Bacon and tomato pennette

Pennette all’Amatriciana: Pennette with Bacon and Tomato

Recipe courtesy Mario Batali, from Simple Italian Cooking. Find more Mario Batali recipes in this Traverse Magazine feature.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces thinly sliced guanciale, pancetta, or good bacon
  • 1 red onion, cut lengthwise in half and then into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups basic tomato sauce (see attached recipe)
  • 1 pound pennette
  • Freshly grated pecorino Romano


Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large pot, and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Meanwhile, in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan, combine the olive oil, guanciale, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes; set over low heat and cook until the onion is softened and the guanciale has rendered much of its fat, about 12 minutes. Drain all but 1/4 cup of the fat out of the pan (and set aside to cook your eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast). Add the tomato sauce, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and allow to bubble for 6 to 7 minutes. While the sauce simmers, cook the pennette in the boiling water for about a minute less than the package directions, until still very firm; drain. Add the pasta to the simmering sauce and toss for about 1 minute to coat. Divide the pasta among four heated bowls and serve immediately, topped with freshly grated pecorino. Serves 4.

Photo(s) by Gary Howe