Monday, June 6, 2016

Assolutamente delizioso!

We ate a lot of great food at a lot of good places while we were in Fort Collins, and I'll talk about some of them later this week, but today I want to tell you about my favorite meal - linguine with amatriciana sauce. This less-than-stellar photo doesn't even begin to convey just how good this stuff is.

Ryan is a reader, and more importantly, he is a careful reader that notices details. We both read The Magicians, and while I gave the book four stars and read the next two books in the trilogy, he came away from the book thinking about pasta sauce. One of the main characters, Eliot, prepared an amatriciana sauce and pasta in a scene near the beginning of the book, and Ryan was intrigued. He's been telling me about the various batches he's prepared, tweaked, and perfected for months now, and to my delight, he made it for us.

Amatriciana sauce is an Italian tomato-based pasta sauce, traditionally prepared with guanciale (cured pork jowl). Fort Collins is a great place for food and ingredients, but even they are woefully deficient in pork jowl. In The Magicians, they use bacon instead, as does Ryan with delicious results. I've read recipes that use pancetta which is probably also delicious, but that doesn't fit into a graduate student's budget very well.

"Dinner's almost ready," the girl said. "Eliot has made an amatriciana sauce. We couldn't get any guanciale, but I think bacon works fine. Don't you?"

Ryan uses the linked recipe above as a jumping-off point, but doubles the garlic and red pepper flakes, and also sautes a finely chopped onion with the garlic.

We also found some bacon salt at the Old Town Spice Shop and Ryan proclaimed this to be a fine addition.

This is a truly delicious sauce, one that I'll make and add to my regular rotation here at home. The best part about it was being in the kitchen while my son prepared a meal for us, drinking a glass of wine, and enjoying the meal and our time together.

"Eliot said “I think if I weren’t a magician, I’d be a chef. It’s just such a relief after all that invisible, intangible bullshit, don’t you think?”


  1. Oh, YUM! I want some (but . . . hold the pork jowl, please). What a delight -- fabulous food prepared by your son. Life is good. XO

  2. I.LOVE.THIS! What a fantastic thing - book to life. And, creative - pork belly vs. pork jowl. I have to tell you, the photo looks so delicious! And, for the record, I love guanciale!

  3. How wonderful to watch your son prepare a special, delicious meal. Ryan looks like he knows his way around a kitchen, and better yet, a grocery store! Nice work. Dining together must have been especially fabulous that evening.

  4. what a treat - in every single sense of the word! I'm glad the bacon worked (something about pork jowl just doesn't sound that delicious to me ;-)

  5. He looks like a pro! And everything about this is great!

  6. There's a reason we say "everything is better with bacon" and not "everything is better with pork jowl"! I'm so glad you got to eat a delicious meal prepared by your son.

  7. Oh that's wonderful! I love it when my kids cook for me. (I love cooking for them, too.)

  8. I love that you raised a curious son who reads and cooks. I'm trying to follow in your footsteps!


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