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Rigatoni with Bacon, Onion and Balsamic Vinegar (Mezze Rigatoni all’Amatriciana a Modena)

This recipe originally appeared on the Rachael Ray Show. For more recipes and videos from the show visit


  • About 3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 ounces meaty guanciale or pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or Acacia honey
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon aged Balsamic vinegar (the thicker the better)
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 Parm rind (cut off your Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese chunk!)
  • 1 pound mezze rigatoni, rigatoni or penne rigate
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to toss and serve


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

Heat a large saucepot or skillet over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, 3 turns of the pan. Add guanciale or pancetta and render 2-3 minutes; add onions, sugar or honey, salt and pepper. Add bay leaves and partially cover to soften, 5-6 minutes. Add stock and balsamic, and let it evaporate into the onions, 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and Parm rind, breaking the tomatoes up with a spoon. Simmer until ready to serve.

Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions to al dente, reserving 1 cup starchy water before draining.

Remove bay leaves from sauce. Toss pasta with sauce, starchy water and a handful of cheese. Serve in shallow bowls with more cheese passed at the table.

Rachael Ray