Aldo Fabrizi. Say his name and anybody with a bit of national pride in Italy would come up with an “Ooooh, Aldo Fabrizi!” from the bottom of the heart. He was a national treasure. Period.
He was an actor, a writer, a director, and a producer.
He embodied the polyhedric personality of “the Italian” making the Italian people double up with laughter in comedies with Totò or shed silent tears by bringing memories of the Great War to life in masterpieces such as “Rome, Città Aperta”.
This everybody knows, as everybody also knows that he was a foodie, a big eater… and huge. His sister, Sora Lella, was famous for running one of the most genuinely roman restaurants on Tiber Island and he loved to cook himself. He was very particular about his personal food habits, and he used to say that he traveled with his own pasta and a “cooking kit”… and I bet it wasn’t a joke.
“La pastasciutta” and “L’Amatriciana mia”
Not everybody knows he was also a poet. And a witty one! I already mentioned his “La Pastasciutta” (The Pasta – 1970): it’s a collection of poems in roman dialect, all of them about pasta. Putting together memories from his family past and pretending to advise young brides – inexperienced both in the kitchen and in life as a couple – he highlighted the tradition of roman cooking with pasta.
One of these poems is about Amatriciana sauce.
Obviously, like any other Italian cook (not chef! cook!), he puts his own signature on this recipe too, making a normal Amatriciana, the “Amatriciana of Aldo Fabrizi”.
Obviously, it would be foolish of me to try and translate his roman dialect into english, so I won’t. I will simply give you the ingredients and the quick cooking method, which is exactly what he gives… only in a more harmonious, more evocative, funnier and wittier way!
Here are the ingredients and utensils in the same order he mentions them:
Garlic (which I will pretend is Suited)
Cheek lard – 50gr
Streaky bacon – 50gr
Red wine vinegar
Stock cube (it was quite common to use it in those years)
Fresh San Marzano tomatoes
Pecorino cheese (roman, obviously)
One “matured” iron frying pan
And here are the method instructions:
Gently fry the onion, the garlic, the ginger and the cheek lard and streaky bacon. When the ingredients are browned, set the heat on a full power and sprinkle them with some red wine vinegar. When this has reduced completely, add the tomato puree, then the stock cube and the San Marzano tomatoes with the basil.
As soon as the sauce starts bubbling, stir in the spaghetti and mix with pecorino and parmigiano cheese.
That’s it! Try it, and tell me how it is: I never cooked it… I like Amatriciana “my way”!