My husband Jack and I have always had a soft spot in our hearts for Italian foods. For Jack – coming from a big Italian family – the cuisine of Italy is steeped in his blood. As for me – I always joke with Jack that I was destined to marry an Italian guy because I love the food so much! And if you’ve read this about us, you already know that Jack and I spent time in Italy on our honeymoon – so it’s a place near and dear to our hearts.
We were sad – like the rest of the world – when we learned about the destructive earthquake last week in Amatrice, Italy and the surrounding small towns. Amatrice is perhaps best known for Spaghetti all’Amatriciana – a simple, flavorful pasta dish made with cured pork cheek, San Marzano tomatoes, Pecorino cheese, and dried red pepper flakes.
Ironically, this past weekend, the town of Amatrice had also planned to host the 50th Sagra Deglie Pasta all’ Amatriciana – a festival that was to have celebrated the famous Spaghetti all’Amatriciana recipe. So instead, foodies around the world are using the missed occasion to raise funds to help the earthquake victims.
Restaurants are adding Spaghetti all’Amatriciana to their menu and donating a portion of their proceeds to earthquake relief. Food writers, bloggers, and other culinary professionals are inviting friends over for dinner, preparing Spaghetti all’Amatriciana, and making a donation. Some are sharing photos of their meals on social media with the hashtag #VirtualSagra to help raise even more awareness for the fundraising efforts to benefit Amatrice.
You can read more about relief efforts here.
In this post we are sharing photos of the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana we prepared at home this past weekend. It’s a simple meal that cooks up in just minutes but the flavors are so fantastic! That distinctive San Marzano tomato sauce is wonderfully complemented by the richness of the pork, and some freshly cracked black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes add a gentle, zesty heat to this simple sauce.
Whether you decide to donate or not (and we hope you will), you will love this classic Italian dish!
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.Print
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces guanciale(or a good quality pancetta), cut into thin strips about ¼-inch by ¾-inch
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 15-ounce can whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 ounce Pecorino cheese (if using Pecorino Romano, use less salt for seasoning), plus more for serving
- Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil on the stove in preparation for cooking the pasta.
- While the pasta water heats up, add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add guanciale (or pancetta) and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and cooked through – approximately 5 minutes.
- Add white wine and simmer, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the wine evaporates, about 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and heat to a gentle simmer.
- As the pasta water comes to a boil, begin cooking the spaghetti. Cook until just shy of al dente – about 1 minutes less than the cooking time on your box of pasta. Once cooked, using tongs, transfer spaghetti to the skillet of sauce and ladle in ¼ cup of the water used to cook the pasta.
- Turn up the heat under the pasta and sauce and cook, tossing constantly until the sauce thickens and coats the spaghetti.
- Remove skillet from the heat and sprinkle in the Pecorino, tossing the pasta again so that the cheese is mixed throughout. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately with additional cheese over the top.
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