23 March 2007

Bronze Age Pasta

I cooked bucatini all'amatriciana: cured pig cheek (guanciale), onion, tomato sauce, Aleppo chilli and grated pecorino romano. I got special pasta at this place, Buonitalia, in Chelsea Market. It's made in the "traditional" way, though it's weird that there's such a thing as a traditional way of producing an industrial product, which pastasciutta is. This involves extrusion through traditional bronze dies. Modern dies are Teflon-coated, which makes the pasta easier to produce, but makes its surface very smooth. Because of that, sauce doesn't adhere to it as well. Running your thumbnail down the length of these noodles, they have a roughness that's appealing. The surface of the shorter pasta looks whitish, rather than the light yellow of normal pasta. You can literally see the nooks and crannies that the sauce is going to seep into. I wonder if it makes better pasta water as well. One would assume that some of those microscopic peaks dissolve out into the cooking water, moreso than with a smooth surface.

I don't know if I can tell the difference, but I'm going over to buy another type of pasta to try again tomorrow night. Maybe organetti.

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