Roman Pasta and Only You

Only You (1994) is the October Food ‘n Flix feature film.  Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting and you can read her announcement post here.  

Food ‘n Flix is an open-to-anyone group.  Every month we watch a film (hosted by a member) and then do some culinary creativity.   (More information at the end of this post.)

This was a new film for me, even though it would have been a film the girlfriends and I would have sought out in 1994.   I loved the vintage wedding photos during the opening.  That set up the plot well.   This is the October film so the Ouija board, candles  and fortune tellers help set a seasonal vibe.  

I have to get this out there—Marissa looks like she’s twelve.  She’s super cute with her pixie haircut but she looks SOOOOO young.   Her teacher character is so passionate about her subject matter (which I can relate to).  English teachers rock!

It’s a cute rom-com plot.   Faith (Tomei) believes she is destined to marry “Damon Bradley,” a name from the afore mentioned Ouija board and confirmed by a fortune teller; however, Faith finds herself about to marry a podiatrist without the initials of D.B.   When a mysterious caller telephones (who does have the initials of D.B.), Faith flings herself on a flight to Venice accompanied by her faithful sister-in-law, Kate.  They arrive at the hotel, hot on the heals of Damon Bradley.   Kate observes the luxury of the place and declares, “We can’t afford this….Cathy Lee Crosby stayed here.”   (Later in another Italian inn, Kate will mention, ”Joan Collins stayed here.”)  Apparently Kate watched a lot of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous back in the day.  

Of course, they just miss Bradley but find out he’s traveling on to Rome.  Before the quest is over they will also trek to the quaint town of Positano.

Of course, it’s a rom-com so there’s hilarity, mistaken identity, mistaken motives, and a happy ending.

One more thing before I leave, has Billy Zane ever played a likable character?


There’s not a huge amount of food in the film.  Here’s what I spotted:

  • Honey-”Like bees knowing to make honey”
  • Wine and pizza
  • Sandwiches, beer and pop
  • Wine and beer and cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres at engagement party
  • Looking like a muffin in wedding dress
  • Diet coke
  • Leftover breakfast (bacon) in Venice hotel room
  • Wine after car breaks down.
  • Bottled water and grapes on table in inn room (Rome).
  • “Vino dos?…Si.”
  • Bread on table
  • Seafood platter debacle
  • Gelato on street
  • Champagne (on Roman patio)
  • Cappuccino and cornetto
  • More wine and coffee and biscotti
  • Apple (Peter eating it on bench.)
  • Chocolate gelato
  • Coca-cola
  • Bread basket and bread sticks
  • Red wine
  • Scampi
  • Brandy swigging in boat
  • Breakfast on the balcony (more cornetto)

I guess I could have whipped up some cornetto (b/c it appears twice) or some biscotti, but it’s now Fall and with the cooler weather I a want some  hearty meals.   I researched “Pasta of Rome” and found that there are actually four great pastas of Rome:  Gricia, Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Amatriciana.   They are all very similar in concept, most using guanciale and pecorino.  I went with the tomato based dish:  Amatriciana.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

From Bon Appetit (with some slight alterations)

There were lots of comments on the original recipe post at Bon Appetit.  Some argued that this was NOT an authentic Roman dish b/c it had garlic and onions added.   One comment suggested white wine and I incorporated it here.  Most all comments deemed this a delicious recipe, authentic or not.


  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz.  guanciale (or pancetta), diced
  • 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 c. minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. white wine (your choice)
  • 1 (28 oz.) can peeled tomatoes with juices, crushed by hand
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 oz. dried bucatini or spaghetti
  • 1/4 c. finely grated Pecorino (about 1 oz.)


  1. Heat oil in a  large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and sauté until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. Add pepper flakes and black pepper; stir for 10 seconds. Add onion and garlic; reduce heat.  Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add wine, increase heat, and reduce for 4-5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add the pasta and cook, until 2 minutes before al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.
  3. Add drained pasta to sauce in skillet and toss vigorously with tongs to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. (Add a little more pasta water if sauce is too dry.)
  4. Stir in cheese and transfer pasta to warmed bowls.

Yield: 4

This is a great dish and I’m glad I made the slight changes to the recipe.  It’s almost as quick and easy as carbonara.

Thanks for hosting this fun film, Cam.

Food ‘n Flix is a great group of bloggers.  Every month someone hosts a film, we all watch it and then cook up a recipe inspired from the movie.  Please join us in November.   Heather (the founder of FnF) is hosting FriendsgivingLook for an announcement post on her website soon:  All Roads Lead to the Kitchen.

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