Bucatini all'Amatriciana

Municipality of Amatrice



The Amatriciana sauce is a typical product of the gastronomic tradition of Amatrice, to be able to boast of the Communal Denomination (De.Co.), it must be obtained, in the ‘white’ or ‘red’ versions, in compliance with the conditions and the requirements established by these production regulations.

The product born from an elementary pastoral preparation that has its roots in the social and economic history of the Amatrician side of the Mount of Laga, from which the preparation originates.

In particular, the use of aged guanciale (*) and pecorino cheese transpose the relationship with an extensive livestock farming in the Amatriciana sauce which has characterized the relationship of man with a difficult territory for centuries: in the past local shepherds, in the period of transhumance, who forcing them away from home for a period of 4-5 months, they brought with them, for their sustenance, some products of easy and prolonged preservability such as, precisely, the guanciale, pecorino, and flour.

The original recipe is white, tomato-free, also called ‘Gricia’, and dates back to the period in which the city of Amatrice was in the territory of ancient Abruzzo.

The ‘Salsa all ‘amatriciana”‘ is linked to the history of Abruzzo until the date of 1927, the year in which with the creation of the Province of Rieti new boundaries between Lazio and Abruzzo were established.

This can be found in the text of the author Anna Gosetti della Salda, in her classic ‘Italian regional recipes’ (1967), the result of rigorous field research and the reconstruction of the geographical paths of the dishes. Gosetti also writes, in the notes, that the one she collected ‘on the spot’ is the true recipe of amatriciana as it was prepared for Amatrice at the end of the 1950s.

The introduction in the tomato recipe occurred at the end of the eighteenth century when the Neapolitans, among the first in Europe, recognized the great organoleptic qualities of the tomato, and so also the Amatricians, whose territory fell in the Kingdom of Naples, had the opportunity to appreciate it and, with happy intuition, they added it to the ingredients of the original recipe.

Some erroneously attribute the Amatriciana to the Roman cuisine, having lost the historical memory of the fact that it was instead the shepherds, who with the seasonal movements of the transhumance towards the Roman countryside, made known this recipe in the city of the Popes.

The ‘Salsa all’Amatriciana’ is included in the list of Traditional Agri-Foodstuffs of the Lazio Region (GU n. 141 of 20/06/2014).

Only some ingredients of this gastronomic product can also come from areas other than the municipal area.


The production area of the Amatriciana Sauce, coincides with the territory of the Municipality of Amatrice.

The ‘Salsa all’Amatriciana’ is:
– ‘’white’, in the tomato-free version, also called ‘Gricia’;
– ‘red’, in the version with tomato.

Amatriciana sauce, in the ‘white’ (also called ‘’Gricia’) or ‘red’ version, can be used for immediate consumption or packaged in sterile containers to be subjected to heat treatment, in order to sterilize the finished product.


  1. Ingredients

The ingredients, referring to the preparation of 500 gr. of pasta, are:

  • 125 gr. of ‘Guanciale Amatriciano DE.CO.’
  • A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil;
  • a dash of dry white wine;
  • pepper as needed
  1. Method

  • Browning lightly in extra virgin olive oil the ‘Guanciale Amatriciano’ De.Co., in a strictly iron pan,  well neat from the skin and cut into long strips.
  • Add the white wine and black pepper as needed, and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the pork cheek is lightly browned, being very careful not to brown too much, a fundamental rule for the success of the recipe.

Recommended pairings:

Combine the sauce with a spaghetti of excellent quality, cooked al dente in plenty of salted water and add abundant ‘Pecorino di Amatrice’ De.Co. and ground black pepper as needed.


