my amatraciana inspired pasta sauce with bacon, zucchini and chilli

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my amatraciana inspired pasta sauce with courgette and chilli

This is was one of my quick knock together meals that I never planned to blog about, but after eating it and realising it was pretty tasty, I decided I wanted to document it for my own records. I want to have this again.

I’m stuck at home this week end sick with a bad dose of sinusitus so felt like something comforting and easy to make for my supper. I tend to cook whatever I have around.

Amatraciana Italian pasta sauce is probably amongst my all time favourites. You cant really go wrong with bacon, tomato and chilli in a sauce. The purists will probably balk at the idea of me even calling this Amatraciana which is supposed to be made from guainciale (dried pork cheek), and whether or not onion is used  is another aspect up for debate. I have also added zucchini because I felt like getting in some greens, but you would need to leave these out if you wanted to keep it more authentic.

So this is my recipe for an Amatraciana inspired pasta sauce with a few extra bits and pieces.

I made this in the time it took to bring the water to the boil and cook the pasta.

This will make enough to feed 2 heartily:

  • aprox 300g of pasta shells or any other pasta of your choice
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 a packet of dry cured bacon (about 125g) cut into medium sized chunks (I prefer streaky for this)
  • 3/4 of a cup of sliced zucchini / courgette
  • 3 cloves of garlic crushed (i like a lot)
  • 2 x 400g tins of peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 1 t of dried smoked chilli flakes or just chilli flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
  • a pinch of sugar or 2
  • 1/4 cup of creme fraiche or cream
  • 2 t of finely chopped fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Fill a pot with water, add enough salt to make it as saline as the sea and bring this to the boil. When its boiling add your pasta and cook until al dente.

While this is going on, start on the pasta sauce. Heat a non stick pan and fry the onion with the bacon until the bacon starts to brown and  the onion has softened. The onion cooks in with the delicious bacon fat that is rendered off . Add the zucchini and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or so and then add the tomatoes, sugar and chilli.  Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary and continue cooking the sauce until the pasta is just about done and then add the creme fraiche and basil. When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately add it to the sauce.

Serve this with a generous handful of freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Wash it down with a nice glass of red wine to enjoy it even more.

deliciously comforting with a nice chilli kick


  1. Beautiful! Authentic or not, this sounds absolutely delicious!

  2. I made this tonight, really yummy!
    Next time I’ll use more chili and parmesan, I didn’t have any so I used gouda instead.
    Also I served it with arugula on top!
    This is something I’ll serve my friends when they come over for dinner!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Great Maren – glad it worked out. 🙂

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