The small town of Amatrice was almost totally destroyed in the recent earthquake. Many restaurants all over the world are serving Gricia or ‘Matriciana pasta, and donating the money for the earthquake relief.
The 50th ‘Matriciana festival was due to take place a couple of days after the quake, and many visitors were in town for this event.
I am inviting all my readers to cook one of the versions given below and if you enjoy the dish to make a small donation to the relief fund.
Spaghetti alla gricia
and Bucatini alla ‘Matriciana
Spaghetti from Griciano and Amatrice
This rustic recipe comes from Griciano, in the Sabine hills, not far from the town of Amatrice. Romans took the dish, and made it their own, as they did with the Sabine women in ancient times !
This is the authentic recipe from Amatrice, as cooked in the past by the shepherds, with no garlic or onion.
500 g bucatini or spaghetti
200 g guanciale cut in to match sticks
(pancetta or streaky bacon can be used if necessary but the flavour will not be so special)
100 g freshly grated Pecorino cheese
1 T olive oil
small chilli pepper
1 T white wine
Gently heat 1 T olive oil, add the chilli, and let the guanciale fat slowly melt into the oil. Cook gently until golden brown. Let some of the guanciale crisp up. I usually can’t resist stealing some of these. Cook’s perk ! Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan after discarding the chilli. Return the guanciale to the pan and keep warm.
Cook the pasta in briskly boiling salted water, drain, and stir into the pan, adding the pecorino and stirring well.
When a little peeled, chopped tomato is added the dish becomes pasta alla ‘Matriciana. Traditionally bucatini are used for the ‘matriciana but they are very messy to eat as they are too thick to twirl neatly round the fork. Locally they are known as ‘sporca camicie’ because it is almost impossible not to get a dirty shirt.
The modern version with onion and garlic adds them finely chopped, after removing the guanciale and before adding the wine. Once they have softened the tomatoes are added if you are making the ‘Matriciana.
Donate to the Italian Red Cross
You can donate to the Italian Red Cross by clicking here. A fund has also been set up by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), where you can donate with international currencies.
Donate via your mobile phone
Italian telecom firms Tim, Vodafone Italy, Fastweb, Coopvoce, Wind and Infostrada have set up a donation service. You can donate €2 by texting 45500 or dialing the same number from a landline.
Donate by US Mobile Phone
Text ITALY to 80100 to donate $10 to Italy Earthquake Relief Fund. Message and data rates may apply. Only works for US mobile phones.