Ahhh…now we’re getting into those Italian dishes that have been mislabeled by we Americans. Consider…Fettuccine alla Romana.
What is fettuccine alla romana? Is it fettuccine with butter, cream and parmesan cheese?
Nope. That’s sort of an Alfredo sauce.
Is it cream, cheese, peas and prosciutto? Alas, even Craig Claiborne got that one wrong. Fettuccine alla Romana does not have cream.
According to Waverly Root, true fettuccine alla romana is fettuccine with a tomato sauce combined with chicken giblets (heart, liver and gizzard of the bird). This would explain why Americans haven’t embraced the dish, as we’re typically not a big “giblet” country. You can include me in with that group. But I figured “what the hell”.
Truth? It’s not bad, even if one isn’t big on chicken livers. The prosciutto add enough of a flavor to create a new taste, so the giblets don’t have to stand on their own. The rest is your typical tomato sauce. If you’re wanting to try something a bit different on pasta, this would be a good place to start.
- 1 oz. Dried Porcini
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1/2 lb. chicken giblets (or you can use strictly chicken livers if you desire)
- 1/4 lb. prosciutto, diced
- 2/3 cup Marsala Wine
- 4 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes (if you have fresh tomatoes – 4 cups of diced)
- 1 lb. fettucine
- Grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (to top)
Add dried mushrooms to 1/2 cup of water. Allow to re-hydrate. Set aside.
In a skillet, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add giblets and brown to the point where a light brown crust develops on the edge of the meat. At that point add the prosciutto. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the Marsala wine and allow to reduce by 1/2. Lower to a simmer and set aside.
In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute. While waiting for the onions to turn translucent, take the rehydrated mushrooms and cut into large pieces. Add to the onions and cook together for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Cook the fettucine according to the directions on the box (normally, bring the water to a boil…add pasta and cook for 12-15 minutes).
Add cook giblets to the tomato sauce and combine.
When pasta is complete, place in heated pasta bowl. Add half of the sauce and toss. Plate and top with a spoonful or two of remaining sauce. Top with cheese and serve.