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Home > CHEF SECRETS > Santa Monica Chef Secrets > Piero Selvaggio (Delicacy: Guanciale, Recipe and Wine Pairing)

Piero Selvaggio

Guanciale in Agrodolce

    
    Piero Selvaggio
Founder: Valentino Restaurant Group

Because he consistently has one of the world's 10 best wine lists, according to Wine Spectator, when we have a wine related question, we turn to our very own wine expert: renowned restaurateur Piero Selvaggio, who also happens to be our resident expert on Italian cuisine. Indeed, Selvaggio's place in America's Italian fine-dining hall of fame is irrefutable, as he was one of the pioneers responsible for bringing culinary excellence to Las Vegas and now has restaurants in Santa Monica, Las Vegas and Houston. With his passion and persistence, he's turned a simple $4,500 investment into a renowned restaurant and consulting empire. Because he's such a resourceful repository of culinary knowledge, we therefore asked Selvaggio to educate us about some of his favorite and most unusual delicacies. For this piece he's chosen Guanciale, providing us with a delicious recipe and wine pairing, courtesy of his executive chef at the original Valentino, his flagship restaurant!

   
     
    
Guanciale in Agrodolce Paired with Aglianico

An unusual but delicious food & wine pairing courtesy of:
Valentino Restaurant Group founder Piero Selvaggio and
Valentino Santa Monica Executive Chef Nicola Chessa

I am always amazed how certain products of Italian cuisine could be unknown or dormant and suddenly enjoy discovery and popularity. Many years ago I remember calamari, sundried tomatoes, and now ‘nduja (a calabrese super- hot salami paste) and guanciale.

Guanciale is the jawl of the pork (shaped like a triangle below the mouth), and is usually aged more than 60 days, after being well spiced up and cured- it is in other words a slice of lardo (fat) with a robust layer of magro (lean meat) on the inside. Utilized mostly in recipes of Roman cuisine, it is as popular as pecorino cheese and abbacchio (baby lamb).

Guanciale is the base of primi piatti such as pasta all ‘amatriciana, alla carbonara or melted in stuffed peppers or bruschetta - it is similar to Italian pancetta (cured bacon)- but much more delicate in texture.

   
     
      
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