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Traditional Christmas Dinner is always special: a beautiful table setting, Christmas carols playing in the background, a roaring fire, gifts under the tree, family and friends gathering for a delicious meal. Pasta is loved by most, despite it not being keto friendly. It’s Christmas, put aside your diet and enjoy a pasta with a wonderful tomato based sauce with a different derived flavor from pancetta or guanciale.

Ingredients, based on 1lb of pasta:

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 extra-large vidalia onion – finely chopped

¼ tsp of red pepper flakes

4 oz. of chopped pancetta or guanciale

1 (35 oz) can of Italian imported whole peeled tomatoes

10 or more Basil leaves

Salt to taste

1lb Rigatoni pasta

3 tbsp of butter (unsalted)

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at the table

Fresh ricotta cheese on top


1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add the onion, red pepper flakes and fresh basil. Simmer until onion is softened and golden color, about 6 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan, with a small amount of olive oil, cook the pancetta for about 3 minutes. Transfer just the pancetta, leaving out the excess fat. (some people keep the fat in the sauce for a stronger flavor)

3. Open the can of whole tomatoes and remove the center core by hand, crushing the tomatoes. If you prefer a pureed tomato sauce, put in a blender. Add ½ cup of water and cover with a lid.

4. On low heat, uncovered, cook the sauce for at least 1 hour, stirring the sauce every so often. You want the pancetta to soften.

5. Taste the sauce, you can add salt and more red pepper flakes if desired.

6. Use a large pot with ¾ water, bring to a boil, toss in the pasta and add 2 tbsp of salt to the water. Cook till al-dente, following the time directions on the pasta package (varies depending on brand and/or fresh pasta).

7. Drain the pasta. Throw back in the pot, add 3 tbsp of butter and stir until butter melts.

8. Add some of the sauce to the pasta and 1 tbsp of grated cheese and stir.

9. Ladle each dish with some pasta, add some Amatriciana sauce to the top. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve with grated cheese at the table, add as desired.

1 Comment

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janet vitiello
janet vitiello
Feb 17
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Vince loves the flavor of this red sauce.

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