Vegetarian Amatriciana (pasta)
Amatriciana is an Italian dish from- you guessed it- Amatrice. Amatrice is a city in central Italy and its iconic sauce has been celebrated for at least the last 200 years, known for its rich tomato flavor and a savory-ness enhanced by the guanciale, a pork product made form cured pork cheeks. Opting to make a vegetarian version of this classic, Chef Jeff swapped the pork cheeks with our Pasilla de Oaxaca chiles, a favorite of ours because of its distinctive and smoky flavor has a real meat-like savory-ness as well.
Another element for this sauce that distinguishes it from other red sauces is that it doesn’t have the same base of Italian Soffrito ingredients of garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Similar to a French “Mirepoix,” Cajun “Holy Trinity,” and the Latin American “Sofrito,” all of these words refers to the same concept of aromatic building blocks that create unique gastronomic signatures in each type of cuisine. Instead of browning these vegetal building blocks, our wine, chiles, and tomatoes are simmered together to allow them marry together before finishing our pasta off in the pan and adding our Pecorino cheese and Applewood Smoked Salt (Jeff specifically went with our applewood salt to suggest a faint fruity type of fruity-ness to complement the flavor of our San Marzano tomatoes and chile-pork substitute).
Though this dish is delicious, its legacy has sadly been marked with some tragedy as its city of origin has recently been devastated by an earthquake in 2016. Despite the horrific incident, the remaining residents of the city remain grounded with their love of family and food.
- Following package suggestions, bring salted water to a boil. Heat olive oil in deep skillet to medium.
- Add Oaxaca chiles to the skillet. Cook approximately 3-4 minutes
- Add pasta to boiling water and stir.
- Add wine to chiles and stir well. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes.
- Remove pasta from water and drain
- Remove sauce from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add pasta and mix well. Add 1oz cheese and mix once more.
- Plate and serve with additional cheese!