Tuesday, March 11, 2008


When mum and I studied Italian two years ago, our teacher - an absolute Fellini-esque character who was such a pleasure to learn with - gave us study CDs to listen to during the week. One of the very first lessons was describing bucatini all'amatriciana - you know, un pomodoro, il pomodoro, i pomodori, dei pomodori - and I fell gaga over the sound of this dish. The recipe, yes, but moreso just the name of it. Bucatini all'amatriciana. Like Elizabeth Gilbert and attraversiamo, bucatini all'amatriciana to me is beautiful to hear and say. I'd listen to the CDs in the car (admittedly, not nearly as much as I should have) and sing out the recipe with molto piacere.

One of the ingredients is guanciale, another gorgeous Italian word. And when I saw it at the Italian deli Susan took us to in Leiden on Saturday, I pounced on it. I'd never seen it before, and those lessons - pomodori, cipoli cipolla, aglio, guanciale, peperoncino - came back to me. I couldn't wait to make this Roman, and of course, highly contested, pasta.

The store didn't have bucatini, so spaghetti it was. I didn't want the guanciale crisp, but instead preferred to cook it with the onion and garlic briefly and let the tomatoes warm the fragrant fat throughout the sauce. Lots of pepper, a kick of chili. The unique flavour of the guanciale lingers, with it's sweet-spiced crust. Because it's air-cured, it's not smokey like bacon or pancetta, and I'd love to try it in ragus. I've kept some extra fat for scrambled eggs tomorrow. Squisito.


deborah said...

yum! the name itself is tasty. i'll have to check out my deli soon :)

Cookie said...

mmmmmmmmm :-)