Most readers will be familiar with the restaurant term, Pasta del Giorno, pasta of the day, which in Italy, never strays too far from well-known classics. Pasta combinations vary from region to region or town to town but the seasoning, pasta shapes used and sauces will usually be particular to that area. Campanilismo is alive and well in Italy. I cook pasta at least once a week, hence the title of this post, Pasta della Settimana- pasta of the week. This may become a new weekly series, using fresh seasonal ingredients and a new world Italian approach, as well as documenting some traditional classics.
Pasta never gets boring so long as you change the pasta shapes, use fresh seasonal ingredients, as well as excellent extra virgin olive oil and Italian Parmigiano. The total cooking time is usually 12 minutes, including the preparation, which can take place as the pasta cooks. Mr Tranquillo, my kitchen hand, grates the Parmigiano and pours the wine, and if it’s a sunny day, sets the outside table.
This simple recipe comes from the Campania region. In some ways it resembles that classic Roman dish, Cacio e Pepe in that it includes Pecorino Romano but it’s one hundred times easier to make. It’s generally made with tubetti, which are short tubular shapes such as Ditalini, or Maccheroni shaped pasta.
Ingredients for four serves
- 1 clove garlic
- 5 Tablespoons EV olive oil
- some flat leafed parsley, cut finely
- black pepper, freshly ground to taste ( I like lots)
- sea salt
- 4 eggs
- 50 g pecorino, grated
- 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 400 g pasta tubetti, such as ditalini
- Cook the pasta in lots of boiling salted water for the time suggested on the packet.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and lightly beat adding apinch of salt and pepper.
- Add the pecorino to the eggs, mix well, then add the parmesan. The mixture should be clear but quite thick.
- In a wide non stick pan, ( I tend to use a non stick wok for all my second stage pasta making these days) warm the olive oil and add the clove of garlic until it turns a pale gold, then remove it. Turn off the heat. Then add the drained cooked pasta shapes to the hot oil and saute for one minute.
- Add the pasta to the egg and cheese mixture, tossing about to mix well with a wooden spoon. Then add the finely chopped parsley.
- Serve in heated plates with a green salad and extra cheese if desired.
Campanilismo is a term derived from the word campanile, the bell tower and refers to an attachment to one’s birth place and the traditions that go with that town or village. In one sense, it can be described as parochialism. When talking about cuisine, this attachment can be both positive and negative. The positive aspects include the preservation of traditional dishes and foods of the region or the town: the negative side is that food choices and ingredients have become limited and limiting, reflecting the modern Italian’s tendency to look inwards and backwards. New foods and different ways of serving things are often viewed with suspicion, believing that the local version is the best and only way.