Penne all’ Amatriciana

Penne all’ Amatriciana

Prep: 10 mins

Cook: 30 mins

Total: 40 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Yield: 4 portions

This penne all’ Amatriciana recipe is a classic of the Italian kitchen from the town of Amitrice in central Italy. The dish is famous for using guanciale, an Italian cured pork made from the cheeks of a pig in the sauce. Guanciale is quite a fatty meat, but also brings a tremendous amount of flavor to the dish. If you struggle to find guanciale, do not despair as pancetta works just as well but for authenticity, do not use the smoked version.

This super tasty dish is quick and easy to make and makes a lovely weekday supper!


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup red wine

  • 4 (14-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes

  • 7 ounces guanciale, or pancetta, cubed

  • 1 pound penne pasta

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for dressing

  • Fresh basil leaves, for optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients. 

  2. Heat the oil to hot, but not smoking in a roomy saucepan large enough to hold all the sauce ingredients. Add the chopped onion and gently fry them until softened but not brown, you may need to lower the heat if they are cooking too fast.

  3. After 5 minutes add the chopped garlic, stir and continue to cook until the onions are ready (10 minutes). 

  4. Turn the heat to high and quickly add the wine in one go, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes.

  5. Then add the canned tomatoes, sugar, and chili, and stir well. Lower the heat to medium, so the sauce is simmering NOT boiling. Cook the sauce for 30 minutes stirring from time to time and keep checking the sauce is not burning, if you think it is lower the heat even further. 

  6. While the sauce is cooking, heat a frying pan to hot, but not smoking. Add the guanciale or pancetta cubes and cook for 5 minutes, frequently stirring until the cubes are crisp; you will not need and oil in the pan as the fat on the meat will melt. 

  7. Once cooked, remove from the pan and spread onto a sheet of paper towel to drain any fat. Keep to one side. 

  8. Cook the penne according to the packet instructions; this will typically be around 9 minutes when placed into lightly salted, boiling water. Drain the pasta and keep warm. 

  9. After 30 minutes of cooking the sauce, add the guanciale or pancetta cubes and half the freshly grated Parmesan and stir.

  10. Add in the pasta and stir thoroughly. 

  11. Serve the pasta immediately in warmed bowls with extra grated Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with a few basil leaves for color (optional).


  • The sauce freezes very well, so you will always have some to hand making it an even quicker meal.

Recipe Variation

  • Here the sauce is served with penne pasta, but you can also use spaghetti or bucatini as you wish.
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 798
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 56g 72%
Saturated Fat 18g 88%
Cholesterol 61mg 20%
Sodium 2496mg 109%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 27mg 136%
Calcium 303mg 23%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 634mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


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