Looking at the picture, you might be confused and think, “This looks like just another pasta with red sauce.” If you did, you’d be partially right.  The dish is just as simple when it comes to ingredients, and it takes about the same amount of time.  But, there are a few things here that separate it from the pack:

1. The pancetta. This was the first dish that I ever cooked with pancetta, and I have to say I was skeptical.  Post-dinner, I can tell you that the pancetta makes a huge difference in the dish.  Instead of being just ordinary pasta, the pancetta turns this recipe into one of my go-to “nice meals” to cook at home.

2. The bucatini.  Before cooking this, I had never heard of this pasta type.  It’s essentially a mix between spaghetti and penne, and the end product reminds me a bit of a twizzler.  I bought mine at Eastern Market, where this great stand sells tons of fresh pasta in all shapes and sizes. If you’re in DC, I definitely suggest stopping by (but try not to get distracted by all the other stands, otherwise you’ll stay far longer than you planned).

Bucatini recipe

Bucatini all’Amatriciana Recipe


  • 3 oz. pancetta, sliced and cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound fresh bucatini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Pecorino romano for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add sliced pancetta. Cook until browned and then remove from the pan.
  2. With pan still over medium heat, add onions and garlic and saute until translucent.
  3. Pour tomatoes into the skillet.  Bring them to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes (the longer the better with sauces). During the last 5 minutes, add pancetta back to the sauce mixture and stir to mix the flavors.
  4. Bring water to a boil.  Cook fresh pasta for 2 minutes (or follow package directions if they are different).  Drain in a colander.
  5.  Once sauce is finished, add pasta into the pan and cook for 1 minute, or until the pasta is fully coated with sauce.
  6. Serve on two plates and top with freshly grated pecorino cheese.

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