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Pasta Amatriciana

Okay - let's get past the debates of what is and what isn't an authentic amatriciana sauce. This is the standard in our home and pretty much a "go to" recipe in our house. It takes about as long to prepare as it does to boil the water and, keeping the pancetta in the freezer, is pretty much a pantry meal. Hope you enjoy.

Pasta Amatriciana

  • 3 T olive oil (honestly, I don't normally use this much, maybe 1T maybe cooking spray when I'm really counting points)
  • 4 oz pancetta finely chopped (btw - I know a "standard" substitution in this country for pancetta has been bacon but I find bacon too smokey. While following Weight Watchers, I've actually subbed Canadian Bacon and found that worked well)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1T garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2t dried oregano
  • 1 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I just break them in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon)
  • 1/2t red pepper flakes (I use 1/4t when the kids will eat otherwise it's too spicy for them)
  • 1T fresh basil leaves, finely slivered (if I don't have fresh basil, I use 1t dried and it when I add the oregano)
  • 8C cooked pasta (I've used spaghetti, rigatoni, whatever)

1. Heat olive oil and add the pancetta in a heavy skillet.
2. When the pancetta starts to brown, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onion is soft.
3. Stir in the oregano (and basil if using dry), tomatoes and hot red pepper flakes.
4. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened about 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the basil and season to taste w/ salt and pepper (you know, rarely do I add salt and pepper).
6. Toss with the cooked pasta.

At six servings, this comes in at 7 Weight Watchers points per serving. At four servings, 10 points (and that's a hefty serving)

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Other Thinks (9)


Yum1 That's pretty much how I make it, too. I think the onion adds a lot. Good tip about the Canadian bacon.


This is one of my favorite staples too - so quick. I am going to try the Canadian Bacon - my younger son and my hsb are not wild about pancetta. I didn't think that regular bacon would be a good substitute.


I just made this myself on Sunday and I pretty much did the same as you (although I did use thick cut bacon). I watched Giada DeLaurentiis and her Aunt Raffi said to use bacon here in the States because the pancetta here isn't as good as in Italy (really?!). It was good, but nowhere near as awesome as the dish I had in Rome! :-)

Sounds delicious! This is my son's favorite pasta dish but he doesn’t eat onions so I make it without it. His pasta of choice is bucatini, which is always fun to eat.


I guess I haven't seen the "debate" threads. Which part of the recipe is debatable?

Yours sounds really good. I will try the tip about Canadian bacon. I found some pancetta (all nice and chopped up) at Trader Joe's today, but they don't always have it.

According to the martinet of Italian TV cookery, Beppe says, "no onion, no garlic, no spices, just guanciale, oil, and tomato." Chili pepper is "facoltivo". I use pancetta as often as guanciale, too, and I count on that bit of garlic to zip it.
One of my favorites is pancetta, onion, tomato and a chili. Any kind of cheese, including cheddar when it fall in my lap.
I call it bacon and onion sauce! I guess I am afraid of Beppe.


Oh fab, pasta recipes from both you and Amy today. Yum.

Looks good. Honestly though, when will you folks stop calling that stuff Canadian bacon. We know Canadian bacon and it isn't what you think! LOL Honestly, I am starting to sound like a few Italians we know and love . . .

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Nancy, see Judith's post :)

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