A twist on the classic Amatriciana, this Rigatoni Amatriciana recipe is quick, simple, and will feed a crowd!
If you're looking for a new pasta sauce recipe, you must try this Rigatoni Amatriciana! This pasta is made with a handful of ingredients but it's bursting with flavour!
And this recipe is quick too! This pasta Amatriciana takes just under 30 minutes from start to finish, making it a perfect weeknight dinner and a simple Sunday lunch ideal for feeding a crowd.
Dive into this Rigatoni Amatriciana, a delightful variant of the traditional pasta dish originating from the charming town of Amatrice. The bold and robust flavors of this pasta promise an authentic Italian dining experience right at your dinner table.
Why You'll Love This Pasta
- Al Dente Delight: Rigatoni, perfectly cooked in a large pot of salted water, offers that much-desired bite, marrying well with the sauce.
- Deeply Flavorful: The sauce's porky flavor from guanciale, combined with chilli or red pepper flakes, provides a unique taste profile.
- Tomato Richness: The San Marzano tomatoes ensure a rich flavor in the tomato-based sauce. If unavailable, tomato passata or crushed tomatoes can be used.
- Quick and Easy: Ready in just under 30 minutes, it's the perfect pick for both hectic weeknights and leisurely Sunday lunches.
What is Amatriciana?
Amatriciana sauce is a traditional Italian pasta sauce originating from Amatrice. The classic sauce recipe is based on 3 main ingredients: guanciale, pecorino cheese, and tomatoes.
Amatriciana is traditionally served with bucatini pasta, which is a spaghetti-like type of pasta with a hole running through the center that picks the sauce beautifully.
This slight twist on the classic Amatriciana is made with (optional) onions, chilli, and served with rigatoni pasta.
What is Guanciale?
Guanciale is a type of cured meat made from pork jowl/ cheeks. It is very fatty, rich and flavorful, and is typically seasoned with salt, and other herbs.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Pasta - This recipe calls for rigatoni dry pasta, but you can use any type of pasta that is available. Amatriciana also goes well with bucatini, spaghetti, penne rigate, and ziti.
Guanciale - The classic Amatriciana recipe is made using guanciale (cured pork cheek meat). If this is not accessible or available, pancetta is good alternative.
Onion - You will need one small onion (or half a large onion). The classic Amatriciana recipe does not call for onions, so this is an optional additional ingredient which can be left out.
Chilli - Use thinly sliced chilli or red pepper flakes for added flavour. Optional.
Dry White Wine - Used to deglaze the pan and for extra flavor.
Tomatoes - You'll need one can of crushed tomatoes or whole (peeled) San Marzano tomatoes.
Pecorino Cheese - Although the traditional recipe calls for pecorino cheese (ideally Pecorino Amatrice or Pecorino Romano cheese), you can substitute with equal amounts of freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Asiago cheese.
Olive Oil - For coating the pasta before serving.
How to Make Rigatoni Amatriciana
Cook the Pasta
Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Before draining, reserve ¼ cup of pasta water. Whilst the pasta is cooking, prepare the Amatriciana sauce.
Make the Sauce
To make the sauce, start by slicing the guanciale into 1cm (½") thick strips. Heat a large deep skillet on medium heat and add the guanciale.
Note: there is no need to add oil as the guanciale itself is very fatty and will release fat/oil whilst cooking.
Brown the guanciale (5-7 minutes), stirring frequently. Once browned, remove from heat and set aside, but do not remove any oil released from the skillet.
Add diced onion and chilli to skillet with guanciale oil/fat and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then, add white wine and deglaze the pan. Once wine is dissolved, add canned tomatoes and guanciale back to the pan.
Simmer the sauce on low heat for 10 minutes. If the sauce starts to dry out, add some reserved pasta water.
Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat well with sauce. Turn off the heat and add olive oil, stirring well to coat the pasta.
Divide the pasta between 4 serving plates.
Sprinkle with freshly-grated pecorino cheese and freshly-ground black pepper, and serve!
Tips for the Best Pasta Amatriciana
- Cooking the sauce over high heat can cause it to thin out. Simmer on low to medium to let the flavors meld perfectly.
- Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan ensuring all the flavorful bits are incorporated.
- While alternatives like pancetta exist, guanciale provides an irreplaceable depth of flavor. It’s the key ingredient that sets this pasta apart.
Making Ahead and Storing
Amatriciana sauce can be made in advance (without adding the cheese) and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Before serving, reheat the sauce in a skillet or microwave.
You may need to add some water if the sauce is too thick.
Yes! Amatriciana sauce goes well with bucatini, spaghetti, penne rigate, and ziti, but you can use any type of dry pasta that is available - it's all about the sauce!
Although the traditional Amatriciana recipe calls specifically for guanciale (cured pork cheek/jowl), this is not always accessible.
The best alternative for guanciale is pancetta. If pancetta is not available, bacon works well too!
Other Quick Pasta Recipes
- 360 g rigatoni or other dry pasta of choice
- 150 g guanciale cut into strips (use pancetta if not available)
- 1 small onion diced, leave out for traditional method
- ⅛ tsp. finely chopped chilli optional
- 50 ml dry white wine
- 400 g chopped tomatoes 1 can
- 60 mL pasta water (¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 100 g pecorino cheese freshly grated + extra as desired
- Cook pasta according to package instructions (1 minute less for al-dente). Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water before draining.
- Slice guanciale into ¼" thick strips. Heat a large skillet on medium heat (do not add oil) and add guanciale. Cook, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes, or until browned. Guanciale will become transparent and release fat during cooking.
- Once browned, set guanciale aside, leaving released fat/oil in skillet.
- Add diced onion (if using) and chilli to skillet with guanciale fat and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then, add white wine and deglaze the pan.
- Once wine is dissolved, add canned tomatoes and guanciale back to pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. While cooking, add ¼ cup pasta water.
- Add cooked rigatoni to skillet with sauce and coat well. Turn off heat and add olive oil. Toss to coat pasta.
- Divide between 4 serving plates, top with grated pecorino cheese and serve!