Amatriciana is a pasta sauce originating in Amatrice in central Italy, southwest of Perugia. But today the dish is considered a Roman classic. There are as many recipes for it as there are home chefs but its essential ingredients feature black pepper, dried chiles and pancetta. While bacon can be substituted for pancetta, it will result in a smoky flavour. If you can find guanciale, a salt-cured pork, you'll experience the most traditional all'Amatriciana sauce. 


2 tbsp fresh extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz (100g) pancetta, thinly sliced 
1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tbsp Garlic olive oil)
1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
Kosher salt
1 package bucatini pasta (or regular spaghetti)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a separate large heavy pot heat olive oil on medium. Add pancetta and sauté until golden. Add onion, garlic, black pepper and dried red chili flakes. Stir until soft. Add tomatoes, stir and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until thickened. Add pasta to boiling salted water and cook until barely al dente. Drain pasta when ready but do not rinse. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Add pasta to tomato sauce and coat. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water, stir and cook until pasta is al dente, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add cheese then place in serving bowls. Serve with extra black pepper and olive oil.