Pasta With Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

Pasta With Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

Pasta with pancetta and tomato sauce, traditionally known as pasta all’Amatriciana, is a quick and super simple pasta dish to prepare for the family. The sauce is one of the easiest to prepare since it only requires a few ingredients. This is a rustic Italian classic that the family is sure to love.

This popular pasta dish was created in a small village called Amatrice, located in the Abruzzo region of Italy. At its most authentic it is made with smoky guanciale, pecorino cheese, olive oil, dry white wine, San Marzano tomatoes, hot pepper flakes and salt. While most pasta sauces that include tomatoes also call for onions, garlic, and herbs, the most classic recipe includes none of the above as they were once upon a time too expensive for the shepherds who used to prepare this dish. Since then there have been countless interpretations of this recipe, one of which I am sharing with you today.

My recipe differs from the original recipe is a few ways. My reasoning? When you’re cooking for kids you have to be a little lenient with conventionality. I’ve substituted cubed pancetta for guanciale (simply because that’s what I had on hand), and also opted for small bowtie pasta as opposed to spaghetti or bucatini. Omitting the hot pepper flakes was a given, but you can easily add some as a garnish if you like the heat. Instead, I added some cracked black pepper for garnish.

On a side note, we’ve been living in Italy for almost a month now and the locals seem somewhat baffled that my 4 and 6 year old cannot yet elegantly twirl their spaghetti around their forks. Almost sacrilege for Italians, I’d say – or so it seems. It’s an art, and one I’m sure kids here learn at a very early age. My kids will succeed in due time. For now, I’d rather save myself the mess and headache and prepare a smaller, kid-friendly pasta – and I’m quite concern my kids appreciate a quicker and less stressful method of eating their pasta. Regardless of the substitutions and choice of pasta, this dish is rich and flavourful and is always a winner at the dinner table.

Pasta With Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation! 

Pasta With Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

: Serves 4
: 20 min

Pasta with pancetta and tomato sauce, traditionally known as pasta all’Amatriciana, is a quick and super simple pasta dish to prepare for the family. The sauce is one of the easiest to prepare since it only requires a few ingredients. This is a rustic Italian classic that the family is sure to love. This popular […]


Pasta With Pancetta and Tomato Sauce
    450g bowtie pasta or pasta of choice
  • 250-300g cubed pancetta
  • 22 oz jar of tomato puree
  • Pecorino cheese, freshly grated (quantity as desired)
  • hot pepper flakes (optional), quantity as desired
  • cracked black pepper, quantity as desired

Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree and reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the flavours have blended.

Meanwhile, bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the bowtie pasta and cook uncovered for 1-2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time on the package. Once cooked, drain (reserving about 1/3 cup of the cooking water) and transfer immediately to the sauce. Add the pasta cooking water and stir to coat and combine. Garnish with cracked black pepper, hot pepper flakes (if desired), salt to taste, and Pecorino cheese.

17 thoughts on “Pasta With Pancetta and Tomato Sauce”

  • Kiwi 6 years ago

    I am a pasta girl for sure. This is a way I never ate it before. Thanks for the recipe!

  • The pasta here looks delicious. I think that my daughter would have more fun with the bowtie pasta than the spaghetti anyway. I think it’s funny that the locals find it hard to believe that your four and six year old can’t twirl their pasta around with a flourish. I suppose it would be different growing up there.

    • I can’t even twirl my pasta perfectly around my fork! lol! And yes, bowtie pasta is SO much easier to eat than spaghetti!

  • If the locals can’t overlook such young eaters, then they can look the other way, my friend. I agree with an easier meal like the pasta you’ve made your kiddos. You sound like the kind of mom I have…absolutely wonderful.

  • One of the best thing about creating pasta dishes is that you can change out the ingredients so easily. No matter who you’re trying to feed, picky kids or picky adults. This recipe sounds like one that will please a lot of people.

    • So true! I don’t always like traditional and prefer being more creative with recipes, even if it’s just substituting with ingredients that I already have.

  • My family and I enjoy pasta, but I have never cooked it with pancetta before. You’ve piqued my interest and I’m wondering if my kids would enjoy this dish. I love how simple and quick this recipe is! I”m going to have to share this with my hubby since he do all the cooking for us all.

  • We eat pasta a few times a week in our family. My kids are kind of picky about dinner so if I add pasta they usually eat it. I have never thought of adding Pancetta to our pasta dish, however. I think I will need to try this.

  • Oh well pancetta is one of my favourites but I only ever get it when I am away on a trip. This recipe would be perfect for at home. I will give it a shot one day soon. Pinning for later. Thanks!!

  • I love the simplicity of this dish…and anything with pancetta is perfection in my book. The fact that you’re actually living in Italy right now is really fantastic! Sounds like quite an incredible experience. My kids are with yours…pasta twirling is not something we have mastered, yet, either…and I have preteens!! HA!

    • It is an amazing experience, although it does have its up and downs. We usually come for the summers but decided to stay this time for a couple of years!

  • Pasta is a must in our home! I think because it is a comfort food and very filling!! My kids don’t know how to twirl their pasta yet either! We cut it up or use easier noodles, because like you I don’t want the mess!! Living in Italy must be amazing! I love learning the background to a dish!

  • Ann Bacciaglia 6 years ago

    Pasta is always a hit in my house. I love to cook with pancetta. Substituting cubed pancetta for the guanciale is a great idea. I often alter my recipes to work with what I have in the house. I will have to give this delicious looking recipe a try on the weekend.

  • AlainaBullock1 6 years ago

    We are huge fans of pasta in my home, so I am always looking for new and tasty ways to eat it. This recipe looks simple and quick, which is perfect for the upcoming school nights! Cannot wait to try it!

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