When I was in Florence graduating, I brought back some good Fiorentine produce such as ham, wine, balsamic vinegar and some... guancia di maiale! Which means pig cheek! I see you thinking... EEEWWWWW.... but let me try to convince you otherwise: it is definitely not EW, it is YUM!
Bucatini all'Amatriciana is a pasta dish that was made originally by the poor, using leftovers of the pig, old ripened tomatoes and some pasta. Back in the days when people only had resources over one whole pig, and not a plastically wrapped part of it, people used up the whole animal before buying another one. Now that's a different story these days eh?! I mean, if a piece of meat goes bad in your fridge just because you didn't have time to eat it, you throw it away, learn your lesson and next time place it in the freezer until you can eat it...
Anyways, back then, first up were all the good and juicy filets, then the ribs etc etc... until you get to the intestins and other nasty parts of it, which are used in this stew soup that will probably never come up on this blog as I am already repelled by the idea of it *shivers*.
But a pig's cheek is still ok. Combined with big bucatini pasta (big spaghetti's with a hole in it - you could also call them huge macaroni's). MMMM.... Viva Italia and their pasta!
Ingredients: serves 4
- 500gr bucatini pasta
- 200gr guanciale or pancetta if you don't have guanciale - chopped in little cubes
- a glass of cooking white wine
- 2 cans of good quality tomato cubes
How to make it:
Boil a big pan of water with a fist of salt. Once it's boiling, cook the pasta according to the pack.
Heat up a skillet and bake the guanciale or pancetta until it has released all of its fat, add the white wine and cook until it has slightly evaporated. At this point you add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and peperoncino and simmer until the sauce has reduced a bit.
Once the pasta is cooked, sieve it and add it to the sauce while the sauce pan is still on the flame. Add the pecorino at this point and toss it all nicely together for a minute.
Outcome: Delicious and tasty pasta that seems to walk right out of a restaurant.... :)