Chicago Tribune: Chicago restaurants donate to Italy earthquake relief through pasta

By: Louisa Chu, Contact Reporter

Chicago restaurants are joining a worldwide campaign to bring aid to victims of Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy, creating specials and donating the proceeds to the effort.

Because Amatrice, one of the villages most damaged in the quake, is the birthplace of the dish spaghetti all’amatriciana, many of the specials involve that pasta preparation.

Indeed, this weekend the village was to celebrate its culinary patrimony with the 50th annual Sagra degli Spaghetti all’Amatriciana (Amatriciana Festival), and an unknown number of visitors who arrived early this week for the event may be among the vicitms. (The death toll has reached 267.)

In Amatrice, purists have said Amatriciana sauce should be made with six ingredients only: guanciale, San Marzano tomatoes, white wine, black pepper, peperoncino and pecorino cheese, then tossed with spaghetti.

Some chefs and restaurants are using #eatforitaly to promote the cause, as is British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who is donating through his restaurants. Another effort to raise awareness and funds that has risen up online and in social media asks people to make the dish at home or order it in a restaurant, open a bottle of wine from central Italy, post about it using #virtualsagra and then donate to agencies aiding relief efforts. (See If you are joining in at home, here is a recipe from Tribune archives.

Here are Chicago restaurants participating in the relief efforts so far:

Gene & Georgetti: Penne with mushrooms and peas ($19.25) is offered, with all proceeds from the sales of the dish going to a special relief fund set up by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, today through Monday (Aug. 28). The offering applies to both Gene & Georgetti locations: 500 N. Franklin St., Chicago, 312-527-3718; and 9421 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont, 847-653-3300,

Click here to see the entire list on

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