Spaghetti all’amatriciana

Spaghetti all’amatriciana

Simple pasta at its best. Let the ingredients do the talking.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g/5½oz guanciale di Amatrice (cured pork cheek or jowl), cut into half-matchstick pieces (or bacon instead)
  • 500ml/18fl oz tomato passata
  • 350g/12oz best quality thick spaghetti, such as gragnano or bucatini (or regular spaghetti)
  • 100g/3½oz grated pecorino cheese (or Parmesan or any hard cheese), plus extra to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the guanciale and cook until lightly browned. Do not remove the excess fat as this is what makes the sauce so tasty. Add the passata and cook slowly until the sauce has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper (you will probably not need salt because of the guanciale but add plenty of pepper).

  2. Cook the spaghetti for 2 minutes less than packet instructions in a large saucepan of boiling salted water. With a pair of tongs, transfer the pasta to the frying pan, keeping the pasta water in the saucepan. Add two ladles of pasta water to the spaghetti and sauce. Stir with the tongs and cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat. Add the pecorino and toss until just combined. Serve in warmed bowls with a little extra pecorino and black pepper on top.

Recipe Tips

If possible, use bronze die spaghetti as this pasta is the highest quality. It has a rougher outside texture and so holds the sauce better. Regular spaghetti is also fine to use, but make sure it is thick spaghetti, rather than spaghettini.