A Flashback to the Eighties?
What brings you back to the eighties? Well, in my case – as far as music – this song from Wham!
What brings me back to the eighties in terms of food? Buttered pasta and tomato sauce on the side.
We all have childhood memories about eating, and we all can relate to a certain food during a specific period of our lives. When I was a child, I still remember pasta cooking in the boiling pot and, as soon as it was done (not necessarily al dente), we used to add butter to prevent spaghetti from sticking together. To eat spaghetti, a simple tomato sauce with dried oregano was served to pour over the pasta. I thought that was so Italian. However, little did I know that this was not the way Italians ate their spaghetti.
While we were in our house in Umbria, my mother in law told us that she was going to prepare pasta fredda (a tradition in my husband’s family during Summer season). I was so surprised to see that she served it just the way I used to eat pasta when I was a child – with the tomato sauce on the side, but this time the dish was prepared in respect of Italian traditions – pasta cooked al dente, fresh ingredients and using olive oil. This dish is served at room temperature and it is so convenient that you can prepare it ahead of time.
The recipe calls for taglierini all’uovo, a type of long ribbon egg pasta thinner than tagliatelle.
- 400 grams of taglierini pasta (or any thin egg pasta like tajarin pasta or thin egg noodles)
- 1 kg of ripped plum tomatoes like the San Marzano type – cut into halves.
- 1 whole carrots peeled
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 1/2 an onion
- some parsley
- some basil
- salt to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil.
In a saucepan add tomatoes and the carrot, celery, onion, parsley, and some of the basil. Do not add water or oil. Cover the saucepan and let it simmer until tomatoes soften – about 30-40 minutes. Discard carrot, celery, onion and parsley. The reason we are taking these ingredients out is because these are “odori” (in Italian gastronomy as referred to herbs and vegetables to add aromas to food). In fact, these are just used to add aromas to the tomato sauce. If you keep them, they can overpower the final flavor. Think about when making homemade broth – you just use vegetables and meat to flavor the liquid; the same happens with this tomato sauce.
Pass tomatoes through a food mill to discard skin and seeds.
Transfer the sauce to a sauce pan and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add fresh basil. Let it cool.
In a pot boil water and add coarse salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
Drain pasta and add enough olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Let it cool.
Serve at room temperature.
Note: This is a refreshing dish and I suggest preparing it two hours ahead. Do not use grated Parmesan. It just needs fresh country bread!
… and Ambrosina agrees about that!!!
So… which dish reminds you of the eighties???