Rigatoni all'Amatriciana is made by pan frying onion and pancetta, adding tomatoes and simmering until they reduce and stirring through pasta and LOTS of parmesan.
Rigatoni all’Amaticiana is such an easy dinner to get on the table, and it is one that everyone will enjoy. It’s pasta, which everyone, (especially my toddler) loves to eat, AND it’s got cured meats and cheese in it - it doesn’t get any better than that!
We make a rich tomato based sauce of onion and pancetta (traditionally guanciale is used, but I use pancetta because it is easier to find), and we fry that until the fat of the pancetta renders. Those flavours are going to meld together, then we add canned tomatoes, chilli flakes (if using) mixed herbs, a touch of sugar and salt, and let it simmer until it’s reduced.
Meanwhile, we’ll have the rigatoni going in another pot and we’ll grate our parmesan. We want to use a lot of parmesan in this dish - we’ll mix it through the sauce and put it on top.
Once the rigatoni is almost ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer it into the sauce. I like to do this because then we get a good amount of pasta water into the sauce, which will make the sauce glossy and thick. Add half the grated parmesan at this point too, and we’ll mix through over heat for 1-2 more minutes so it’s all perfectly melted. To serve, top it with the remaining parmesan and dish up straight from the pan into bowls at the table.
Why should you make Rigatoni all'Amatriciana?
This is a perfect weeknight dinner because it’s easy, tasty, hearty and can easily scale to feed a lot of people. It’s also a perfect pantry dinner - if you keep these ingredients in your pantry and freezer for a long time, and then if you get stuck one night you can have this up your sleeve.
What is in Rigatoni all'Amatriciana?
- Pasta - I used rigatoni but you can use any pasta you like.
- Sauce - Olive oil, pancetta, garlic, chilli flakes, canned cherry tomatoes, mixed herbs, salt, sugar, olive oil, parmesan cheese
What does all’Amatriciana mean in Italian?
This translates to “from Amatrice”, which is a small town north east of of Rome.
What is the difference between amatriciana and arrabiata?
Amatriciana sauce is made with tomato and pork, while Arrabiata sauce is made with tomatoes, chilli and onion, and should not contain meat.
Do you have to use Guanciale in your sauce?
No, I didn’t use Guanciale because I couldn’t find it easily (and I'm all about using ingredients you can pick up locally), so I use pancetta instead because, like Guanciale, it has a good amount of fat, which we want to render down and make the sauce taste delicious.
Because we use so much parmesan in this recipe the flavour of the parmesan you choose will really impact the flavour of your dish. I used one which was very aged and “bitey”, and my husband found it a bit much. Choose one a milder cheese unless you love the bitey intense flavour of an aged parmesan.
Make sure you remove the pasta from the pot before it is al dente - at least 2 minutes before - as we will continue to cook it in the sauce.
Substitutions for Rigatoni all'Amatriciana
- Alternative proteins - Instead of cured meat you can use olives if you prefer, or chicken breast.
- Vegetarian - Swap pancetta for kalamata olives.
- Dairy Free - Use dairy free shredded parmesan.
- Gluten Free - Use gluten free penne.
- Skip the chilli flakes.
- Use a mild parmesan.
- You can also easily add “hidden veg” to this recipe - finely grate carrot or zucchini and add it into the sauce.
You will need a pot, a stovetop, a deep frying pan.
More Italian Recipes
- Deep frying pan
- 1 brown onion
- 200 g pancetta
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon salt 1 ¼ tablespoon total for the recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 800 g cherry tomatoes canned
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoon mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt 1 ¼ tablespoon total for the recipe
- 375 g rigatoni
- 200 g parmesan cheese block
- Peel and dice onion. Chop pancetta into 1-2 cm slices. Peel and chop garlic.1 brown onion, 200 g pancetta, 2 cloves garlic
- Place a large pot of salted water on to boil.1 tablespoon salt
- Place a large, deep frying-pan on medium high heat. Add oil and onion, cook until translucent (2 mins), then add pancetta and cook until fat renders (4 more mins). Then add garlic and cook for 1 min.1 brown onion, 200 g pancetta, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cloves garlic
- Add canned cherry tomatoes, half a can of water, mixed herbs, sugar and salt, and bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.800 g cherry tomatoes, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoon mixed herbs, 1 teaspoon white sugar, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add pasta to the boiling water and cook for 11 mins, or 2 mins less than indicated on the packet.375 g rigatoni
- Finely grate parmesan.200 g parmesan cheese
- Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer pasta into the deep frying pan with the sauce, allowing some pasta water to transfer with it. Add half the parmesan and stir through on medium heat for a minute or two. Top with remaining parmesan and serve.200 g parmesan cheese