Friday, August 27, 2010

Eat Pray Love - Read this while loving this Spaghetti all' Amatriciana - you'll pray to eat more!

My Spaghetti all' Amatriciana

So, I must admit, I read Eat Pray Love for the first time about a year and half ago before it became a popular movie and before the cover of the book changed to the Julia Roberts inspired cover.  I typically like to pick up my books at the bookstore or online, but this was actually one of the first books I read from the library since I was a kid, as I realized there is the most adorable little Library within walking distance from me. I went to check it out one day, and saw this book. When I walked in, I remember saying, "I think I need to like renew my membership," which seemed to really amuse the librarian...they are very serious about ones library patronage apparently. Library books still have that indescribable library smell in case you were curious.  This week, I decided to pick up the book and re-read the "Eat" section of course.  P.S. - still haven't seen the movie as I've heard mixed reviews.

I really liked the book (note: not loved the book) - it's basically about a 30ish woman who goes through a divorce and decides to travel through Italy (Eat), and India (Pray) and Indonesia (Love).  Some of the chapters were a little slow, but overall I would recommend it.  It's fun to ponder the idea of leaving your current life, and responsibilities for a year and just travel the world like the author does, although for most of us fairly unrealistic.  However, you can get a glimpse of several cultures through the author's journey, and it's a worthwhile read. A whole third of the book written about her ability to gain 23 pounds in Italy - can't go wrong with that!

One of my favorite cities to visit is Rome, and I think it is because of the food mostly...hmm...I think I'm ready for a trip back.

You can learn more about the book at:

Throughout the Eat section of the book the author talks about various pizza and pasta dishes of course, and specifically highlights the best pizza she's ever had in Naples, Italy, at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele as well as Spaghetti all' Amatriciana, which is a pasta dish made with tomatoes, onions and italian bacon.

I researched a few recipes, and decided to go with Anne Burrell's Recipe as I recall that I saw her make this on one of her episodes.

Some new things I tried for the first time:
- The recipe called for San Marzano tomatoes, which come from a certain region in Italy - you can find them at Publix (although I had to go to two stores to find them)

- The recipe also said to put the tomatoes through a food mill - another item I didn't have, so I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought one, - definitely a very ancient looking contraption.

This was the food mill I bought
- The recipe also called for Guanciale, which is a cured pig cheeks!  As you can imagine, I didn't find this item at Publix, and bought Pancetta, Italian bacon, from the deli counter instead, which is a good substitute.
- Also, the recipe called for Bucatini, a tubular pasta, but I used Spaghetti Rigati instead, which is basically spaghetti with ridges - helps hold on to the sauce!

Found this at Publix

Overall, everyone really liked it, and they said it was AWESOME! I will definitely make it again.  I took a short cut and ordered the Margherita Pizza from Blue Moon Pizza to go along with the delicious pasta.

Although, I hear that Varasano's Pizza in Atlanta has the best Neapolitan style pizza in the US - at least according to Rachel Ray - I'll have to add that to the list!


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