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Penne all'amatriciana

Penne all'amatriciana is a classic of traditional Italian cooking. In an extract from the River Cafe's new cookbook for children, The River Cafe Look Book, we find out how to do it right
Matthew Donaldson

The secret of a successful amatriciana is the combination of the crisp guanciale or pancetta and the soft onion.

Next on The River Cafe's cooking list, try their perfect spaghetti carbonara or spaghetti alle vongole pasta recipes. 

Recipe extracted from The River Cafe Look Book: Recipes for Kids of all Ages  by Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli  (Phaidon, £24.95)

See all the best recipes from the House & Garden archive.

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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
250g (9 oz) pancetta or guanciale, cut into fine matchsticks
2 dried red chillies, crumbled
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
800-g (28-oz) tin plum tomatoes, drained of their juices and crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
300g (10 ½ oz) penne
100g (1 ½ cups) freshly grated pecorino
  1. Method

    Step 1

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.

    Step 2

    Add the pancetta or guanciale and fry over a medium heat for 8 minutes until it becomes crisp.

    Step 3

    Add the chillies, onion and rosemary to the pan, lower the heat and sweat for 15–20 minutes until the onion becomes transparent.

    Step 4

    Add the tomatoes, season and stir well.

    Step 5

    Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. 

    Step 6

    Simmer for 30 minutes until the sauce is very thick.

    Step 7

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.

    Step 8

    Cook the penne according to the packet (package) instructions until cooked but still firm (al dente).

    Step 9

    Drain the penne and add to the sauce.

    Step 10

    Mix well and serve with the pecorino.

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