America’s favorite sandwich gets an Italian makeover, with pasta standing in for the bread, pancetta for the bacon and spicy arugula for the lettuce.

Pancetta is pork belly, same as bacon, but cured with salt and spices rather than smoked. You can use thickly sliced bacon to give your bucatini a smoky flavor.



8ouncesthickly or thinly sliced pancetta (may stubstitute thick-cut bacon; see headnote)

1 12poundscherry tomatoes

1tablespoonextra-virgin olive oil

1pounddried bucatini (also known as perciatelli)

5ouncesbaby arugula leaves

12cupfreshly grated pecorino-Romano cheese


Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt it generously.

Step 2

Cut the sliced pancetta into 1/2-inch cubes or pieces. Cut each tomato in half.

Step 3

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, scatter the pancetta in the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta fat has started to render (melt) and the meat is lightly browned and somewhat crispy.

Step 4

Add the tomatoes to the pan; increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have collapsed and the liquid in the pan has thickened into a sauce. Reduce the heat as needed to keep the sauce barely bubbling at the edges. Taste, and season with salt, as needed.

Step 5

Turn off the heat and cover to keep the sauce warm.

Step 6

Add the bucatini to the boiling water; reduce the heat to medium-high and cook according to the package directions (for al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Step 7

Transfer the bucatini to the skillet and gently toss with the sauce, adding a splash or two of the cooking water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.

Step 8

Add the arugula by the handful and continue to toss for a minute or so, until the greens are wilted.

Step 9

Divide among individual bowls and sprinkle each portion with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Serve warm.

Adapted from “The Glorious Pasta of Italy,” by Domenica Marchetti (Chronicle, 2011).

Tested by Domenica Marchetti and Bonnie S. Benwick; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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More pasta recipes:

Cacio e Pepe Alla Colu

Lemon Spaghettini

Farfale With Salmon, Peas and Sage


Calories: 500; Total Fat: 19 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Cholesterol: 45 mg; Sodium: 1270 mg; Carbohydrates: 62 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 22 g.