Saturday, August 27, 2016

Honoring the Sagra degli Spaghetti all'Amatriciana

This post today is dedicated to all those whom lost their lives and the towns that were destroyed by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Italy this past Wednesday August 24th, 2016. Some of the towns affected in central Italy were Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto, Norcia and others. As many of you have probably heard much of the detail I won't reiterate this terrible tragedy. The pictures are heartbreaking. The death toll is close to 300 and growing with hundreds injured.

Chiesa del Sacra Cuore in Capricchia
Chiesa del Sacra Cuore in Capricchia by Bruno

According to CNN the town that got hit the hardest was Amatrice with over 180 deaths. A fellow Italian blogger, Mike Madaio of Undiscovered Italy, came up with a fantastic idea to host a #virtualsagra as this weekend would've marked the 50th anniversary of the Sagra degli Spaghetti all'Amatriciana meaning Festival of the dish, spaghetti all'amatriciana. The festival is held every year on the last weekend of August. This dish hails from the town of Amatrice located in the Lazio region of Italy around 60 miles northeast of Rome.

Town of Amatrice in Lazio Italy
The town of Amatrice by Simone Tagliaferri
Destruction in the town of Amatrice
Amatrice by Simone Tagliaferri
I've actually never prepared spaghetti all'amatriciana before because I'm not one for anything that has a kick to it (in this case chili), but in honor of this tragedy it's a must to prepare this dish to honor Amatrice through food and wine. It's a rather simple dish to prepare with few ingredients including spaghetti (although many use bucatini), pecorino cheese, chili and guanciale. Guanciale, pork butt, is used in this dish, but with short notice of preparing for this and having a newborn I wasn't able to escape to hunt that down, but you can substitute this dish with bacon or pancetta. This is also a dish well enjoyed in Rome where tomatoes are an additional ingredient, which I prefer myself. I topped it with some Tuscan extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil.  I'll discuss more about the wine, Montupoli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and pairing when I write about the wine in an upcoming blog.

Montepoli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo with Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
Unfortunately this festival won't be taking place this year and who knows what the future brings, but we can all pray for the families whom have lost loved ones and the long road ahead for these towns in rebuilding their history, homes and lives. I'm offering some links for you to be able to go to and donate as well. I can't say I've been to this area specifically, but as a fellow Italian American a donation is the least I can do to help and I hope you feel the same way too. It's important we support each other in this world as you never know when the time may come that you would need the support in return.

Croce Rossa Italian (Italian Red Cross)

Buon weekend! 
Sagra degli spaghetti all'amatriciana


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