A ragu is a slow cooked meat based sauce, and there as many variations as there are regions in Italy. I have posted a couple of versions of Ragu alla Bolognese in the past, but strangely enough I have never featured a Southern Italian ragu. This is especially perplexing, considering I am Sicilian, and grew up having this type of meal on Sundays.
This typically Roman pasta dish was traditionally made with guanciale, but since that ingredient used to be very hard to find outside of Italy, and the Lazio region in particular, pancetta has became a common substitute. This is changing and guanciale can now be found at specialty food stores. While you can still make a great Amatriciana with pancetta, if you are able to find guanciale, you should try using it at least once.
I feel like I have been beating the simplicity theme into the ground the past few weeks, but the fact of the matter is, this is how I cook in the summer. There are so many great seasonal ingredients that I look forward to all year, and I want to put them front and center in the dishes I eat. Plus, it’s too hot to cook anything too complicated or involved.
My last blog post featured Pasta alla Puttanesca, a classic Italian sauce made from tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and garlic. Tonight I was craving some of those flavors but did not want to make a tomato based sauce. So I thought why not make kind of a Linguine Aglio e Olio (Linguine with Oil and Garlic), adding anchovies, olives and capers.