Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana

Looking for a new tomato sauce for Sunday dinner?  Then try our delicious Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana!  It is a thick, rich, and savory tomato sauce that is made with 6 ingredients (not including water or salt) and served over rigatoni pasta. 


A white pasta dish filled with rigatoni pasta with tomato sauce.

Delicious meal for family and friends

Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana is a pasta dish we love to make on Sundays and especially for special occasions. It is one of our recipes for The Sunday Sauce!

Rigatoni all’ Amatriciana is so good and so flavorful, that you’ll want to scoop up every bit of the sauce and enjoy eating it to the last drop!  Trust me on this one… This tomato sauce is a tried and true recipe and one of our all-time favorites.

A great dish to serve family and friends.  It presents itself as an elegant pasta dish and everyone will think you worked all day to make this sauce.  


What is Amatriciana sauce?

Amatriciana Sauce is exquisite and different from other tomato sauce recipes such as our Classic Bolognese Sauce, Braciole Sauce or our Mom’s Quick Marinara Sauce.  

It is a classic Roman dish. This tomato sauce is made with lots of onions, Italian imported peeled tomatoes, chopped pancetta, and pepper flakes. And it is usually served with rigatoni pasta. It is so common in Rome, Italy, you can bet you will find this dish on every menu in any trattoria in Rome.

Notes and Tips 

  • This tomato sauce gets its rich, savory flavors from slow cooking for at least 1 hour. 
  • But, more importantly, its flavors come from the infusion of sweet onions, smokyflavored pancetta, and a spicy kick from the pepper flakes.
  • Simple ingredients combined with the Italian imported sweet plump tomatoes, make this sauce SO flavorful and intensely delicious!  It’s truly amazing!
  • No need to add any salt; at least we don’t feel the need to add salt since the salty pancetta gives enough sodium to the sauce.  But if you prefer, go ahead and add some to the sauce. 
  • Toss some butter into the pasta after it is drained and before it is topped with the sauce. It adds a rich and creamy base to the pasta and will complement the tomato sauce on top. 
  • Also, this sauce is best paired with large kinds of pasta such as Rigatoni, Penne, and Ziti.

Ingredients Needed

These basic ingredients are what make this tomato sauce very unique. For this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • extra-large onion
  • crushed red pepper
  • pancetta
  • Italian Imported peeled tomatoes (I used Cento)
  • fresh basil leaves, and extra for garnish
  • A package of imported rigatoni pasta
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, served at the table


A forkful of rigatoni pasta with tomato sauce on top.

How to Make it (*full recipe card on the bottom)

Amatriciana sauce is a slow-cooked tomato sauce. From start to finish, it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. And it is cooked on low heat on stovetop.

A white plate filled with rigatoni pasta with tomato sauce on top.

Storing and Freezing

To Store: Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Then keep it chilled in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

To Freeze: Place the container in your freezer. It will freeze well, and for up to 1 month.

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Yield: 6 servings

Rigatoni all'Amatriciana

Rigatoni all'Amatriciana

Rigatoni all' Amatriciana is a thick, rich, and savory tomato sauce that is served over rigatoni pasta. This spectacular tomato sauce is easily made with just 6 ingredients (not including salt or water). A delicious sauce with powerful flavors that will explode inside your mouth with every bite!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 extra-large onion- finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 4-ounces chopped pancetta
  • 1 (35-ounce) can of Italian Imported peeled tomatoes ( I used Cento)
  • 5 large fresh basil leaves, and extra for garnish
  • 1 cup of water, and extra if needed
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 pound Rigatoni pasta
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at the table


  1. In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat olive oil and add the chopped onion, crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh basil. Turn down the heat to the lowest and simmer until the onion is softened and golden color, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, in a small saucepan, add the pancetta and cook the pancetta on low heat for about 3 minutes until it's fully cooked and brown. Transfer only the cooked pancetta to the onions, and discard the excess fat left in the pan.
  3. Next, open the can of peeled tomatoes and pour them into a blender to puree for a few seconds. Then pour the pureed tomatoes into the large heavy saucepan already with the onions and cooked pancetta mixture. Stir in the water, and cover with a lid. Bring the heat up high to bring it to a full boil.
  4. Once it comes to a full boil, then lower the heat to simmer the sauce for 1 hour, UNCOVERED, and occasionally stirring every so often. The sauce will thicken as it slowly cooks. Turn off the heat, give it a last stir and keep covered. Taste the sauce, if you prefer, you can season it with some salt, to taste.
  5. Fill a large pot with 3/4 water and bring to a full boil ( over high heat) add 2 tsp. of salt. Toss in the rigatoni pasta and cook according to the directions on the box, or until it's al-dente. Drain. Return the pasta back to its pot. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the pasta. Stir rigatoni until the butter completely melts. Now it's ready to serve.
  6. Ladle each dish with some Rigatoni pasta, then ladle some Amatriciana sauce on top. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.
  7. Serves 4 to 6


Always keep some extra fresh basil leaves on the side to chop them and use them as garnish. Garnishing with fresh chopped basil always adds a special element to this dish as well as other pasta dishes. Sprinkle a few on top of each dish before serving.
While simmering the sauce, if the sauce gets too thick, just add a little more water. Store leftover Amatriciana sauce for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 1 month.

Nutrition Information:


6 servings

Serving Size:

1 serving

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 426Total Fat: 36.1gCarbohydrates: 15.6gFiber: 3.5gSugar: 5.6gProtein: 10.3g

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Had this last evening with friends. Everyone raved about it. It’s a keeper!!

    1. That’s AWESOME!! So happy to hear and welcome to our blog, Cheryl – it’s so nice to meet you! Have a great weekend! 🙂

      1. Can you give me some clarification please. At the end of step 3, it says to stir in water and cover. Step 4 begins “simmer uncovered for 1 hour”. Should it be UNCOVERED while simmering?

        1. Hi Cindy, let me take a look. Ok, I just realized I missed a few words to explain that better ( and then I will go back in to edit it) At the end of step 3, YES you cover it to “bring it to a boil” ( Otherwise, it will take forever to get it to a boil). Then step 4, once it comes to a full boil, then simmer on low heat, UNCovered to allow the sauce to slowly thicken as it cooks. I hope this helps! AND, thanks so much for bringing it to my attention.
          Have a great night!

          1. Thank you kindly for responding promptly. And for editing the recipe. This helps tremendously.

          2. You are so welcome! Thank you, Cindy! 🙂 Hope you’ll try some of our new recipes soon!

  2. I love the sound of the pancetta in this recipe. Sounds delicious and I am definitely in the mood for pasta right now!

  3. Made this DELICIOUS recipe! I didn’t know if I was supposed to use the juice in the tomato can, so I did to be safe. It made the sauce very thin so I simmered about 20 minutes extra. Sauce still thin-ish so I would not use all the juice next time. It is wonderful! Family LOVED it!
    Me too. 🙂

    1. HI Tracy!! So happy to hear your family loved our recipe! We always toss in the peeled tomatoes with it’s juice into the blender, especially if its the Cento brand. However, next time you make this recipe, try simmering the sauce on low heat uncovered for the first half hour and see if the sauce will thicken. It should do the trick. And if it gets too thick, you can always add in a small amount of water. I hope this helps! Thanks again for the lovely comment! 🙂