My husband grew up not far from Rome, and this is his version of the famous Roman dish "Amatriciana". It calls for guanciale (cured pork jowl), which can be difficult to find here in the states. While some recipes call for pancetta or bacon to be used in its place, we've found that salt pork is a great alternative as well (see Cook's Note).


Recipe Summary

15 mins
1 hr 20 mins
1 hr 35 mins
10 servings


Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and cook, stirring frequently until slightly browned, about 7 minutes. Remove guanciale to a plate. Leave a bit of the rendered fat in the skillet and discard the rest.

  • Add onion to the skillet and cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute. Return guanciale to the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in white wine and cook until wine has reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.

  • Stir in canned tomatoes, breaking up whole tomatoes with a spoon. Pour 1/3 cup water into the tomato can, swirl around to rinse the can, and pour into the skillet with remaining 2/3 cup water and tomato paste. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, 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, 10 to 12 minutes. Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water, add to the sauce in the skillet, and mix well. Drain spaghetti and stir into the sauce until well combined.

  • Sprinkle generous amounts of Pecorino Romano cheese over each serving, and garnish with basil.

Cook's Note:

You can substitute salted pork for the guanciale, but make sure you pick salted pork that is more "meaty" than fatty. Cut away and discard the rind end of the salted pork. Since salted pork is very salty don't salt the pasta water and don't add any salt to the sauce.

Editorial Note:

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of rendered fat from cooking the guanciale. The actual amount of fat consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts

671 calories; protein 19.3g 39% DV; carbohydrates 75.9g 25% DV; fat 31.2g 48% DV; cholesterol 43mg 14% DV; sodium 405.3mg 16% DV. Full Nutrition

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Rating: 5 stars
Five stars but 14 thumbs up over here. I doubled it because I had a house full of hungry people. It was perfect. Grazie Enzo e Kim Bravissimi! Read More
3 Ratings
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Rating: 5 stars
Five stars but 14 thumbs up over here. I doubled it because I had a house full of hungry people. It was perfect. Grazie Enzo e Kim Bravissimi! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
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