Pasta · Recipes · Sauces

Mrs. Stringozzi goes to America (and Amatriciana my way)

bucatini stringozzi rigatoni amatriciana
A cross-regional recipe, Umbrian stringozzi and Amatriciana sauce, a marriage made in heaven!

About a year ago, in an evening like tonight, I was painstakingly working on the final version of my cookbook. I enjoyed every moment of that process and never for a second I thought what would have happened later. I wrote the book because I love books. I also wrote it because I had a story to tell. Honestly, I never thought it would sell or bring me anywhere. I just thought it was a wonderful project for the long Umbrian evenings.

A year later and after more than 1000 copies have been sold in 3 continents I still cannot believe that in a few weeks I will take off for a book tour in the US. And how exciting! I will bring out my stories about Umbrian rural life as well as my ideas about good food and cooking. I havent’ been across the Atlantic for over 15 years, everything will be like new.

So many friends have generously helped me to organize this trip, hosting me in their homes and arranging for me to present the book at various public events. I could have been away literally for months as I had so many invitations.

It has been difficult to say no and I really wish to visit you all but I can’t be away from my family and from Alla Madonna del Piatto for such a long time. However, I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for every single gesture of generosity that I have received from all of you!

For those who did not know of my trip, please check my posts on FB, I will be in Seattle, Boise, Palm Springs and Nashville. There will be book signing events and, if the location allows, a pasta demo, a glass of Scacciadiavoli fabulous wine and/or a tasting of the delicious olive oil of my good friend Corinna of San Potente.

Come to see me please, if you are nearby, I’d really love to meet you.

Stringozzi all’Amatriciana

  • 120 g (4 oz) diced guanciale
  • 1 recipe fresh stringozzi
  • 600 g (26 oz) tin crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon finely diced onion (about 1/4 onion)
  • a splash of white wine
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated pecorino per person

The Amatriciana or Matriciana is a simple sauce from the village of Amatrice in Lazio. Even though it comes from a village which is 2 hours away from the capital, the recipe is considered a classic of Roman cuisine and it even has a protected status. This is my Umbrian, semi-orthodox adaptation served with our rustic stringozzi. If you have no time to make fresh pasta, you can obviously use the traditional bucatini or rigatoni, about 100 g (3 oz) per person.

In my opinion however, the use of fresh pasta promotes the dish from an everyday meal to a special treat worth of a dinner party.

Method:

In a pan which must be large enough to hold all the pasta, fry the guanciale  in a 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Make sure to cook on low heat and only until just crispy, more and it will be bitter or too salty. Set aside.

In a different pan, saute the onion on low heat in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until translucent then increase heat and deglaze with white wine. Add the crushed tomatoes, lower the heat again, cover and cook for 10 min, until slightly reduced and creamy.

To cook the pasta follow my basic instructions, using a tall stockpot with plenty salted water as explained here.

At this stage it is important to have everything ready and the sauce warm before starting to cook the pasta. Stringozzi overcook easily and becomes a miserable gloppy mess, so please no distraction in the last 5 minutes!

Fresh stringozzi cook in one minute, as soon as they float, heat the pan with the guanciale. When they get to a rolling boil they will be ready but still quite al dente. Strain and transfer into the pan with the fried guanciale, add 1/2 ladle of pasta water and stir vigorously. Add the tomato sauce and the fresh chili pepper and stir some more to incorporate.

Serve immediately with a sprinkle of pecorino and a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil.

Serves 4-5

PS. the stringozzi in the photo are hand cut and hand rolled, so they look thicker than those in the original recipe. The whole chili pepper is for decoration, normally I dice it really small and stir into the pasta as explained above.

As you might have noticed, I only combine all elements, tomato sauce, guanciale, chili, cheese, at the very end, to keep the distinctive flavor of the ingredients.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Mrs. Stringozzi goes to America (and Amatriciana my way)

  1. How Exciting to hear about your book and your tour to our country. I am surprised that you are not coming to San Francisco or the Bay Area. I am told by my friends in the book trade that Italian cookbooks sell well only in New York and San Francisco. If you come to the Bay Area, we would be delighted to host you in our newly renovated boathouse which is over the water on the Oakland Estuary. You can watch the Cal Crew and other rowing teams race past the windows & the dock. From here you can easily reach the entire bay area and the Wine Country, Yosemite & the mountains too. If We can be of any other help to get you here, please let me know.

    Susan Fitzgerald, Alameda, CA 94501

    Like

    1. Hi Susan, it would be fantastic to come to the boathouse and thank you so much for the invitiation! And I absolutely love San Francisco. A major problem of getting my book known to more people is to find a local distributor, something that has proven very difficult so far. r If any of your friends in the book industry would be able to address me to someone I may make it to see you next trip. Thank you so much for offering to help!

      Like

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