Matriciana is a very inclusive and friendly kind pasta sauce and can be made in hefty quantities to cater for a large crowd at the dinner table. As it was, my Matriciana variation no. 2 was for a lunch for dear friends visiting from Hungary. It was a cruelly wet and foggy day and the heat of the matriciana did much to infuse some warmth into our bodies.
For this variation, I thought I might add some lardo di Colonnata to it. Lardo is … yes, well, lard! and it’s great on toasted bread (the heat makes it melt). The addition of yet more fat to the recipe makes me think of a story my husband told me recently. While going through the menu at a trattoria in the centre of Rome when the weather was still warm, he was surprised to see a dish for carbonara pasta listed on the menu that included fried squash blossoms, a most unusual addition to an already ‘hearty’ pasta sauce. He enquired of the waiter whether he would recommend that pasta and the answer was, “Oh definitely. That pasta is going to keep you company all afternoon!”.
For this variation, I included onions (which I didn’t in variation no. 1) and used red wine instead of white. The tomatoes were fresh tomatoes that I had frozen during the summer.
The tomatoes went in next (frozen tomatoes that I had defrosted).
Once the tomatoes had cooked for a few minutes and their liquid had evaporated a little, I added a few slices of lardo to the sauce.
Because we were dealing with a large amount of pasta, 1 kg, and large amounts are much more difficult to keep under control obviously … we took the pasta out of the boiling water when there were still 5 minutes cooking time to go (hence Zuzi’s splayed hand). This gave us time to mix the pasta well into the sauce and, if need be, add a little cooking water.
Lovely lunch, lovely friends … shame they had to leave later that evening. And as the waiter had said to my husband, I hope the matriciana kept them company all the way back on their flight home!
P.S. Here is a photo showing my husband’s very hairy arm serving the matriciana straight from the pan onto the plates at the table. Please note the glass jar containing dried chillis … that people were very welcome to add if they so wished. Please note, too, how very succulent and ‘saucy’ the sauce looks in this photo.