Earthquake relief is topping menus at Italian restaurants this week.
From the Bay Area to New York to Rome, restaurants have joined a campaign to prepare bowls of pasta Amatriciana, a classic dish that originated in the devastated city of Amatrice, and donate part of the proceeds to recovery efforts.
Many of the deaths from the Aug. 24 earthquake occurred in this central Italy town, which was reduced to rubble, officials said.
The town’s signature pasta sauce — which was to have been celebrated at a 50th anniversary food festival last weekend — is a zesty one that gets its depth of flavor from pork (guanciale, pancetta or prosciutto), onion, red pepper flakes and black pepper.
According to NPR, an Italian graphic artist, Paolo Campana, came up with the idea just a few hours after the quake hit and posted it on his Facebook page. “We need to move quickly,” he wrote. The website Foodiamo created an “Amatriciana for Amatrice” campaign with its member restaurants in Los Angeles, and other Italian-American groups joined the effort. Funds from those will go to the Italian Red Cross.
For owner-chef Aldo Blasi of San Francisco’s Milano Ristorante, the cause is personal. “Amatrice, the surrounding villages and the beautiful landscape were an integral part of my upbringing,” he writes on his donation page. His father, Mario, grew up “five steep miles” from the town and, every summer would bring his family back to visit and escape the heat of Rome.
“I continued the same tradition, and…