Amatrice and its famous
Before the devastating earthquake on 24th August this year, the quaint town of Amatrice, built on a rocky spur above the Tronto and Castellano rivers 65 miles from Rome, was famous for its 14th century religous landmarks, its pasta dish ‘spaghetti all’Amatriciana’ and also for the ‘double pipes’ musical instrument. The double pipes were played to accompany brides from their homes to the church during traditional ‘Amatrice’ wedding ceremonies. The city also hosted an elite cycling race in 2015.
Unfortunately during the terrible earthquake, not only did many people lose their lives, loved ones and homes, but almost the entire historic town was destroyed, eliminating medieval traces including ancient churches, monuments, towers, paintings and walls.
On the internet you can find many versions and variations, but here we have the original recipe for you to try. It uses 6 mains ingredients for the sauce, as by tradition, and is quite easy to make.
*I have added unsmoked pancetta to the list of ingredients as I immagine that you may not find pork jowl very easily. Although this alternative tastes wonderful, in an Italian kitchen it may be frowned upon as the pork jowl has a more delicate flavour than the pancetta, so it isn’t exactly the same.
Ingredients for 4 people
350g Spaghetti /Bucatini
350g Passata sauce or 350g peeled and finely chopped San Marzano tomatoes.
100g cubed ‘guanciale’ (pork jowl) or *unsmoked pancetta
75g grated mature pecorino cheese
1g finely chopped fresh red chili pepper
50g dry white wine
A pinch of black pepper
10g olive oil
- Lightly brown the pork jowl or pancetta in a pan with a drop of water.
- Add the chili pepper and the wine, stir, and shortly after add the passata or finely chopped tomatoes.
- Cover and leave to simmer over a low flame for 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Heat a large pan of salty water and add the spaghetti once the water starts boiling.
- Cook the spaghetti until it’s ‘al dente’ and then strain and put it back into the empty pan, add a handful of the pecorino cheese and gently stir.
- Add the hot sauce straight onto the spaghetti and then stir again.
- Serve immediately and top with a generous handful of grated pecorino cheese, a drop of quality extra virgin olive oil and some fresh black ground pepper.
Last but definetely not least, pour some full bodied quality red wine…and love it !!!
photo credits: pecorino romano