  1. Ingredients

The ingredients, referring to the preparation of 500 gr. of pasta, are:

  • 125 gr. of ‘Guanciale Amatriciano DE.CO.’
  • A tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil;
  • a dash of dry white wine;
  • 6 or 7 San Marzano tomatoes or 400 grams of quality peeled tomatoes;
  • a piece of fresh or dried chilli (if necessary);
  • Salt and Pepper as needed
  1. Method

  • Browning in a frying pan with extra virgin olive oil in a strictly iron pan, the ‘Guanciale Amatriciano’ De.Co., well netted by rind and cut into long strips.
  • Add the white wine and black pepper q.b., and possibly the chilli pepper, and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the pork cheek is lightly browned, being very careful not to brown too much, a fundamental rule for the success of the recipe.
  • Remove the strips of pork cheek from the pan, drain well and keep aside, preferably warm, to avoid the risk of them becoming too dry and salty.
  • Add the tomatoes cut into fillets and remove the seeds, having previously blanched them or use 400 grams of quality peeled tomatoes.
  • Salt, stir and cook over high heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the chilli, and add the strips of cheek previously set aside to the sauce, stirring the sauce again.

Recommended pairings:

Combine the sauce with a spaghetti of excellent quality, cooked al dente in plenty of salted water and add abundant ‘Pecorino di Amatrice’ De.Co. and ground black pepper as needed.

Source: The production disciplinary of the Traditional Amatriciana Mu.De. (Municipal Denomination) ratified by the mayor of Amatrice

What is the difference between bacon and bacon?

It may seem trivial, but today we talk about the difference between bacon and guanciale, which, let’s say it loud and clear, are not the same thing!
The purists of the carbonara pasta, for example, say that to make a real Carbonara it is essential to use the guanciale and not the smoked bacon!
For this reason, it is very important to understand well the difference between bacon and Guanciale, so as to be able to evaluate how to use these two ingredients correctly.

The difference between bacon and guanciale: different cuts of meat

First of all, they are two different cuts of meat, as the two names suggest… pancetta is obtained from the belly of the pig, while the guanciale from the cheek.
But the biggest differences derive from the different processes with which we arrive at the finished product and which determine its taste and consistency.

The difference between bacon and guanciale: processing

Bacon is obtained, in fact, from the subcutaneous fatty tissue of the pig’s belly. In general, the bacon is salted and left to mature in a cool and dry place. The bacon is flavoured with different spices (which vary according to the region in which it is made).
The bacon exists in three different forms: the stretched bacon has a short maturing period (about 20 days). Usually, it is used as a condiment or to flavour other preparations.
Rolled bacon is a real cured meat, and is obtained by seasoning the bacon with spices and letting it mature for a long period.
Smoked bacon (in fact what the British call bacon) is the most flavoured type of bacon, with the addition of smoking to obtain an even tastier product.
The guanciale is obtained from the cheek of a pig of at least 9 months. It is a very tasty product, also because during the processing it is seasoned externally with salt and pepper. The Lazio guanciale – the most suitable for making carbonara pasta – is further flavoured with garlic, sage and rosemary.
The maturing period is at least three months, during which the product acquires a very intense flavour and the characteristic external “crust” is formed, which makes it slightly crunchy.

The difference between bacon and guanciale: nutritional characteristics

Because of the different cuts and the different processes, bacon and guanciale have different caloric and nutritional intake. One hundred grams of bacon contain just over 450 calories, with 45% fat and 40% water. The same amount of guanciale is definitely fatter, with an intake of 655 calories, 70% fat and 22% water.

The difference between bacon and bacon in the kitchen

Bacon is often preferred to bacon only for its greater availability (it is easily found in all supermarkets). As well as having a harder consistency, the guanciale has a much more intense flavour and is therefore preferred in carbonara pasta and amatriciana pasta, as per original recipes.


The traditional Amatriciana is TSG. Europe protects the sauce of the shepherds of Amatrice


After several years, the hoped process of recognition as a traditional speciality guaranteed for the Amatriciana sauce reaches the desired goal.
Here’s what it means.

The amatriciana is TSG. What the brand protects?

