Pressure cooker, Sunday dinner
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Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana

A plate of Bucatini all'Amatriciana, with a bowl of cheese and a bag of dried bucatini in the background
Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana. A taste of Amatrice in your kitchen, with pressure cooker tomato sauce and bucatini pasta – if you can find it.

This recipe is inspired by Rachel Handler’s What the Hole Is Going On, a hilarious investigation into why bucatini disappeared during the pandemic. Especially her favorite De Cecco brand.1

Bucatini always confused me. Why would I use spaghetti with a small hole in the middle? But I was swept along by Ms. Handler’s story, and ended it determined to find myself some bucatini to cook with. I made a trip to DeVitis, my local Italian specialty store. Like Ms. Handler, I couldn’t find De Cecco bucatini, so I picked up a few packages from Molinari. (And some canned tomatoes. And sausage. And parmesan. And salted anchovies. And…it’s dangerous for me to go into a specialty food store.)

A closeup on the ends of a handful of bucatini
A closeup on the ends of a handful of bucatini

Amatriciana sauce is a common pairing with bucatini. I’m making it as a variation on my arrabbiata sauce, with cured pork, parmesan, and whole canned tomatoes. I’m pressure cooking the sauce for less time – Amatriciana sauce is chunkier than arrabbiata sauce. I cook the bucatini separately, and stir it into the sauce so the two can finish together.

Looking for a taste of Amatrice in your own kitchen? Want to try a noodle that will make your kids giggle? (My teenagers were fascinated by them – “what do you mean there’s a hole in it?”) Give this recipe a try.

Recipe: Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana

Inspired by: What the Hole Is Going On, Rachel Handler,

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A plate of Bucatini all'Amatriciana, with a bowl of cheese and a bag of dried bucatini in the background

Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana. A taste of Amatrice in your kitchen, with pressure cooker tomato sauce and bucatini pasta – if you can find it.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup white wine (or chicken broth, or water)
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) and their juices
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (1 teaspoon if using low-salt tomatoes, like San Marzano)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces Bucatini pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese (plus more for topping)


  1. Sauté the pancetta, crushed pepper, and onions: Put the olive oil and pancetta in a cold Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, and set the pot to Sauté mode adjusted to medium (medium heat in a stovetop PC). Cook stirring occasionally, until the pancetta starts sizzling, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and let them cook for a minute. Stir in the onion and garlic and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat edged wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits of pork or onion.
  2. Simmer the wine: Pour in the ½ cup of wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute to cook off some of the alcohol. Scrape the bottom of the pot one last time to make sure nothing is sticking.
  3. Add and crush the tomatoes: Add the cans of whole tomatoes, and break them up with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt (if using American tomatoes – add 1 teaspoon of salt if using Italian tomatoes – see notes)
  4. Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a 10 minute natural release: Pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode), or for 12 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta: While the sauce is pressure cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the bucatini according to the package directions. Drain the bucatini, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water for later. Try to time this so the noodles finish at about the same time as the sauce – the drained noodles shouldn’t sit around before they are sauced. My package of bucatini noodles said they cook for 8 minutes, so drop them in the boiling water right as the Natural Release time starts. They’re done about the same time I’m quick releasing the pressure.)
  6. Sauce and serve: Open the pressure cooker, tilting the lid away from you to avoid the hot steam. Add the fresh ground black pepper, then give the sauce a vigorous stir to break up the tomatoes a little more. Add the cooked and drained bucatini into the pot, pour in the ½ cup of reserved cooking water, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, and gently stir and toss until the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce and cheese. Pour the pasta and sauce into a pasta bowl, sprinkle with a little more of the parmesan, serve, and enjoy!


Guanciale – cured pork jowl – is the traditional cured pork used in this recipe. I use pancetta, because guanciale is tough to find in my area; if you can find it, use it instead of the pancetta. If you can’t find either pancetta or guanciale, bacon makes a good substitute.

Check the amount of sodium on the canned tomato nutrition label. If the canned tomatoes have less than 50 mg of sodium per serving (that is, they’re from Italy), add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. If they have more than 170 mg of sodium (that is, they’re from America), only add ½ teaspoon of sea salt. (I couldn’t find any tomatoes that were between those two numbers; if you manage to get some, use ¾ teaspoon of sea salt)

If you can’t find bucatini pasta, substitute spaghetti or penne. My preference is penne, because the hollow shape traps sauce like the bucatini does.


6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot 6-Quart Pressure Cooker)

Flat edged wooden spoon

  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Instant Pot Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Pressure Cooker Bucatini all’Amatriciana

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Instant Pot Arrabbiata Sauce
Instant Pot Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Pressure Cooker Quick Tomato Sauce
My other Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Recipes

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  1. This conspiracy goes all the way to the top! Ahem. Sorry, just got caught up in her story again. ↩︎

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Sunday dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

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