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Remembering Amatrice... Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Michele Scicolone (November 22, 2016)
Before the earthquake that devastated Amatrice and several other towns last August, the rural city northeast of Rome was perhaps best known for its iconic dish, Spaghetti all’Amatriciana. Ironically, the 50th Sagra degli Spaghetti all'Amatriciana was scheduled to occur the weekend of the tragedy.

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana is an ancient dish created by shepherds from a handful of simple ingredients. Modern versions are made with guanciale, cured pork cheek, wine, olive oil or lard, tomatoes, and pecorino cheese. Variations abound, and controversy over what is authentic continues.

The important thing to remember is that many were lost and help is needed for the survivors to rebuild their lives. Charities seeking donations for that purpose can be found on line. At home, why not host a dinner party and invite friends to share a plate of spaghetti and donate to the cause.

Pour the oil into a skillet large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta. Add the guanciale and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until the guanciale is lightly browned.

Add the wine and cook, scraping the pan, until most of the wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Cook, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until almost done. Drain the pasta reserving a little of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the simmering sauce. Cook and toss the pasta over high heat until al dente. Add a little of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Remove from the heat, add the cheese and serve. 

SERVES 6 TO 8

■ 2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL

■ 4 OUNCES GUANCIALE (OR PANCETTA), CUT INTO 3/4 BY 1/4-INCH STRIPS

■ PINCH OF CRUSHED RED PEPPER

■ 1⁄2 CUP DRY WHITE WINE

■ 1 (28 OUNCE) CAN SAN MARZANO TOMATOES

■ SALT

■ 1 POUND BUCATINI OR SPAGHETTI

■ 1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PECORINO ROMANO

For more about cooking, go to www.MicheleScicolone.com 

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