Amatriciana is a classic pasta that is simple but pure comfort. Crispy smoked bacon, sauteed onion and garlic all in a smooth tomato sauce with silky pasta. Add chilli flakes and parmesan to make this the perfect 30-minute pasta.
This simple spicy tomato pasta sauce is made by frying bacon and sauteeing the onion and garlic in the bacon fat. But don't worry too much about the fat and calories. The batch is big enough that it really doesn't make too much difference to the overall nutrition count.
Often, this recipe is made with guanciale which is pork cheek, but in the modern Aldi dinner world, we're just using simple smoked bacon. Or, feel free to use unsmoked if you prefer.
Crushed tinned tomatoes are the other common ingredient, but when I shopped for this recipe, my local Aldi only had passata and was sold out of crushed tomato tins.
Why You'll Love This Amatriciana
- It's quick and easy.
- Uses mainly pantry ingredients.
- Is very cheap to make.
- Simple enough that even your pickiest eaters will love this.
- tomato passata
- tomato pure
- smoked bacon lardons
- parmesan or grana padano
- chopped parsely
- crushed chilli flakes
Step By Step Instructions
- Boil the pasta according to the package instructions and set aside being sure to reserve some of the pasta water.
Step 1 & 2
Heat the olive or vegetable oil in a skillet or large saucepan. Once the oil is hot and shimmers, add in the smoked bacon lardons.
Cook the lardons over medium heat until they're very golden brown and crispy. Don't rush this step and don't be tempted to turn up to heat. We want to render out the bacon fat nice and slow and not burn the bacon.
Step 3 & 4
Once the bacon is very golden and crispy add in the minced garlic and chopped onion. Saute them until they're soft, fragrant and translucent.
*It will look like the onions have started to colour because the golden bits from the bottom of the pan will start to stick to the onions and garlic.
Add in the tomato pure and the passata or crushed tomatoes if you're using them. Bring everything in the pan to a gentle simmer for about 5 minutes and taste to adjust the seasoning.
Step 5 & 6
Toss the cooked and drained pasta with the sauce and mix in the chilli flakes. Top with chopped parsley and fresh black pepper.
If you would like your pasta sauce a little more silky and saucy, add in some of the pasta water that was set aside for this very purpose.
Adjust your seasoning one last time and taste for chilli flake heat, adding more if you need to. Or just serve some flakes on the side so everyone can adjust their own.
So, while this version of Amatriciana may not be the most authentic out there, it's a solid bacon tomato pasta for any night of the week.
If you make this recipe leave a rating or a comment below and let me know if it's a new favourite! As always, thanks for following along, cooking the recipes and tagging me in your photos!
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) olive oil
- 200 g (7 oz) smoked bacon lardons
- 1 (1) yellow onion, diced
- 2 (2) large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons (3 tablespoons) tomato paste
- 500 g (2 cups) carton passata, or 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 400 g (14 oz) spaghetti cooked according to package instructions
- For serving
- Grana Padano or parmesan
- chopped parsley
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain, reserving about 250ml of the pasta water.
- In a heavy based sauce pan or high sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the smoked bacon lardons and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the fat starts to render out and the lardons are turning golden.
- Add in the onion and garlic and about a teaspoon of salt. continue to cook until they’re both softened and fragrant. This should take about 5 minutes. Mix the tomato pure into the onions and garlic and let cook for about 2 minutes. Pour the passata or chopped tomatoes into the pan and bring to a simmer. Check for seasoning. If the sauce needs thinning out, pour in a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water. Add it sparingly so as not to make the sauce too thin.
- Toss the cooked spaghetti into the sauce to coat all the pasta. Divide between bowls and top with the grated Grana Padano and chopped parsley. Feel free to also top with lots of fresh ground black pepper.
- Reserve some of the pasta water to help loosen the sauce if you find it too thick.