Impact Your World

Chefs rally to help Italy earthquake victims

Story highlights

Hundreds of restaurants are serving spaghetti all'Amatriciana to help earthquake victims

Amatrice is famous for inventing the dish and holds an annual festival in its honor

CNN  — 

Chefs in Italy and around the world are using their talents, and Amatrice’s signature dish, to help raise money for earthquake victims.

Before Wednesday’s devastating, 6.2 magnitude earthquake, the Italian town was best known for spaghetti all’Amatriciana, a tomato-based sauce that traditionally includes pork jowl, olive oil, white wine, chili and pecorino cheese.

More than 600 restaurants are putting the pasta dish on their menus and have pledged to donate €2 from each sale to the Italian Red Cross, according to Paul Bell, a Rome blogger who’s helping organize the campaign.

“The idea is simply born from the desire to help those affected by the earthquake of this night,” Bell said.

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana was invented in Amatrice in the 1700s, and is so popular the town holds an annual festival in its honor.

This year’s festival, the 50th, was scheduled for this weekend.

Food as a way of recovery

It’s not the first time chefs have rallied to help earthquake relief efforts.

In May 2012, a pair of earthquakes struck the Emilia-Romagna region, located in northern Italy. The earthquake badly damaged thousands of wheels of parmigiano reggiano cheese.

Massimo Bottura, a famed Italian chef with three Michelin stars, had grown up in the region. He took his own spin on cacio e pepe, a Roman dish translated to cheese and pepper, that is traditionally made with pecorino and pasta. Bottura turned it into a risotto dish using the parmigiano reggiano damaged in the earthquake and other local ingredients.

The dish became a widespread hit and transformed into a new national dish. Around Italy, eaters bought the damaged cheese and held Parmigiano Reggiano Night to help earthquake relief efforts.

Bottura told Saveur in 2014 that the dish turned “into an Emilian symbol of hope and recovery.”