Eat for Italy

Restau­rants in Italy are putting pasta am­a­tri­ciana on the menu in sup­port of quake vic­tims in cen­tral Italy. Chefs around the world are urged to fol­low suit.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE -

MORE than 700 Ital­ian restau­rants have added spaghetti all'am­a­tri­ciana to their menus in sol­i­dar­ity with the vic­tims of an earth­quake that de­stroyed the birth­place of the fa­mous pasta dish.

Chefs around the world are be­ing urged to fol­low suit af­ter the Slow Food move­ment threw its weight be­hind the idea, with Bri­tish celebrity chef Jamie Oliver also back­ing the idea and urg­ing cus­tomers to # EatForI­taly.

Ama­trice was one of sev­eral moun­tain vil­lages dev­as­tated by last Wed­nes­day's pow­er­ful quake and it will be some time be­fore the hill­top beauty spot is once again serv­ing up its sig­na­ture dish to the gas­tro­nomic pil­grims who flock there in their thou­sands ev­ery sum­mer.

In the mean­time, am­a­tri­ciana, one of the sta­ples of the cui­sine of Rome and much of cen­tral Italy, is go­ing to be much more widely avail­able thanks to Paolo Cam­pana, a graphic artist from the Ital­ian cap­i­tal.

Un­der an ini­tia­tive he launched on Face­book, restau­rants are be­ing en­cour­aged to put am­a­tri­ciana on their menus and to do­nate two eu­ros ( RM9) from ev­ery dish sold to the re­lief fund for the quake vic­tims. The idea has taken off spec­tac­u­larly with over 700 restau­rants con­tact­ing him by Thurs­day lunchtime to say they wanted to par­tic­i­pate, he told AFP.

“I'm very at­tached to Ama­trice,” he said. “On New Year's eve last year I had din­ner in the Ho­tel Roma which makes the best am­a­tri­ciana in the vil­lage. To­day there is noth­ing of it left.”

The ho­tel Cam­pana was re­fer­ring to col­lapsed in Wed­nes­day's quake, just days be­fore it was due to be at the cen­tre of an an­nual fes­ti­val ded­i­cated to a sauce first cre­ated by shep­herds in the rugged moun­tains that sur­round the vil­lage.

“At the start it was just a rough idea I put up on Face­book. But it has taken off and I've made a lit­tle poster that restau­rants can put up in their win­dows to show they are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ini­tia­tive.

Bri­tish chef joins in

“I've got re­quests from all over Italy, from Puglia to Tus­cany, and also from abroad. I have been asked to trans­late the sign into sev­eral lan­guages to ex­port the scheme. Even restau­ra­teurs who have never cooked am­a­tri­ciana be­fore are go­ing to have a go.”

Carlo Petrini, pres­i­dent of the Slow Food move­ment, urged restau­rants around the world to put the dish on their menus for at least a year. “We hope in this way to keep the pub­lic's at­ten­tion for longer – we have to look be­yond the im­me­di­ate emer­gency and start work­ing from to­day to re­build,” he said.

In a post­ing on his of­fi­cial Face­book page, Bri­tain's Jamie Oliver said he and the 700 chefs work­ing for him would be cooking up the dish for the rest of the month.“It will be on the spe­cials board tonight at Jamie's Ital­ian, and for the rest of the month. pound2 ( 2.35 eu­ros/$ 2.65) from each dish will go straight to the In­ter­na­tional ( Com­mit­tee of the) Red Cross,” he wrote.

“I think we can eas­ily make thou­sands and thou­sands of pounds to help.”

An au­then­tic am­a­tri­ciana

Am­a­tri­ciana is one of those dishes that Ital­ians love to ar­gue about. Although it is al­ways essen­tially a com­bi­na­tion of pork cheek ( guan­ciale), onions, toma­toes and pecorino cheese spiced with a bit of chilli, recipes vary sig­nif­i­cantly, par­tic­u­larly as the dish has been ex­ported around the world.

Some peo­ple use sweet- cured pancetta ( pork belly) in­stead of guan­ciale, others, in­clud­ing the cel­e­brated River Cafe restau­rant in Lon­don, throw in a bit of rose­mary.

Spaghetti is the most fre­quently used pasta but in Rome, where the restau­rant trade is full of na­tives of the Ama­trice re­gion, they favour bu­ca­tini, a slightly thicker noo­dle with a hole in the mid­dle.

There is also de­bate over whether to use red or white wine to deglaze the pan af­ter fry­ing the cured pork and onions to the ( also much dis­cussed) cor­rect de­gree of caramelised crisp­ness.

Against this back­drop of culi­nary con­fu­sion, the lo­cal coun­cil in Ama­trice is­sued a de­cree a few years ago spell­ing out ex­actly how to make an au­then­tic am­a­tri­ciana.

Spaghetti gets the nod as the pasta of choice, no more than a splash of white wine is al­lowed and if you use any­thing other than fatty guan­ciale you must give your sauce an­other name.

“Only with guan­ciale will the dish be in­com­pa­ra­bly del­i­cate and sweet,” the coun­cil warns on its web­site.

San Marzano toma­toes, peeled, seeded and diced, are de rigeur. A tiny piece of fiery dried chilli is all that is re­quired for a sub­tle heat and the grated pecorino must only be added at the end, to the cooked spaghetti just be­fore the sauce. – AFP Re­laxnews

restau­ra­teurs who wish to par­tic­i­pate can ac­cess the link https://www.face­book.com/AMA­tri­cianaAiuti/

peo­ple queu­ing for spaghetti all’am­a­tri­ciana dur­ing a char­ity event in pi­azza san Carlo in Turin, Italy, on Aug 28. — pho­tos: AFp

A pic­ture taken on Aug 27, show­ing a poster of the 50th spaghetti all’Am­a­tri­ciana Fes­ti­val, next to a dam­aged build­ing in the vil­lage of Ama­trice, three days af­ter the 6.2- mag­ni­tude earth­quake struck the re­gion and killed nearly 300 peo­ple.

spaghetti all’am­a­tri­ciana was born in Ama­trice, one of the moun­tain vil­lages dev­as­tated by the quake in cen­tral Italy last Wed­nes­day.

A vol­un­teer serv­ing help­ings of spaghetti all’am­a­tri­ciana dur­ing the char­ity event in pi­azza san Carlo in Turin.

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