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PointsPlus Spaghetti Amatriciana

PointsPlus Spaghetti Amatriciana

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What’s that? Think you can’t have pasta on a diet? Think again. Using reduced-fat bacon and whole-wheat spaghetti keeps the PointsPlus value for this recipe down, while retaining flavor.


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • Salt, for cooking pasta, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 6 slices reduced-fat bacon
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for serving (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving (optional)


Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt the water until it tastes like the sea. Add the spaghetti, and cook until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of cooking water and then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Cook the bacon, flipping once, until crisp; remove from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the onion; cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Crumble the bacon into the pan and add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes; toss to mix and coat.

Add the pasta and reserved pasta cooking water to the tomato sauce; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve with fresh chopped basil and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.*

The authentic Amatriciana recipe from Rome

The authentic Amatriciana recipe is a tasty guanciale and tomato sauce used to season bucatini (or spaghetti, or rigatoni).

Make an amatriciana sauce when you want an easy but delicious big bowl of pasta.


Bring Rome to your plate with this traditional Amatriciana recipe from Italy’s capital. Also known as bucatini al’amatriciana, you just need 3 simple ingredients to create a hearty pasta dish full of salty and rich flavours thanks to the perfect combination of tomato and guanciale.

250g/8.8oz Bucatini Pasta (for 2 people)
75g/2.6oz Guanciale /Pig cheek (Per person once skin is removed)
Subsitute options: Pancetta, salami – not bacon!
1 can/400g/14.1oz peeled tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
5L water

Medium sized deep fry pan
Wooden spoon
Large pot for boiling pasta
Pasta strainer/Long tongs

  1. This amatriciana recipe starts with the guanciale! Cut it into strips, and then again into cubes, making sure to keep some of the fat on as this helps it remain juicy and tender.
  2. Next, it’s time to use Nonna’s favourite utensil for squashing peeled tomatoes…a fork! Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and squash them down, mixing as you go.
  3. Boil approx. 5L water in a large pot and once it boils, add a handful of rock salt.
  4. Put a pan on your stove at a low-medium heat and add the guanciale – no oil! Leave this to slowly cook and crisp in the pan, gently moving it around with a wooden spoon every so often.
  5. Once the guanciale has started to crisp and change colour, this amatriciana recipe calls for white wine! Add one glass and mix through.
  6. After 3 minutes, most of the wine will have evaporated, mix again and add the peeled tomatoes.
  7. Use your wooden spoon to stir through and leave to simmer for 10-15minutes. If your stove is too strong, just lower it so it cooks more gently.
  8. While this amatriciana recipe sauce is simmering, add a touch of salt and be generous with pepper.
  9. Once the sauce has reduced, switch off the stove and cook your pasta al dente (according to packet instructions).
  10. Remove the pasta from the pot, and add it to the pan, making sure some of the pasta water is added in too. Then add 5 extra tablespoons of pasta water and mix the sauce through the pan really well.


Twist a serving of pasta into a ladle and then transfer it onto a flat, round, plate. Sprinkle it with a generous amount of pecorino cheese – adding some more sauce and guanciale from the bottom of the pan too, keeping it nice and juicy.

These are some other Roman Pasta recipes you MUST try:

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 ounces guanciale (cured pork cheek), cut into strips
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, chopped
  • 1 (18 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups grated pecorino Romano cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale cook and stir until sizzling, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chile pepper cook and stir until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes simmer until tomatoes break down into a sauce, about 20 minutes.

Stir spaghetti into the tomato sauce until well combined. Sprinkle generous amounts of pecorino Romano cheese over each serving.

Spaghetti Amatriciana Recipe

TRADITIONAL ITALIAN RECIPE: Bucatini All'Amatriciana, like most authentic Italian pastas is a simple dish from Amatrice, where tomatoes are fried in the rendered fat from guanciale and tossed together with some cheese and Bucatini or Spaghetti.

The recipe is known in several variants depending, among other things, on the local availability of certain ingredients. While everybody seems to agree about the use of guanciale and tomato, onion is not favored in Amatrice, but is shown in the classical handbooks of Roman cuisine. For frying, olive oil is most commonly used, but strutto (canned pork lard) is used as well.

The addition of garlic sauteed in olive oil, before adding the guanciale is also accepted, and for cheese either pecorino romano or Amatrice's pecorino (from the Monti Sibillini or Monti della Laga areas) can be used. The addition of black or chili pepper is common in some italian regions.

If guanciale is unavailable, pancetta is a fine substitute. However guanciale (shown bottom) has a significantly higher fat content than pancetta (shown top). If neither guanciale nor pancetta is available in your neighborhood, you can always use a top-quality lean bacon.

