Named for Amatrice, a town northeast of Rome, this pasta is traditionally served with a long noodle like bucatini, but we like how shorter penne captures the spicy, meaty bits of sauce inside the tube.
- 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 ounces guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl), finely chopped
- 4 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound penne or other tube-shaped pasta
- Finely grated Pecorino or Parmesan
Purée tomatoes with juices in a blender; set aside. Cook onion, guanciale, pancetta, oil, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 cup water in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and fat begins to render, 8–10 minutes.
Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, 5–8 minutes.
Add reserved tomato purée and bring to a boil. Cover pan partially with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer until meat is tender and flavors are melded, 40–45 minutes. Add sugar, if using; season with salt and pepper.
When sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain pasta.
Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat. Serve topped with Pecorino.
DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 4 days ahead. Let cool, then chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled.