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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Bucatini al Amatriciana

 This classic Italian dish comes from the town of Amatrice in the Lazio Region— which includes Rome— and Pecorino Romano is the cheese that is used in this dish. Period. They are serious about that. It’s not Amatriciana with any other cheese.


1 lb.                 Dry bucatini pasta
1 gallon           Water
¼ cup             Kosher salt
2 TB                Extra virgin olive oil
¼ lb.               Guanciale (cured pork cheek) or pancetta, medium diced
2 cups             Marinara
¾ cups           Yellow onion, small diced
1 TB                Garlic, minced
½ tsp              Crushed red pepper
Grated Pecorino Romano as needed


 ¼ cup             Extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups         Diced yellow onion
1 cup                Shredded carrot
2 Tbl                Minced garlic
1 TB                 Dried basil
½ TB               Dried oregano
3 ea.                 Bay leaf
2 TB                 Kosher salt
1 TB                 Fresh ground black pepper
¾ tsp              Crushed red pepper
1 – 6 oz. can   Tomato paste
2 – 28 oz. cans San Marzano Italian whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 cups             Vegetable stock
1 TB                 Balsamic vinegar


Cook the bucatini following the directions on the package.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta, stirring frequently so as not to burn, until cooked, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue until the onions are soft, not browned, about 5 minutes. Add marinara and crushed red pepper and stir until sauce is hot.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the hot bucatini pasta and combine thoroughly.

Divide among six serving bowls. Finish each with the grated cheese as needed.


Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often.

Add basil, oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, to caramelize tomato paste.

Add canned tomatoes, stock and bay leaves. Simmer on low heat for 1 hour, stirring often.

Add balsamic vinegar and remove heat.

Yield: 1 gallon

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