Il Mondo Vecchio gets cheeky with guanciale, salumi
This is the second in a series of pieces profiling Colorado-grown products...and what some local restaurants do with them. Read the first installment, on Hazel Dell mushrooms, here.
Sticky, fragrant, bright orange fat. Rendered from chunks of silky guanciale, it slathers the agliolini all' Amatriciana pasta at Cellar Wine Bar, cutting into the tart San Marzano tomatoes bolstered by crispy bits of pork cheek. "Guanciale fat is my new favorite fat," says Cellar executive chef Joe Freemond. "I can't get enough of it."
Guanciale, or pig cheeks cured with salt and spices, has only recently become available in America. Not smoked like bacon and fattier than pancetta, guanciale is the true meat of Rome, and is often paired with the classic Roman dish Amatriciana. (And woe be those who pile guanciale with Parmesan instead of Roman Pecorino.)
Chris Utterback Cellar Wine Bar's tagliolini all' Amatriciana.
"It has a flavor that's unique, but kind of hard to place. It's got that good bacon-y, pork-y flavor to it, but it's a little more nuanced," says Freemond. But if you want some guanciale for your own kitchen, there's really only one place to turn: Il Mondo Vecchio.
Mark DeNittis had already been elbow-deep in meat for more than a decade when he and Gennaro DeSantis opened up Il Mondo Vecchio Salumi in 2009. From serving as the lead meat-cutting instructor for Johnson & Wales to opening the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, DeNittis translated his butchery bona fides into making salumi the same way his Italian-American family had in his childhood.
Nathan Federico DeNittis in his Denver office.