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Spicy Tomato Sauce with Pancetta

Use pancetta or the traditional choice for this dish, guanciale. The meat gives this simple sauce a rich flavor. If you buy the meat at an Italian market, have the butcher slice it for you, and then cut it into strips when you get home.

  • yield: Makes 3 cups




  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta or guanciale (, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes with juice, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Cook's Note

SERVING IDEA: Toss with pasta, such as spaghetti, bucatini, cavatelli, macaroni, orecchiette, or penne, and garnish with finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese. MAKE AHEAD: Sauce can be frozen for up to 1 month.


  1. Step 1

    Heat oil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat. Cook pancetta, stirring often, until golden and fat has rendered, about 8 minutes. Add onion and red-pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    Stir in chopped tomatoes with juice, and add salt. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick, about 25 minutes.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2010