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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.

Pasta Fredda


  • 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.


  1. 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.
  2. Pass tomatoes through a food mill to discard skin and seeds.
  3. Transfer the sauce to a sauce pan and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add fresh basil. Let it cool.
  4. In a pot boil water and add coarse salt. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
  5. Drain pasta and add enough olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Let it cool.
  6. 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???

33 Comments Post a comment
  1. I still have those shorts.

    September 5, 2012
  2. I prepare a marinara sauce that uses carrot, celery, and onion but not as odori, something I’m not familiar with. I cannot wait to try this, Ambrosiana, especially now, when this area’s tomatoes are at their peak.
    Your daughter is such a beautiful little girl. Look at that smile! I bet she’s already Daddy’s Little Girl.

    September 5, 2012
    • Now is the time to prepare sauces, preserves, pastes with tomatoes. Even putting them in the freezer! Thank you John! Indeed, Ambrosina is daddy’s little girl!

      September 10, 2012
  3. Fabulous post and great retro photo. I can live without Wham, but pasta is part of my lifeblood. Ambrosina is looking wonderful.

    September 5, 2012
    • Thank you Roger! I think pasta is one of the best comfort foods!

      September 10, 2012
  4. I love that song and your pasta.

    September 5, 2012
  5. Oh my, Wham does bring back those 80’s memories! It is amazing to learn how simple so many of those Italian pasta dishes are — a reminder that delicious dishes do not require great complexity, in fact, that can often mask the good flavors of a classic dish!

    September 5, 2012
    • If you have great quality ingredients, you don’t have to manipulate them too much! Also, I only eat tomatoes during Summer since they are tastier.

      September 10, 2012
  6. I’m so interested in this. I could eat cold pasta out of the fridge any day 🙂 but I’ve not seen pasta presented at room temp like this with the sauce on the side. So many of my mothers dishes would be prepared ahead of time and left to be eaten room temp. Sounds lovely and perfect for these last hot days of summer. Thanks for sharing this, I can’t wait to try it!
    And that baby….she’s absolutely adorable !

    September 5, 2012
    • Thank you spice girl! I love pasta since it is so versatile! I once heard some Italian guy said he loved pasta so much that he could even eat it for breakfast!

      September 10, 2012
  7. ¡Qué linda es! Una receta estupenda. En cuanto a los 80′ Para mi son los menudo 😉

    September 5, 2012
    • Ah! Los Menudo! Claro! Subete a mi moto…..miticos!!! 🙂

      September 10, 2012
  8. A wonderful simple pasta dish and what a great idea to serve it at room temperature. The baby is lovely!

    September 5, 2012
  9. Awww look at the cutie in that photo :). And that pasta looks absolutely superb! I can totally go for some of that right now 🙂

    September 5, 2012
  10. Your little one is getting prettier by the day. Taglierini seems to be so popular in Italy…we had it at so many restaurants last year. Very delicate and delicious.

    September 6, 2012
    • Thank you Karen! Exactly, taglierini pasta is one of the best formats for sugo al pomodoro. I find egg pasta very satisfying and at the same time delicate if the form is long and thin

      September 10, 2012
  11. Ah the 80s !! The pasta dish looks totally delic, and I need to look out for more kinds of pasta, thank you !

    September 6, 2012
    • Thank you Claire! I can imagine you have great tomatoes to make pasta al pomodoro!

      September 10, 2012
  12. I so remember the 80’s! And I loved that song from Wham. Haha! I remember the shorts too 🙂

    I too love plain pasta with a little olive oil and parmesan. We never had sauce on the side. My mom was famous for mixing up the pasta with the sauce before it reached my plate. 😦

    Absolutely beautiful baby girl! I have two baby girls, only they’re mostly grown up. Time flies! Enjoy!

    September 7, 2012
    • Aww! Thanks Karista! The baby is growing up so fast! Olive oil and Parmesan sounds great! Italians call this preparation pasta in bianco!

      September 10, 2012
  13. I was a child in the 80’s and I do remember having to eat at the school canteen. They served the pasta mixed with butter and sage. I hated it at that time. Beautiful baby your Ambrosina 🙂

    September 9, 2012
    • Thank you! Italians use butter and sage sauce but usually they top it over ravioli. I remember going to college in the 90’s and often frequented the cafeteria. It offered a dreadful pasta with a buttered sauce!

      September 10, 2012
  14. Your little angel is so cute
    To me what brings me back to the eighties is my grandmother’s date ring cookies 🙂 one bite and I am a kids again 🙂

    September 9, 2012
    • Thank you Sawsan! It is so true! The fact of giving just one bite, is enough to take us to our childhood…what a sweet memory…and bite!

      September 10, 2012
  15. This is a lovely simple recipe and must be a delight to eat and thank you so much for the shot of baby. I had been wondering. She is delightful.. c

    October 3, 2012
    • Thank you Celi!! Ambrosina is HUGE now! I will be poosting another photo in one of my future posts!

      October 3, 2012
      • excellent.. babies always look gorgeous in photographs, they are like cats, always beautiful.. c

        October 4, 2012
  16. Info Molto utile. Spero di vedere presto altri post!

    May 17, 2013

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