pasta

Italian cooking

These stern warnings were put together by Academia Barilla, a research and education branch of Italy’s Barilla Group. They have been thoroughly rephrased for maximum clarity and comments have been added. Still, the sentiment remains. These rules have been devised by people who care about Italian cooking a lot. You will notice that some of these recommendations are based on thorough understanding of the anatomy of the proper Italian meal, so you may wish to familiarized yourself with this chart. Keep in mind that no institution on Earth should have the right to deprive you of what you love to cook and eat. However, if you choose to violate these rules you may not call your meals truly Italian.

1. THOU SHALL NOT DRINK CAPPUCCINO WITH YOUR MEAL
Italian coffee is usually consumed after a meal and it is ok to substitute it with cappuccino at that time. However, cappuccino is traditionally a breakfast drink and it goes best with pastries.

2. THOU SHALL NOT TREAT PASTA AND RISOTTO AS SIDE DISHES
In the structural framework of a proper Italian meal, pasta and risotto are served separately. The practice of serving them as a side dish is widespread around the world, but it is considered almost sacrilegous by Italians.

3. THOU SHALL NOT ADD OIL TO WATER WHEN COOKING PASTA
Pasta dressings and oil must be added after pasta has been drained.

4. THOU SHALL NOT ADD KETCHUP TO PASTA
Sure, ketchup is made of tomatoes. But it is fundamentally wrong to add it to pasta!

5. THOU SHALL NOT USE SPAGHETTI INSTEAD OF TAGLIATELLE FOR PASTA BOLOGNESE
The Italian cuisine has firmly established pairings of different kinds of pasta with various sauces. Based on this tradition, there is simply no such thing as Spaghetti Bolognese — only Tagliatelle Bolognese.

6. THOU SHALL NOT PAIR CHICKEN WITH PASTA.
Pasta and chicken dishes, another international favorite, apparently do not exist in the homeland of Italian cooking.

7. THOU SHALL NOT CALL CAESAR SALAD AN ITALIAN DISH
Caesar salad, despite having been supposedly invented by an Italian named Caesar Cardini, is virtually unknown in Italy.

8. THOU SHALL NOT USE RED AND WHITE CHECKERED TABLECLOTHS
Common in restaurants outside of Italy, this style of tablecloths is not something that Italians actually prefer or use.

9. THOU SHALL NOT ORDER FETTUCCINE ALFREDO IN ITALY
Because nobody will serve it! Although this dish was invented in Italy, it is largely unknown there.

10. THOU SHALL RESPECT TRADITION.
To put it simply, do what mamma says. Traditions of Italian cooking are ancient and revered. They exist because they have been proven to work.

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Fettuccine Alfredo has a unique place in Italian cuisine. Until recently, this dish was not even on the menu of most Italian restaurants, while being extremely popular overseas. The story goes that in 1927, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, while on their honeymoon, frequented a restaurant on the Via della Scrofa in Rome. The stars immensely enjoyed one particular dish, called “fettuccine al burro”, and the owner of the restaurant, one Alfredo Di Lelio, shared with them his recipe that he supposedly developed in 1914, in order to restore the health and appetite of his wife, following childbirth. After Mary and Douglas returned to America, they freely shared the recipe with their friends and even published it in The Rector Cook Book. Apparently, the lack of tomato sauce contributed to the popularity of the pasta dish that was referred to by the Hollywood couple as “Fettuccine Alfredo.” The rest is history.

You will find this account in numerous books. It is generally omitted that fettuccine al burro is a dish that existed prior to 1914. The immortalized restauranteur merely came up with his own variation. I was able to find at least one mention of fettuccine al burro in the 19th century, namely in a weekly periodical La Nuova Rassegna (Jan. 7, 1894):

See also:
Italian cheese – words and flavors
Italian restaurants in Boston

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