spaghetti all’amatriciana

2 to 4    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
20 minutes

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pasta amatriciana

Every household needs a fallback pasta dish and this is ours. Served all over Rome, it’s kind of a carbonara with tomato sauce instead of eggs. There they use fancy guanciale, but here I use good old American bacon and, like everything made with bacon, it is positively addictive. Please don’t cheat and use cheap parmesan; real Parmigiano is essential to the taste. This recipe easily doubles.


2 slices thick (butcher) bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
red pepper flakes
14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
8 ounces spaghetti or linguine or bucatini
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Put a big pot of salted water on to boil. Stack the bacon and cut it in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise, then across the pieces into dice. In a medium frying or saute pan, warm the olive oil and add the onion; cook over medium-high heat until onion softens. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until bacon is cooked through but not crisp; drain off fat if desired. Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes and the tomatoes.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to untangle the noodles, then boil until al dente (8 to 11 minutes). While the pasta is cooking, keep stirring the tomato sauce so that most of the juices evaporate. Keep it cooking right until the pasta is ready, then drain pasta, and put it in the pan with the sauce; with tongs, toss and turn pasta until coated with sauce. Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls. Grate lots of cheese over each portion.