Pasta with American Amatriciana Sauce

Once you master a good tomato sauce, the next step is to do like they do in Rome – add some pork for extra flavor.  The traditional way in Rome is to add guanciale or pork cheek, but at home, I simply replace that with bacon.  Some Romans swear you must add lots of onions, but I prefer to create it without them when making a quick version at home.  They also typically serve it with grated Pecorino Romano, but I also like it with grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano. 

Servings: 6



  1. Heat 6 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot to cook the pasta.
  2. In a wide skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  After about 1 minute, add the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the bacon and stir for approximately 4-5 minutes, until it’s sizzling.
  4. Add the San Marzano tomatoes. With a potato masher or wooden spoon, gently crush the tomatoes in the skillet while gently stirring the sauce.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  (You can also turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for a little less time.)
  5. When the tomatoes have been added to the skillet and the sauce is simmering, start cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is al dente, remove from the pot with tongs and drop it into the simmering sauce.  Toss together continuously, over moderate heat, for another 1-2 minutes until the pasta is coated with the sauce.  You can add some of the pasta cooking water if you need to thin the sauce.
  6. Turn off the heat and toss in the grated cheese.  Add a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and serve.