Recipe: Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Amatriciana, or matriciana, is a pasta sauce that originates from the Lazio region, more precisely from a small town in the province of Rieti: Amatrice, a charming village populated by just under 2500 souls.
Pasta enriched with this sauce is one of the hundred best-loved Italian gastronomic specialities in Italy and around the world, both for its extreme simplicity of preparation and for its unique and intense flavour.
This traditional recipe is the white version of gricia, whose common denominators are pecorino cheese, the territory of origin and pork cheek.
The addition of tomatoes to amatriciana is first documented in a cookbook called 'L'Apicio Moderno', by the Roman chef Francesco Leonardo, which calls for the use of pecorino cheese, onion, guanciale di Amatrice and tomatoes.
These vegetables were introduced after the discovery of their many beneficial organoleptic properties, which encouraged their cultivation throughout the Kingdom of Naples, whose mild climate made it possible to harvest tasty, brightly coloured produce.
The new version was so successful that many local restaurateurs included it on their menus and were called Matriciani.
Moreover, the enterprising cook Leonardi presented this dish of popular origin at a banquet organised by Pope Pius VII in honour of the Austrian Emperor Francis I, at which it was widely appreciated by all diners.
The original Amatriciana recipe is now protected by a specific mark of origin, which requires the use of pecorino di Amatrice cheese from the Laga Mountains or the Sibillini Mountains plus San Marzano tomatoes.
Although there is no mention of garlic or onion, the flavour of this pasta can be enlivened by the addition of pepper and chilli pepper.
Lastly, the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions in Configno (a small hamlet in the municipality of Amatrice) has dedicated an entire section to this dish, housing ancient utensils, pots, original machinery and everything that was needed to make this dish.
This place withstood the earthquake in August 2016 and the US New York Times newspaper cited Amatriciana as an indisputable emblem of resilience, sparking the curiosity of thousands of people curious to taste it and visit the location.


400 gr of spaghetti
350 gr of San Marzano tomatoes
75 gr of grated pecorino cheese
100 gr of pork cheek
50 ml of dry white wine
extra virgin olive oil q.b.
chilli pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water.
In the meantime, brown the guanciale cut into strips in a pan with the chilli pepper and the oil.
After a few minutes, add the white wine and let the alcohol evaporate.
Remove the guanciale from the pan and set it aside.
Place the diced tomatoes in the pan containing the fat released from the cheek, add salt and leave to cook for about ten minutes.
The tomatoes should take on the consistency of a thick sauce.
Once this is achieved, remove the chilli pepper, add the guanciale, stir well and cook for another ten minutes.
When the pasta is ready, drain it from the cooking water, add it to the sauce and stir.
Serve the pasta all'amatriciana sprinkled with plenty of grated pecorino cheese.

What you’ll need

Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce (Pasta all'Amatriciana)

Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

This is a really simple way to make a quick, easy tomato sauce that’s loaded with savory flavor. I call it pasta with pancetta and tomato sauce, but it’s really a riff on pasta all’Amatriciana – one of the quintessential pasta dishes of Rome.

In Rome, the meat of choice would be guanciale – aka, cured pork cheek – but since that’s not as attainable here, I usually opt for pancetta or even bacon. It gives the sauce so much rich, savory flavor – people will be asking “how is this tomato sauce so good?”

While the recipe calls for linguine, you can use any one of your favorite pasta shapes for this dish.

Classic Spaghetti Amatriciana

You know how people say that your wedding day is the fastest day of your entire life? Well, I’m starting to think that same logic applies to the entire week leading up to your wedding as well.

Yesterday was filled with printing welcome letters, alphabetizing place cards (umm, alphabetizing is not fun), checking the weather for the umpteenth time (we are hoping to have the ceremony outdoors!), sending emails, and drinking far too many cups of Starbucks iced coffee to be considered healthy.

Oh, and we also started speaking to a real estate agent in Chicago about potential neighborhoods to live in. No big deal.

Everything aside, things are in pretty good shape and we really don’t have that many huge things left to do, or freak out about. Most of the freaking out has already happened.

But I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve never craved a massive bowl of pasta more in my entire life. Really, though. I want all the pasta.

So I figured since I can’t quite indulge at the moment, I might as well share this ridiculously delicious, weeknight-friendly pasta dish with you! Please eat extra helpings in my honor, ok?

All’amatriciana is one of the most classic Italian pasta sauces. Although there are a lot of different versions out there, for the most part, the sauce is made with a combination of tomatoes, pork, cheese, and red pepper flakes.

My variation is made with crispy pancetta (you can easily substitute this with thick-cut bacon!), sautéed onion and garlic, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, lots of red pepper flakes, and finished with a hefty grating of parmigiano-reggiano cheese (pecorino is a bit more traditional, but I generally prefer parmigiano!).

Don’t skip the grated cheese step! It totally takes the sauce to the next level.

I know what you may be thinking, “Do I really need to use San Marzano tomatoes? They are like three times more expensive than normal canned tomatoes.”

My answer to that is: “YES. Yes! Yes! Yes! [If you have access to them of course].” Excuse my obnoxiousness.

Unfortunately, they are a million times more expensive (and I’m the first one to cringe at the price tag), but I promise the return in flavor makes up for it ten fold. Really, I wouldn’t lie about these things.

The best part about this rich and spicy pasta sauce? Aside from the wonderful crispy pancetta and sweet San Marzano tomatoes?

It literally comes together in less than 30 minutes. So, you can totally prepare it on a weeknight after work, especially if you’re craving a change from your standard tomato sauce, or serve it to a crowd of friends.

I promise that everyone will be fighting over the leftovers!

  • 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

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).

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.

Watch the video: Chicken, Oh My!


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