This recipe, which originated in Amatrice, near Rome, was taken to heart by Roman chefs and has now become familiar all over the world. It is simple itself to make, but you must use bucatino – a large spaghetti-type pasta with a hole in the middle, which makes it easy to cook. You should also use guanciale, cured pig cheek, although you could substitute the less tasty pancetta. Use pecorino cheese here rather than the posh (and dearer) parmesan.






Skill level

Average: 3.5 (88 votes)


  • 400 g bucatini
  • 80 g pecorino, freshly grated


  • 130 g guanciale, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 hot dried red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 500 g San Marzano tomatoes, cut into quarters

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


For the sauce, place the guanciale and onion in a pan with the oil and chilli, and fry gently for about 4–5 minutes. Add the white wine and tomatoes and cook for a further 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Strain the bucatini and mix with the sauce.

Serve sprinkled generously with the freshly grated pecorino.

Photography by David Loftus.