Celebrating Italian Heritage Month with Barilla Canada + Spaghetti all’Amatriciana Recipe
This post was developed in sponsored partnership with Barilla Canada
Back in October of 2019, I had the opportunity to embark on a trip of a lifetime to Paris and Italy with Barilla Canada for the 8th edition of the Pasta World Championship. The theme of the PWC was The Art of Pasta, and I am fortunate that I was able to witness 14 amazing chefs from around the world embody the theme while competing for the winning title. Not only did the chefs encompass The Art of Pasta in all of their cooking, but they also honoured Barilla’s enriched history and traditions that date back all the way to 1877. In honour of Italian Heritage Month, I am excited to share with you Barilla’s combined passion, dedication and innovation to perfect some of Italy’s greatest products by sharing their story, my experiences and the most delicious Spaghetti alla’Amatriciana recipe in honour of this historical month.
My trip to Paris and Italy with Barilla Canada completely transformed, reinterpreted and revolutionized the meaning of pasta for me. You may be thinking, “how can one have such a meaningful interpretation of pasta?”, but let me tell you that this trip, the history and the culinary experiences that I had, shaped a new meaning of what pasta means to me. During the final night of the PWC, one of the Barilla brothers explained that when his grandfather opened his store more than 140 years ago, his priority was to make good food, and this has become Barilla’s way of business. This mentality is something that I took with me while traveling to Parma, Italy; the place where Barilla started and is based out of today. During my time in Parma, I was able to witness how Barilla transformed pasta to be the ultimate summa: something simple and essential that encapsulates the vision and personal style of the person cooking.
In Parma, I had the chance to visit Barilla’s Pedrignano Facility (Which happens to be the largest pasta factory in the world!) and spent a night cooking at Academia Barilla. The academy is the first international centre dedicated to the development and promotion of Italian Gastronomical Culture and I had the chance to cook with fellow food lovers and chefs from around the world. One of the most important things that I learned while cooking at Academia Barilla is that Barilla has always had a mission to bring high quality products that combine excellent flavour with a well-balanced nutritional profile. Making Barilla a high- quality ingredient for all at-home cooks and chefs who are looking to elevate their cooking.
Growing up, Barilla was always a necessity in my household and I always familiarized it by its blue and red packaging. During my trip with Barilla Canada, I learned about the Barilla Blue, which was inspired by the color of the paper used in shops to wrap loose pasta. The iconic red oval on the packaging was created in 1952 by Pietro Carboni, a graphic designer and architect from Parma. Carboni put it at the center of Barilla’s message to anticipate the need for good food. Once learning about the history behind the packaging, Barilla’s enriched Italian heritage, tradition and genuineness became apparent to me.
In honour of Italian Heritage Month, I am sharing with you one of my favourite recipes; Spaghetti alla’Amatriciana. This specific pasta dish is one that I had the chance to try during my travels to the PWC and stood out to me the most. The Art of Pasta means that each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste. During the PWC, I had the chance to speak with Michelin-star chef, David Oldani who explained that pasta is the vessel to a great dish. It should be elevated by high-quality ingredients and not smothered in too much sauce. This is something that I took back home with me and have inherited into my own kitchen and cooking techniques. Once you try my Spaghetti alla’Amatriciana recipe made with Barilla Spaghetti, you will be able to understand how gastronomy, lifestyle and art come together to reveal the true Art of Pasta.
Spaghetti alla’Amatriciana Recipe
- 1 box of Barilla Spaghetti
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- 8 oz. of pancetta, sliced into thick cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp of red chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat 1 tbsp of EVOO in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of chopped garlic. Once the garlic has been cooked for 2-3 minutes, add the pancetta. Stir frequently. Once the pancetta is lightly golden, add in the white wine and reduce the heat to medium-low. Once pancetta is fully cooked (it should look dark brown and crispy) place it onto a plate lined with a paper towel (to drain the fat) and set aside.
2. Clean the saucepan with water and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat 1 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of chopped garlic. Once garlic has been cooked for 2-3 minutes, add in the diced onions.
3. Sautée onions for 4-5 minutes and add in 2 tbsp of tomato paste and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the paste has thickened. Add in the chopped San Marzano tomatoes and stir frequently.
4. Add the pancetta back into the skillet, bring sauce to a low simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes. Stirring every few minutes. Add salt, pepper and red chilli flakes to taste.
5. Meanwhile bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Once water is boiled add in the Barilla spaghetti and cook al dente for 10-11 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
6. Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water to the sauce and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain pasta and return the drained spaghetti into the saucepan and toss evenly, making sure all of the sauce is evenly coated.
7. Plate pasta and garnish with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Serve and enjoy!