Italian chefs help neighboring town’s earthquake victims with pasta

The small Italian town of Amatrice might be best known for giving the world spaghetti all’amatriciana—a pasta dish with sauce made from guanciale (flavorful pork cheek cured like bacon), tomatoes, hot chilis and pecorino cheese.

The town was set to host its annual "Festival of the Spaghetti all'Amatriciana" this weekend, on Aug. 27 and 28, which usually draws hundreds of visitors.

But in the wake of Wednesday’s devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake which killed at least 250 and injured hundreds more, the future of the festival remains unclear.

“The situation is dramatic, there are many dead. Rescue efforts are under way and it is very, very difficult,” the mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi, told media (via The Guardian) “Much of the village has disappeared. The aim now is to save as many lives as possible.”

In the wake of the devastation, Italian restaurants are coming together to help victims procure funds in a very Italian way: with pasta.

After the earthquake struck, Italian food blogger Paolo Campana posted an earnest call Wednesday to the restaurant community to help those in need.

Loosely translated, Campana’s post suggests that restaurateurs donate one euro for every plate of pasta all’amatriciana sold. Since the festival likely won’t happen, Campana says, maybe Italians can turn his idea into a “national charity event.”

After Campana’s post, many restaurants in the neighboring town of Assisi, which was not hit by the quake, have added all’amatriciana to their menus and have pledged to donate two euros from each dish sold to victims in Amatrice.

According to GrubStreet, Assisi’s head of culture and tourism, Eugene Guarducci, hopes other cities will start similar movements and hailed the restaurateur’s act as a “concrete sign of solidarity.”