If it isn’t broken, why fix it? This is a question I’ve asked myself often as I’ve traveled the road of understanding traditional Italian cuisine. I understand adjusting a recipe to fit society’s current palate but in many cases I find it unwarranted. I can’t count how many times I’ve set out to experiment with a traditional recipe, thinking it may not appeal to the taster, only to find that they love it. In Italy, a sense of place is important, and if you take away certain components of a dish, you take away that which makes it special; you take away its sense of place.

 I found this to be extremely apparent with the dish, Bucatini all'Amatriciana.  I thought back to culinary school and looked at the old recipe I was given and then began to search for other recipes, some of which came from esteemed chefs.  One ingredient that almost all of these recipes substituted with pancetta is guanciale, which also happens to be the most important ingredient and the one that truly gives this dish a sense of place.  I ask again; if it isn’t broken, why fix it?