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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs

20 MINPrep Time
30 MINCook Time
by Giada De Laurentiis
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman
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Amatriciana is one of the main famous pasta dishes of Rome, and eating it always brings me back to my childhood. My version of Bucatini All'Amatriciana uses pancetta instead of the traditional guanciale because it's much easier to find in grocery stores! The meatballs are an added spin, too - and stuffed with smoked mozzarella cheese, they're a real crowd-pleaser. If you have trouble finding veal, you can use all regular beef for them as well.

Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs


Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs


Main Course

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

30 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Bucatini All'Amatriciana with Smoked Mozzarella Meatballs


    For The Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces pancetta (diced)
  • 1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14-ounce can tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 pound pasta, such as Bucatini or Bucatini Lunghi
  • For The Meatballs:

  • 1 small (6-ounce onion, grated)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (plus 1/4 cup)
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more for seasoning)
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground veal
  • 2 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese (cut into 16 (1/2-inch) cubes)


  1. For the sauce: In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and reserve. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and the cooked pancetta. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. For the meatballs: Position an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the onion, 1/2 cup parsley, 2/3 cup Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the beef and veal. Using your hands, combine all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into 16 (1 1/2-inch-diameter) meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Make a hole in the center of each meatball and place a cube of mozzarella inside. Reform the meatball so that the mozzarella is completely covered with the meat mixture. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the meatballs and sauce. Toss gently and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and Parmesan.



per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
72 grams
40 grams
36 grams
Saturated Fat
14 grams
133 milligrams
1349 milligrams
4 grams
8 grams
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2 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image
    Teri - Aug 03

    Oh my god! Sooo good! Just made it tonight with pancetta (can’t get pig cheek unless I had time to run to specialty store). Came out so good. My 17 year old twin boys and I could practically drink the sauce. Thank you for the recipes!

  • Author's avatar image
    Lina Arena - Jun 09

    It is in no way amatriciana sauce not only for the pancetta. Your cooking is in no way Italian.

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