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ITALY EARTHQUAKE

EARTHQUAKE

Restaurants donate for servings of famous pasta dish

Italian restaurants around the world have been asked to make €2 donations for every plate of Amatriciana pasta served towards Amatrice, one of the towns devastated by Wednesday’s earthquake.

Restaurants donate for servings of famous pasta dish
The famous Amatriciana dish derives from Amatrice, where over 200 died in the earthquake. Photo: ZanPei/Flickr

The fund-raising initiative was launched by food blogger, Paolo Campana, on Facebook yesterday and within hours over 700 restaurants had agreed to sign up.

Over 200 of those who were killed in the quake, the most destructive to hit Italy since L’Aquila in 2009, were in Amatrice, the Lazio town’s mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, said.

The overall death toll on Thursday morning was so far confirmed at 247. Measuring 6.0-6.2 magnitude, the quake also hit the town of Accumoli, also in Lazio, and Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto, in Marche.

Amatrice had been due to host the 50th annual food festival celebrating its signature dish, which uses a centuries-old tomato-based sauce recipe with cured pork cheek, this weekend.

The food festival had seen a rise in the number of visitors to the town, making it harder for authorities to judge how many were there when the earthquake struck in the early hours of Wednesday.

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FEATURE

Italian recipe of the week: The perfect spaghetti carbonara

It has just three ingredients, but a lot of bite: artisan pasta maker Silvana Lanzetta shares her recipe for the perfect carbonara sauce.

Italian recipe of the week: The perfect spaghetti carbonara
An authentic carbonara sauce has only three ingredients. Photo: Flickr/Wine Dharma

Pasta alla carbonara (literally translated as 'coal workers’ pasta') is one of the most well-known and loved Italian delicacies: the creaminess of the eggs contrasting with the crispy guanciale makes it a pleasure to eat.

The origins of carbonara sauce are still uncertain. However, the recipe doesn’t appear until 1944, which prompts some speculations on how this delicious recipe came to be.

READ ALSO: The original recipe for authentic bolognese sauce

The most widely recognized theory is that this beloved Italian dish is an American adaptation of the traditional cacio e ova: when the Allied troops were stationed in Italy toward the end of World War Two, they got fond of pasta cacio e pepe, but to give them a “back home” flavour, they added smoked bacon to the recipe.

Roman people enthusiastically adopted the new dish, and quickly added it to their cooking.

They swapped the bacon for guanciale (the fat from a pig’s cheek) as they already had pasta recipes using guanciale and Pecorino cheese, the other two being pasta alla gricia and bucatini all’amatriciana.

Tips

Don't use Parmesan cheese for this recipe. However, if you're having difficulties finding guanciale, pancetta can be used instead.

Never add cream to the recipe: the creaminess is given by the sheer amount of grated Pecorino – so don't skimp on it! 

READ ALSO: Silvana's ten golden rules for cooking pasta like the Italians

Ingredients

  • 360 g spaghetti
  • 120 g guanciale
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 150 g Pecorino Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Step 1:
In a non-stick pan, fry the guanciale in its own fat until slightly crispy, taking care not to brown it too much.

Step 2:
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and the whole egg with salt and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese until a thick cream is obtained. Add the cooked guanciale and reserve.

Step 3:
Cook the spaghetti al dente. Reserve about 100 ml of the cooking water. Drain the pasta well, and immediately pour the pasta into the bowl with the eggs. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg.

Step 4:
Add a little bit of the reserved cooking water, and mix well so as to coat all the pasta. If the sauce is still too dense, add some more cooking water. If too runny, stir in more cheese.

Step 5:
If necessary, season with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately sprinkled with extra grated Pecorino cheese.


Silvana Lanzetta. Photo: Private

Silvana Lanzetta was born into a family of pasta makers from Naples and spent 17 years as a part-time apprentice in her grandmother’s pasta factory. She specializes in making pasta entirely by hand and runs regular classes and workshops in London.

Find out more at her website, Pastartist.com, including this recipe and others.

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