Dina Dina blog

Italian food – The (un)written rules (part 2)

We said simple, we said chicken, we said caffè and we said pepperoni in the previous post but we’re not done yet…

Carbonara. FFS, don’t use cream, it’s just wrong! It will still taste fine in most cases, but it’s not a Carbonara if someone has put cream on it. Do you want to know how to make it nice and not just dry without using cream? This video will make everything  very easy for you. Keep in mind, before an annoying Italian (aehm…) criticizes it, that this is not the only way to do it: there are different techniques also involving the cooking water, but this is the easiest one, trust me. And yeah, it requires Guanciale and not bacon or pancetta, but it’s a real challenge to find that outside of Italy…

The best choice of pasta for your Carbonara is certainly Spaghetti. Right… Spaghetti. Trust me: it’s not that hard to learn how to roll them up with your fork (just practice like every Italian little kid does). Do you wanna use a spoon? Alright, but you don’t really need it (you have a useful plate) and, if you happen to be out for some fancy dinner wearing a tuxedo and they serve spaghetti, you better leave the spoon on the table before you get poshy weird looks. Oh yeah: don’t you f****** dare cut them with a knife! By the way, do you know what doesn’t go with Spaghetti? Meatballs! The only times I had pasta with meatballs they were leftover experiments. So, how to eat Spaghetti and what to eat with them? “Lady and the Tramp” did it all wrong. Thank you America! Also, don’t forget that the correct translation for “Meatballs” is “Polpette”: “Palle di carne” sounds more like what guys got between their legs…

Polpette are normally a Course, by themselves or with an appropriate side. Did I say course? I did… Did I say side? I also did. An Italian meal is not a plate full of random stuff put together. You know what makes an Italian person’s skin itch a lot? Seeing a horde of people at the buffet/self service stacking all different kinds of food on one plate. Do you remember John Belushi in “Animal House”? It’s a no no. When I see pasta on a plate with a steak my heart skips a beat (make it a chicken breast and the skipped beats will be at least two…). A “pasta starter” and a “side of pasta”: just shut up, will you? Pasta is a “Primo”: primo means first, before that we have an antipasto (appetizer/starter), we also have a secondo (no need to translate), then a contorno (side), a dolce (dessert), then you can have fruit, a caffè and ammazzacaffè (literally “coffee killer”, simply a glass of a strong alcoholic beverage, usually an Amaro: just Google it). Alright alright, your environmentalist soul and your (so called) fit body will be annoyed but there will be more dishes to wash and more exercise to do, deal with it!
Ahhh, don’t be scared: we don’t always eat all that stuff… just on special occasions. Ha!

To be continued…