  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and sautéing ingredients.

  • Wooden spoon: A kitchen utensil used for stirring, mixing, and serving, especially when working with non-stick cookware.

  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen utensil with perforations or holes for draining liquids from food, such as pasta or vegetables.

  • Grater: A kitchen tool with sharp-edged perforations used to shred or grate ingredients like cheese or vegetables.

  • Measuring spoons: A set of spoons used to measure small amounts of ingredients accurately.

  • Chef's knife: A versatile, all-purpose knife used for chopping, slicing, and dicing various ingredients.

  • Cutting board: A durable board used as a surface for cutting and preparing ingredients.

  • Garlic press: A kitchen tool designed to crush and mince garlic cloves efficiently.

  • Parmesan grater: A specialized grater used specifically for grating hard cheeses like Parmesan.

  • Tongs: A kitchen utensil with two arms and a pivot used for gripping and lifting items, such as pasta or bacon.

  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a long handle and a lid, used for making sauces or heating liquids.

Storing and Freezing Spaghetti All'Amatriciana for Later

  • Allow the spaghetti all'amatriciana to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled pasta in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • When ready to reheat, place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish and heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. You can also reheat the pasta in a skillet over medium heat, adding a splash of water or olive oil if needed to prevent sticking.
  • To freeze the spaghetti all'amatriciana, follow these steps:
    1. Transfer the cooled pasta to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag.
    2. If using a container, make sure to leave some space at the top for expansion during freezing.
    3. If using a plastic bag, remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
    4. Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.
    5. Place the container or bag in the freezer, where it will keep for up to 2-3 months.
  • To reheat frozen spaghetti all'amatriciana, you can either:
    • Thaw the pasta overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
    • Place the frozen pasta directly in a microwave-safe dish and heat it on high power, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through. This may take a bit longer than reheating refrigerated pasta.
  • Note: The texture of the pasta may change slightly after freezing and reheating, but the flavor of the dish should remain delicious.

How To Reheat Leftover Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover spaghetti all'amatriciana to an oven-safe dish, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. This method helps maintain the texture of the pasta and prevents it from drying out.

  • For a quicker option, use the microwave. Place the leftover spaghetti in a microwave-safe dish and add a splash of water or pasta sauce to keep it moist. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving a small vent for steam to escape. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the pasta is heated through.

  • If you have a steamer basket, you can use it to reheat your spaghetti all'amatriciana. Bring a pot of water to a boil, place the leftover pasta in the steamer basket, and steam for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. This method helps maintain the texture and moisture of the pasta.

  • For a stovetop method, place the leftover spaghetti in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or pasta sauce to the pan and gently toss the pasta until it's heated through, about 3-5 minutes. This method allows you to quickly reheat the pasta and add extra flavor if desired.

  • If you want to add a crispy texture to your reheated spaghetti all'amatriciana, try the oven-broiler method. Preheat your broiler, spread the leftover pasta on a baking sheet, and sprinkle some extra parmesan cheese on top. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the pasta is heated through. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.

Interesting Trivia About Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

Spaghetti all'amatriciana is a traditional Italian pasta dish that originated in the town of Amatrice. It is a classic Roman dish and is known for its simple yet flavorful combination of pancetta, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese.

Is Making Spaghetti All'Amatriciana at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this spaghetti all'amatriciana recipe largely depends on the availability and cost of ingredients. Pancetta and parmesan cheese can be pricey, impacting the overall cost. However, the dish's simplicity and use of basic pantry staples like spaghetti and onion can make it relatively affordable. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20. Considering the balance of flavors and the satisfaction it brings, this recipe earns a solid 8 out of 10 for its taste, ease of preparation, and overall value.

Is Traditional Spaghetti All'Amatriciana Healthy or Unhealthy?

The traditional spaghetti all'amatriciana recipe, while delicious, is not particularly healthy. Here's why:

  • The recipe uses a significant amount of pancetta bacon, which is high in saturated fat and sodium. Consuming too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease and other health issues.
  • The dish also includes parmesan cheese, which adds additional saturated fat and sodium to the meal.
  • The recipe calls for a small amount of sugar, which is not necessary for a savory dish and adds extra calories.
  • The spaghetti itself is a refined carbohydrate, which can cause blood sugar spikes and provide fewer nutrients compared to whole grain alternatives.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace the pancetta with a leaner protein source, such as chicken or shrimp. This will reduce the amount of saturated fat in the dish while still providing protein.
  • Use a smaller amount of parmesan cheese or opt for a low-fat version to reduce the saturated fat content further.
  • Omit the sugar from the recipe, as the natural sweetness from the passata should be sufficient.
  • Swap the regular spaghetti for a whole grain or legume-based alternative, such as whole wheat spaghetti or chickpea pasta. These options provide more fiber, protein, and nutrients compared to refined pasta.
  • Increase the amount of onion used in the recipe, as onions are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Add more vegetables to the dish, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach, to boost the nutrient content and fiber.

