My lucky sister Laura went to Rome recently for a romantic get-away with her fiancee Paolo.
Laura went to university in Rome and she knows the city very well so the real reason they went there was actually to eat! So they said.
Paolo is one of the greatest food-lovers I know. It is typical Italian behaviour to think of your stomach first but for Paolo food is paramount and he knows basically everything you can possibly know about it: from how to make a fab pizza dough, where to find the best cheeses and the finest wines in the area.. I always ask him for the best places to eat when I am in Italy but what strikes me most is his radiant and sunny personality as he is always happy.
Now do you see what I mean? In my experience people who love food are also fun to be with and have a general happy go lucky- positive attitude to life. So everything else follows: you enjoy food = you are happy= you feel good=people want to be with you!
The morale of the story is: enjoying good food is good for you.
I have seen the pair going through many courses, pastries and cakes and with Laura being so slim I really I don’t know where all her food goes!
Rome is a magical and fascinating place and there is so much cultural and archeological stuff to see that it can be overwhelming. Also with the Romans being so funny, open and friendly that’s definitely where you want to head to if you have never been to Italy before.
Think of what Rome was like during Roman times.. a city which was extremely modern and advanced for those days: Rome had a sophisticated and powerful society which had a profound impact on the pre-industrial world.
Roman cities had some features which resemble very much our modern cities: high rise apartment blocks, busy streets, piazzas, well built roads, advanced sewage systems and so on.
Paolo and Laura had a fantastic Amatriciana pasta which is a typical Roman dish.
The rite of eating spaghetti has been featured in many Italian films which depicted the joy of simple life pleasures such as eating a bowl of pasta.
So now…. ladies and gentleman it is my turn to make my Amatriciana pasta.
This pasta was created in Amatrice, in the province of Rieti in the Lazio region. The original recipe is with spaghetti but in Rome they use bucatini, a thicker type of spaghetti with a hole in the middle.
To make Amatriciana you need guanciale, salt cured pork jowl which is similar to bacon (pancetta) but fatter and tastier.
As guanciale was not easy to find, I have used bacon instead as it is quite a good substitute for this dish.
- Prep Time : 15 minutes
- Cook Time : 20 minutes
In a pan bring some salty water to the boil.
In the meantime in a frying pan put a tbsp of olive oil, add the bacon cut into strips. Cook until the bacon looks nice and golden in colour whilst stirring all the time.
Take the bacon out of the pan, set aside and keep warm. Add the tomatoes, a dash of wine and the chopped chilli to the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the bacon to the sauce and a tbsp of olive oil. Stir well.
Cook the pasta al dente and then add it to the pan with the tomatoes and the bacon. Cook for another minute stirring well to allow the pasta to absorb the sauce.
Serve with plenty of grated pecorino cheese.