Being home reminds me that I could easily eat pasta every day. I’ll start with a favorite: gemellini, a short cut pasta, with tomato and salami. I’m thinking of this as a version of spaghetti all’Amatriciana, a famous dish that originates in Amatrice near Rome. But spaghetti all’Amatriciana is prepared with guanciale, a kind of speck. The people in Amatrice care a great deal about staying true to the original. And my salami version departs from their recipe in more than one way. Still, to my mind the spirit of the dish is preserved: homey but fragrant. A dish that could easily feel a bit too homey, for all its hearty ingredients, becomes refined by just the right composition. To this end, you’ll have to take the time to cut up all ingredients finely, starting with carrots and onions.
The salami should be cut into similarly small bits, starting with slices which then have to be cut up further.
Once the carrots and onions have been glazed in olive oil for a moment, I’m adding tomatos. Today I use fresh tomatos, smallish and lovely. Plus, and this is an original ingredient, I’m adding a sip of white wine.
While the water is heating up, pasta not yet in the pot, it’s time for a tiny salad as starter.
Once the pasta is almost cooked, I’m adding fresh herbs to the sauce: parsley, oregano, and basil, everything finely chopped. As always, you want to wait until pretty much the last minute before adding fresh herbs. Dried herbs need a while to become soft and flavorful. In winter, when using dried oregano, it should be added early on. But fresh herbs lose their fine texture and their beautiful green color when they cook for too long. Patience, I’ve come to realize, can be quite difficult when cooking! But it will taste lovelier if you get yourself to wait.
Done! I hope you feel like having a bite.