Friday, January 18, 2013


Guanciale is a pork product cured with both sweet and savory seasonings. It's similar to bacon or pancetta, but more complicated and - if this matters - made of pig jowl. Because, when you see the droopy cheek of a pig, isn't curing and eating it the first thing you think of?

It should be.

Through a series of events and decisions, mostly involving how difficult my husband is to shop for at Christmas and the existence of what's basically a sausage of the month club (thanks, Boccalone!), we ended up with a choice piece of guanciale.

the product in question

What do you do when you find yourself in possession of a new piece of meat? Find a Mario Batali recipe, of course, such as this one for Bucatini All'Amatriciana.

Bucatini (pierced hole - not like that, pervs) is a fabulous pasta: thick, toothy and a great conduit for sauce. The guanciale is delightful, blossoming into satisfying complexity with every bite. We paired it with a mourvendre, a smooth, dry red that nicely offset the slightly spicy sauce.

So, if you can get past the face part of the meal, it's absolutely delicious!

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