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+ servings
Two white bowls stacked with corkscrew pasta tossed in tomato sauce.

Cavatappi Amatriciana

My Cavatappi Amatriciana recipe tastes just like the famous pasta side dish served at Carrabba's Italian Grill. This Roman classic pasta sauce is made from scratch in under an hour. This pasta recipe is one your family will be asking for second and third helpings.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 352kcal
Author Katie


  • Stove Top


  • 3 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 oz. Guanciale or Pancetta diced
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 small Carrot peeled and minced
  • ½ medium Onion minced
  • ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 28 oz. Can Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 lb. Cavatappi Pasta
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano grated


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add cracked black pepper; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high; add garlic, carrots, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add chili flakes; cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in tomatoes, breaking them into bite size pieces with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer with lid on, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 20–25 minutes. Season with salt; keep warm.
  • While sauce cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt to the pasta water. Add pasta and cook until just al dente, 6–8 minutes.
  • Reserve ½ cup pasta water from the pot then drain pasta. Heat reserved sauce over medium heat. Add pasta and reserved water; cook, tossing, until sauce clings to pasta, 2–3 minutes. Add ½ cup Pecorino; toss. Divide between serving bowls; serve with remaining Pecorino. Top with chiffonade threads of basil if desired.


  • Time Saver Tip - I have found Pancetta pre-diced and packaged in the cold meat section by the deli.
  • Meat - For this recipe you need either Guanciale or Pancetta. This is a cured meat that will add so much flavor to the sauce.
  • How to Break up Whole Tomatoes - I will dump the can of tomatoes into the pot. Then use either a wooden spoon or a ground beef chopper to break the tomatoes into bite size pieces.
  • Toppings - I love to add additional grated cheese and fresh basil to my pasta. I like to stack all the basil leaves on top of each other, then tightly roll, and thinly slice. This is called a chiffonade.
  • Double Sauce - If you love this sauce as much as I do you can make double the sauce, then divide half of it and freeze it for a future easy dinner.


Serving: 1c | Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 1161mg | Potassium: 386mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1220IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg