Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

Cooking with Giulia

A visit from my beautiful friend Giulia, who lives in Rome, was the only reason I needed to throw this Italian-inspired dinner party last weekend.

My favorite hearty pasta dish Spaghetti All’Amatriciana made for an elegant main course.

Keeping with Italian traditions, we had our salad after our pasta, eating lettuce leaves by hand from my now famous Grilled Caesar Salad.

Giulia made Tiramisu from scratch- her grandmother’s secret recipe!

Which, unfortunately for all of us, still remains a secret.  It was deliziosissima!

Here is my recipe for the main course…

Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

Adapted from NYC restaurant Babbo

Servings: 4 generous main portions or 8 side dishes


3/4 pound pancetta or guanciale cut into 1/4 inch dice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 red onion, halved and sliced into 1/2 -inch thick slices

1/2 scant teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups basic tomato sauce (use your own or see recipe below)

1 pound spaghetti

1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, leaves only

Pecorino Romano cheese, grated


In a large pasta pot, bring 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil.

In large sauté pan, over medium-low heat, cook the pancetta until most of the fat has been rendered from the meat, turning occasionally.  Place cooked pancetta on a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the melted fat in the pan.

Add to pan the garlic, red onion and red pepper flakes and coat with the fat.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, tossing vegetables occasionally, until they are light golden brown.

Add the pancetta back to the pan, then add the tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cook spaghetti in the boiling water according to the package directions, until al dente.

Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the sauce.

Add the parsley leaves, increase the heat to high and toss to coat pasta.

Serve immediately topped with grated Pecorino cheese.

Basic Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 cups


1/4 cup extra-vigin olive oil

1 onion, chopped in 1/4 inch dice

4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

3 thyme sprigs or 1 tablespoon dried thyme

1/2 medium carrot, finely shredded

2 (28 ounce) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and the juices reserved

salt and pepper to taste


In a 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

Add the garlic, thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more.

Add tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often.

Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

This sauce holds for 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer stored in an airtight, freezer safe container.

2 Responses to Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

  1. giulia says:

    mia cara! thank you so much.
    it’s the best memory of that great night.
    can’t wait to taste more Roman dishes, you’re bravissima.
    a big,

  2. God I’m getting so hungry looking at all this! You may have inspired me to do my own Italian day, complete with grilled Caesar! Hope you had some amazing either Chianti or California Sangiovese to go with it.

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