Italian with the Italian
As I said yesterday, I love being cooked for. Having an Italian man cook a traditional Italian dish and take me out for Gelato afterwards was such a treat! Luigi* cooked Spaghetti Carbonara and talked about the traditions his very Italian family has (he’s so Italian he remembers growing up and thinking it weird that every family didn’t make their own wine and cure their own meats). Here are a few of the stories he shared with me:
Sunday is the day where the family gets together and has a huge meal. After Sunday mass, the family goes to nonna’s house (grandma). No breakfast is eaten before or dinner after, because of the size of the meal and the length it takes. It is served in five courses in the following order:
- Pasta dish
- Meatballs with sauce and bread
- Salad – usually pickled peppers and olives
- Cheese, nuts in the winter (chestnuts on a special occasion) or fruit in the summer (usually melon or watermelon)
- Dessert, espresso, liqueur – in Luigi*’s family it is usually Kahlua or Sambuca
- Simplicity is important. You don’t need to complicate things with too many ingredients.
- The rule is 100 grams of pasta per person. According to Luigi* “all Italians have a pasta scale”.
- It is not appropriate to break the spaghetti in half to fit into the pot.
- Recipes tend to be oral not written. When Luigi*’s grandma explains how much of one thing to put into a dish, she gestures with her hands and says “this much”. It’s all about the feel and the look of it, not the measurements. It’s best to learn by observing than by asking.
- There should be lots of salt in the water when boiling pasta. There is a saying that Italians have that says the pasta water is salted enough when it tastes like the sea.
Luigi*’s recipe for two people
200 grams of spaghetti
1/2-3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
8 strips of bacon
*names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved (or because he hates his name on the internet)
And gelato for dessert at Gelato Simply Italian. Yum!
Great nana’s English scones.