While a large part of Italy that rediscovers the joys and sorrows of home confinement is involved in the kitchen, more recognition comes from the European Union for one of the most discussed and loved dishes of the national gastronomic tradition.
Amatriciana, which in 2016 also became a symbol of solidarity and closeness to the lands affected by the earthquake in Central Italy (therefore, it is often the cuisine that unites us in times of difficulty, the first foothold to maintain contact with normalcy), is now Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG), and therefore protected from imitations and counterfeits, by EU pronunciation.
The first dish of the Lazio tradition, linked to the pastoral history of Amatrice, thus come in the European Register of designations of origin and guaranteed geographical indications and traditional specialities, falling into the last category: a brand that protects the production process in its traditional meaning, without however indicating any territorial belonging constraint (in practice, a TSG product must have its roots in a productive process in vogue, in this specific case in Italy, for at least 30 years).

The ingredients of traditional amatriciana

This means that, from now on, the traditional character of the dish will be protected all over the world, linked primarily to the use of specific ingredients, made in Italy and typical of the territory and of the artisan productions that are handed down in the area of the Monti della Laga. Starting from the bacon – strictly Amatriciano type, in percentage from 18 to 30% – and from pecorino cheese, with the possibility of choosing between Amatriciano and Romano Pdo by Lazio.
To complete the recipe, tomato sauce or chopped tomato, extra virgin olive oil, pepper and/or chilli pepper, to be used in the preparation of the sauce which must comply with an equally codified procedure.
On the other hand, onion, garlic, bacon and all those ingredients that could interfere with the taste of the typical recipe are banned, which boasts a centuries-old tradition, although the tomato has taken over to modify the original preparation used by the Apennine shepherds only in a second moment, at the beginning of the nineteenth century (not surprisingly, in Amatrice, the dish is offered in both variants: with the tomato or in without tomato, version know as pasta alla gricia.)

Origins and reinterpretations of the amatriciana

Like many transhumance recipes, amatriciana has poor origins, linked as it is to the use of products that could be preserved for a long time in the pasture months on the Amatrice mountains: pieces of pecorino cheese, black pepper preserved in bags, guanciale, dried pasta and lard, which was once the easiest fat to find and transport for cooking in precarious conditions.
As for the first appearances of the dish that has become a symbol of Italianness in the world in traditional recipe books, the first “official” mention dates back to 1927, with the Amatriciana recipe written by Ada Boni in the Talisman of Happiness.
But among the suggested ingredients there is also the onion, which in fact often constituted the stone of the scandal in the subsequent reinterpretations of the dish (here an in-depth analysis of the diatribe “with or without onion”), while in 2015 it was Carlo Cracco to be guilty of a variant that involved the use of a clove of poached garlic.
Just in the same year, the Municipality of Amatrice approved a Disciplinary for the production of amatriciana sauce, providing for the option of white wine to shade the bacon. A year later, and still today in accompanying the slow process of rebirth of the earthquake zones, the typical ingredients that contribute to the realization of the dish are the emblem of an industrious territory that seeks to revive itself starting from its quality agri-food productions.
And the amatriciana has also become a chef’s dish in the tribute book (Amatricianae, 2017) which collects the interpretations of 33 chefs, gathered by Alma to celebrate the recipe and raise funds for the reconstruction.

Protection marks for made in Italy

The process for the recognition of the TSG started by producers, processors and restaurateurs of the Amatrician territory took several years to reach the result hoped for by the Mipaaf (the registration application had been formalized in Brussels last November), and now the Amatriciana crosses a finish line already achieved in Italy only by Neapolitan pizza and mozzarella cheese, adding a protection mark valid internationally to the previous Mu.De. (Municipal Denomination) ratified by the mayor of Amatrice.
The name “Traditional Amatriciana” may only indicate the food preparation obtained according to the centuries-old recipe of the Amatrice area, for immediate or deferred seasoning, both foreseen by production discipline.
Despite the very limited number of Tsg (77 are all over the Community, Italy boasts 3), overall Italy strengthens its European record for the number of PDO, PGI and TSG, with 301 references.

The production disciplinary of the Traditional Amatriciana Stg

(Source: Gamberorosso)