Welcome back to my Italian corner!
Today, I would like to talk about a spectacular dish I had on my last two trips to Rome. This creation is a "fishy" modification of the classic amatriciana sauce, typical of the Lazio region in Italy. Let me explain what is meant by "fishy".
First of all, amatriciana is a very rustic and "earthy" pasta sauce, which originates from the town of Amatrice, near Rieti in Italy. It is a tomato sauce containing olive oil, onions (at least in Roman cuisine) and guanciale, which is bacon obtained from the pork's cheeks. Very simple, very tasty.
As I said, it's a very simple recipe: you start by chopping a big onion in half-inch bits and heat it in some olive oil in a skillet or frying pan. When golden, you add the guanciale, also cut in thin bits and allow to get the fat transparent. At this point, I usually add some red wine and, once absorbed, I put in plenty of tomato sauce (at least half a liter). Let simmer for at least an hour at low heat.
Now put a big pot full of water on the fire, cook your pasta (bucatini are the one Chosen ones) up to "just before al dente". Drain and add to the sauce, so that the last minute of cooking is done with all suce juices. Cover with pecorino and enjoy.
OK. So we have now set up the basis for the recipe. As I said, I have traveled to Rome twice recently, and on both trips, I went for lunch at Pierluigi, which is known as one of the best fish restaurants in town (and was recently featured on the SAS in-flight magazine). Anyway, this restaurant has used its reputation to modify the classic amatarciana by adding mollusks and cephalopoda to the mix to make an "amatriciana from the seas" combination.
While at the beginning the idea does not sound very bright, it becomes love at first bite. It is just awesome. Thus, it has been my mission to replicate the dish at home, one way or the other.
It recently happened that my fishmonger had cockles, mussels, octopus, calamari and venus-clams, all at the same time. Could not let that occasion go :) Bought the whole lot with the only aim to make this dish. So here's how I did it.
- 500 g rigatoni
- 200 g bacon (I know, hard to find guanciale in Denmark)
- 1 big onion
- 1 calamaro
- 1 octopus
- 1 kg mussels
- 500 g cockles
- 1 kg venus-clams
- 1 litre tomato sauce
First of all, I made sure that ALL shell animals were alive. I quickly tapped each of them on the kitchen counter and dropped them in shell-speciifc water buckets with some salt.