Every year, we forget how fast the transition from summer to fall goes by. One day we’re able to dress with ease in simple summer dresses and gladiators, and the next we wake up feeling an innate need for layers. Where did the time go? While we may still be a bit nostalgic for summer dressing, one thing we can’t wait for is the comfort food of fall. The thought of a steaming bowl of soup is once again bearable, and a warm glass of hot chocolate on a cool night is finally an acceptable treat.
With the influx of fall appropriate dishes also comes one of our favorite genre of cuisine: Italian. That’s not to say we’re not guilty of a few late night summer rendezvous to the pizza parlor down the street, but something about eating a piping hot plate of pasta just makes us feel warm and cozy inside, and ready to take on the winter weather.
For something a bit above par from your classic macaroni and cheese, try Chitarra Alla Amatriciana, (pronounced key-tar-ra alla ama-treet-chee-ama). This pasta dish that originates from the Italian town of Amatrice, is made with a delicious sauce combining red onion, tomato, hot peppers and a form of ham called guanciale.
Chef and owner of PastaBar in Phoenix, Arizona, Wade Moises, gives the classic Amatriciana pasta dish a fresh take with his use of thick chitarra noodles instead of the typical bucatini noodle that is most commonly used in the dish.
Cook up this recipe for a date night in with your significant other, or as a comfort dish to warm your spirit on a chillier day.
You will need:
4 ounces of thick chitarra pasta.
1 ounce of guanciale, cut into small batons
1 ounce of red onion, sliced thick
A pinch of crushed red pepper
4 ounces Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
A small handful of Italian parsley leaves
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
Drop chitarra in boiling salted water and cook until al dente (drop time is about 7 minutes). In a sauté pan, warm enough olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan, and lightly brown the onions. Add the guanciale to the pan and cook until brown and crispy. Then, add the crushed red pepper, plum tomatoes and parsley. Combine the pasta with the sauce in the pan and toss until all the noodles are well coated. Thin the sauce with a little pasta water and cook the pasta in the pan for at least one minute.
2 tablespoons of finely grated Pecorino cheese. To garnish, grate more pecorino cheese over the top of the pasta, and pair with a slice of crusty bread to complete the satisfying meal.