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.