Editor's Take on This Classic Italian Pasta Dish

The traditional spaghetti all'amatriciana recipe is a classic Italian dish that combines the rich flavors of pancetta, passata, and parmesan cheese. The use of pancetta adds a savory depth to the dish, while the passata brings a bright and tangy tomato flavor. The addition of red pepper flakes provides a subtle heat, balancing the richness of the sauce. Overall, this recipe is a delightful representation of Italian cuisine, offering a perfect balance of flavors and textures. It's a timeless favorite that is sure to impress any pasta lover. Buon appetito!

Enhance Your Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Create a delicious garlic bread by toasting slices of baguette with a garlic and herb butter spread.
Caesar Salad: Whip up a classic Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce, homemade croutons, and a creamy Caesar dressing.
Bruschetta: Serve a fresh and flavorful bruschetta with diced tomatoes, basil, and balsamic glaze on top of toasted baguette slices.

Similar Dishes to Try If You Love Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

Creamy Chicken Alfredo: A creamy and indulgent pasta dish that combines tender chicken with a rich and velvety Alfredo sauce, perfect for a comforting meal.
Mango Salsa Chicken: A vibrant and flavorful dish that features juicy mango salsa served over tender grilled chicken, creating a perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: A nutritious and colorful salad that combines hearty roasted vegetables with fluffy quinoa, tossed in a zesty vinaigrette for a refreshing and satisfying meal.
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake: A luscious and tangy dessert that pairs the bright flavors of lemon with the sweetness of blueberries, all nestled in a creamy and decadent cheesecake filling.

Appetizers and Desserts That Complement Spaghetti All'Amatriciana

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of cheese, herbs, and breadcrumbs. The earthy flavor of the mushrooms pairs perfectly with the rich and creamy filling, making it a delightful start to any meal.
Bruschetta: Elevate the classic bruschetta by topping crispy slices of toasted bread with a vibrant mixture of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and tangy balsamic glaze. The combination of flavors and textures creates a refreshing and satisfying appetizer that is sure to impress your guests.
Tiramisu: Layered with creamy mascarpone and coffee-soaked ladyfingers, this classic Italian dessert is a perfect balance of rich and light flavors. Topped with a dusting of cocoa powder, it's a decadent treat for any occasion.
Panna Cotta: This silky, smooth dessert is a delightful combination of sweetened cream and gelatin, creating a delicate and creamy texture. Served with a vibrant fruit compote, it's a refreshing and elegant way to end any meal.

Why trust this Traditional Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Recipe:

This traditional spaghetti all'amatriciana recipe is a classic Italian dish that has been passed down through generations. The use of pancetta bacon adds a rich and savory flavor, while the passata brings a burst of freshness to the dish. The combination of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes creates a perfect balance of creaminess and heat. With the careful selection of ingredients such as extra-virgin olive oil and the precise cooking instructions, this recipe ensures an authentic and delicious dining experience. Trust in the time-honored techniques and quality ingredients to bring the flavors of Italy to your table.

Want to share your own spin on this classic Italian dish or discuss tips for perfecting Traditional Spaghetti all'Amatriciana? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum and let's talk about your experiences with this flavorful pasta recipe.
What is passata and where can I find it?
Passata is a type of tomato puree that is made from strained and sieved tomatoes. You can find it in the canned tomato section of most grocery stores or in the Italian foods section.
Can I substitute pancetta with another type of meat?
Yes, if you can't find pancetta, you can substitute it with bacon or guanciale. However, keep in mind that the flavor may vary slightly depending on the substitution.
Is there a vegetarian alternative to pancetta for this recipe?
Absolutely! You can use vegetarian bacon or even smoked tofu as a substitute for pancetta to achieve a similar smoky flavor.
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you're ready to serve, simply reheat the sauce and toss it with freshly cooked spaghetti.
How spicy is the dish with the red pepper flakes?
The red pepper flakes add a subtle kick to the dish, but you can adjust the amount to suit your preference. If you prefer a milder flavor, simply reduce the amount of red pepper flakes or omit them altogether.

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