Amatrice is a remote town along a mountainous stretch in northern Lazio, Italy. If you look at a map, it seems to sit right in the middle of the country.
Their website carries this banner:
City of Amatrice, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy
As we all know now, yesterday, at about 3:30 am, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook the region. “The town is no more,” Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi told CNN affiliate Rai of the village, which has a population of around 2,000 people. (CNN)
Before social media and news channels carried the devastating photos, you may have thought you had never heard of Amatrice. Include me in that list, even though we had travelled near that region last year. And then, after reading about the town, I quickly realized that it is home to a favorite pasta dish, Amatriciana, (or pasta alla matriciana), a traditional pasta sauce based on guanciale (cured pork cheek), pecorino cheese, and tomatoes. The recipe dates back to the 1700’s.
This weekend was to be the 50th annual celebration of the town’s Spaghetti all’ Amatriciana Festival.
Instead, hundreds have lost their lives and most that survived cannot return home.
In honor and memory of the town and its people, I plan to make Amatriciana in the next few days. As with all recipes, there are slight variations, so I’ll ask local friends, who are all great cooks, what recipe has been handed down to them over the years.