penne and PV SV kitchen LR Square

Penne All’ Amatriciana




  • ¾ lb. pancetta, finely diced (can substitute bacon)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • ½ cup Italian parsley leaves
  • ½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.

Finely dice the pancetta or bacon.

Thinly slice the garlic gloves.

Thinly slice a medium-sized red onion.

Heat a large (12” – 14”) sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the diced pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered, and the pieces of pancetta are starting to caramelize.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and place it in a small bowl. Leave the fat in the pan.

Return the pan to the heat and add the garlic and onion to the fat. Cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Return the pancetta to the pan and stir together. Add the salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat while you cook the pasta.

Cook the penne until al dente. Reserve 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups of the pasta water, then drain the pasta through a colander and hold in a warm place.

Place the pan back on the stove top over medium high heat. Add the tomato paste and pasta cooking water to the pancetta mixture and whisk together to make a thick sauce. When it comes to a simmer and begins to reduce, add the penne and the parsley leaves to the pan. Stir to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. Cook for 2 minutes just to heat throughout. Remove from heat.

As a finishing touch, squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over the pasta.

To serve, divide the pasta among four bowls and top with the grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.

Sarah Scott
Chef/Culinary Consultant


You can make many substitutions for this dish. You can use bacon instead of pancetta and dried parsley if you don’t have fresh parsley. Just remember dried herbs are much more concentrated so you use a lot less in the recipe – around a teaspoon. Alternative pastas include bucatini.


Squeeze a little fresh lemon over the finished pasta when pairing with wine to further enhance the pairing by matching the acidity.