Traditional Italian Food: Amatriciana or Matriciana?

Which came first and which tastes better?!


The well-known dish Amatriciana, also known as Matriciana, bears a long and fascinating history.  Some claim the dish originated in Amatrice, in the central region of Italy.  The story goes that it was brought to Rome by shepherds escaping the cold winter and selling some of their regional products.  Typically, they consisted of Pecorino and Guanciale (cheek of the pork), also the basic ingredients of Amatriciana.

Even though Amatriciana may have originated in Amatrice, the Romans made it their own by giving it their own flair.  Their version, called Matriciana, may include onions and the use of olive oil instead of lard to cook the sauce.  Romans also changed up the pasta, from spaghetti to bucatini, spaghetti with a hole, and used Pecorino Romano cheese rather than the milder cheese used in Amatrice.

The name change was more than knocking off the “A.” The name is based on the word Matrice, which is the identification number on the right cheek of the pigs, tattooed on those from the Amatrice region.  The cheek was the cheapest cut at the time, but still juicy, sweet and fatty, making it the best choice for the recipe.

The Amatriciana Recipe includes the following ingredients:
  • Spaghetti
  • Guanciale of Amatrice
  • Casalino tomato (Plum tomato)
  • Pecorino of Amatrice
  • Lard
  • Red chili, not too spicy
  • Salt, when cooking pasta
The Matriciana ingredients are:
  • Bucatini
  • Guanciale
  • Casalino tomato
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Red chili, not too spicy
  • Salt, when cooking pasta
The cooking process is simple:

Soffritto: Heat an even layer of lard or oil in a pan on a high heat, then add guanciale and chili, turning often.

When the guanciale is golden and crispy, add your tomatoes and boil the mixture for about 10 minutes.

Make your pasta while you wait, stopping just before it’s done.  Drain

Mix your pasta with the sauce and add grated pecorino, let it cook a bit longer all together and viola!

Take Your Pick!

The differences are obviously minor, and the process is the same, except for the substituted ingredients.  Instead of warming lard in the pan for Amatriciana Recipe, heat the oil for Matriciana, and add your pasta choice.

You’ll find there is a difference in taste, but both are delicious.  Pick your favorite when you choose to enjoy this yummy Italian cuisine.

Roman Artichokes, another Traditional Italian food

Very popular in Rome, especially in the spring (roughly February to June), are artichokes.  A hearty flower-like plant with tough outer leaves, you peel away the layers, one by one, to reveal a tender, melt-in-your-mouth heart.

Prepared in a variety of ways, stuffed or steamed in their whole form, or as olive-marinated hearts in pasta dishes, on sandwiches, or on pizza.

In Rome, they’ll be served two main ways, Roman Style or Jewish Style.  Both are delicious.

Roman style calls for braising them with olive oil and garlic, and in the Jewish style are deep fried whole.

If you can handle the bitter flavor, you can take your artichokes in a liquid form called Cynar; an after-dinner drink said to aid digestion.  There’s even a cocktail based on Cynar if that’s your preference.


Artichokes are considered one of the world’s oldest medicinal plants, high in antioxidants, fiber, aid digestion and reduce cholesterol.  Their use dates back to the early 4th century B.C. in Ancient Rome and Greece.  Although native to the Mediterranean region, grown today in many parts of the world.

The leaves are said to be an effective hangover remedy, so you may give that a shot next time you’re suffering the morning after.  You can buy it in supplement form if you don’t want to keep a supply in the fridge.



We are one of the premier Italian Restaurants in Allen, TX, offering home-made
traditional Italian cuisine.  Come visit us today at: 121-B N. Greenville Allen, TX
75002, Phone: 972-390-2189

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial