Pasta alla'matriciana

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Hello from Rome!

Did you just stop reading?  I would have, to be honest.  I'm sorry.  

I am here in Rome but if it makes you feel any better, I'm minding my budget and thinking about how to create some cool content for this blog and also it's hot as Hades.  Also me and my travel companion are 2 in 17 billion tourists.

top 5 fave pasta meals/all pasta meals are my favorite

top 5 fave pasta meals/all pasta meals are my favorite

I created this blog after 1 gap year, 1 year of college and 1 summer in Europe.  During that time, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to have an extraordinary experience while traveling.  I have read Eat, Pray, Love and also all of the books that it inspired and the fact of the matter is that travel writing has a tendency to skip over the mundane that exists within any amazing trip.  Even in Paris you still have to brush your teeth and tie your shoes, you know?  The moments that make up the stuff of books like Eat, Pray, Love are few and far between.

It took me a long time to realize that, perhaps because I began doing the bulk of my traveling as an unreasonably bright-eyed, hopeful, dreamy eighteen year old.  I told everyone I was going to Spain to meet a Spanish prince and never come back.  I would love to tell you that my tongue was in my cheek when I said that but I think on some level I thought it was possible.

So yes, my point is that I have often been disappointed by experiences abroad.  The things that never fail to make me happy are the following:  great meals, great parks, and sitting alone and reading with either coffee or wine.  My mother takes great pleasure in getting on top of buildings.  Her favorite pastime, I learned last summer while we were in Turkey, is to say "Look at that rooftop bar, how do we get up there?"  And then we would summit that building.

My dad likes to walk.  My brother likes to go to museums.  My greatest pleasure is, obviously, an amazing meal.  But you can't actually fill a whole trip with eating because 1) diabetes, and 2) price.  So I'm wondering what it is that you people like to do.  I know there are a few of you out there who are well-traveled and well-seasoned at it.  So I'd like your tips about how to create those travel-writing worthy moments.  Or at least the ones that you remember as trip highlights!

Think about it over a bowl of this pasta, then please drop some travel knowledge on me!


serves 4

  • 1 pound pasta (I like anything tubular so the meat chunks get hidden but you can use whatever you prefer
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bacon/pancetta/guanciale, cut into matchsticks (guanciale is best here, but can be difficult to find.  See this post for the differences.)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced.
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (28 oz) tomatoes.  The best thing here is to get DOP San Marzano tomatoes, which can be recognized by the image below this recipe.  DOP is Italy's way of saying "this is the good shit."  You want the good shit.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the largest skillet you have to medium high heat (later, you're going to use it to toss a pound of pasta with the sauce).  Drizzle with a little olive oil and add your bacon or guanciale.  Cook until fat is rendered and the meat is crispy.  Add onion and garlic and stir for a minute until softening and fragrant.  Add red pepper flakes and stir until you can smell them.

Add contents of the can of tomatoes to your skillet and stir. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking while you make the pasta.  Add salt and pepper to taste!

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to directions, draining about one minute shy of how cooked you want the pasta to be.  Retain 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

Raise the sauce to high heat and add the pasta and about half the cooking liquid.  Toss/stir with energy!  The sauce will reduce pretty well and will finish cooking the pasta.  When the pasta is cooked, serve.  If the sauce reduces too much, add more of the pasta water.

Serve with lots of black pepper, parmesan cheese and wine. I like white because it is more refreshing and also I'm a rebel and I don't listen to rules.

I served this pasta with roasted broccoli topped with ricotta and more salt and pepper.  If people (my mom) find this dish too spicy, a little ricotta stirred into the sauce can help to cool it off.

Look for a can that says "D.O.P."

Look for a can that says "D.O.P."

then look for this gold and red label!

then look for this gold and red label!

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