Friday, May 6, 2011

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Source: Kevandy on flickr creative commons
Bucatini is one of those things that remind me of my honeymoon. On our last day in Rome, when we'd walked and walked for three days, until our feet were little worlds of pain, we sat down at a funny little fast food pasta shop right by Termini, the central train station, and just ate lunch while we waited for our train to the coast. I didn't know it then, but our bucatini was served with a traditional tomato sauce, with bacon, known as Bucatini All'Amatriciana, which is native to Amatrice near Rome, and to Rome itself. A quintessential Roman dish, if you like. What a brilliant choice!

So, when we were wandering around the Cheese Festival on the weekend, and I spotted bucatini on sale, I pounced on it like a diva on discounted Manolos! This was my chance, I thought, to recreate some of the wonderful food we had on holiday, and I was so happy! 

With all the cold weather we've been having, I thought a comforting pasta would be just the ticket, but I didn't want anything particularly fancy or complicated. I did a quick google search for what goes best with bucatini, and I realised that the way we had it in Rome, what the way it's traditionally served. Bingo! That sounded right to me - short prep and cook time, minimal fuss and ingredients, and maximum satisfaction!

Just a few ingredients, about 30 minutes cook time, and you can have a warm bowl of comforting pasta on the table. And it's so simple!

Source: Kevandy on flickr creative commons
Bucatini All'Amatriciana
Adapted from

250g dried bucatini (if you can't find bucatini, I think linguine would be a good substitute)
100-150g bacon, diced (you can use pancetta or guanciale, but I didn't have any)
1/2 onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, diced finely
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 cans whole Italian plum tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
Grated Parmesan to taste


  1. Put the pasta water on to boil, and when it boils, add salt and pasta. Cook according to packet instructions, until just before it's cooked. It will finish cooking in the sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a little olive oil, until cooked, but not crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel covered bowl, to be added back later.
  3. In the same pan, fry the onion, and add the garlic as it begins to get some colour.
  4. When the garlic is fragrant, add the paprika and chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes. If you prefer your pasta more saucy, add back some of the drained tomato water.
  5. When the pasta has cooked, drain it and add it to the tomato mixture in the pan. Stir to mix thoroughly, and heat through.
Serve with grated Parmesan, slurp it up and enjoy! The hollow bucatini grabs the sauce deliciously, and the sauce is beautifully simple. Because you use so few ingredients, make sure they are good quality.


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  1. "slurp it up and enjoy!" Spoken like a true lover of food. :-)

  2. Mmmmmm, might make that sometime next week.


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