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The Origins of the Italian Cuisine: Magna Gracie and

the Etruscans. The history of Italian cooking begins
with Magna Gracie, where the culture of the Greek
colonies popularized the art. The Daly fare was
simple and sober (pork, salted fish, chickpeas, lentils,
lupins,live pickles and dried figs) but at banquets the
food was more varied and plentiful (soups, gamin
vinegar and honey sauces, sweets with almonds and
walnuts) and also took on ritual and symbolic
meanings. The Etruscans too had a simple diet
based on the cereals favoured by the fertile region
(present-day Tuscany).The richest Etruscans were
particularly fond of excellence and the pleasures of
the table: The ancient Romans tell of
sumptuous feasts.
Cuisine in the Middle Age:
The cuisine of the Barbarians who invaded Italy from
the 5thcentury A.D. was consi derabl y
di fferent from that of the Romans and was
based on pl enti ful roast meats, stuffed pastri e
s and oven-
baked pi es. However, for the Ital i an population
reduced to poverty and servitude, food was rather poor
and consisted of cereals, milk, cheese and vegetables.
Gradually, culinary art began a revival (especially after
1000A.D.)In the agricultural centres around the
monasteries where the famished and
terrorized popul ati on had taken refuge. The
general tendency was to make food heal thi er,
more appetizing and digestible, eliminating
elaborate preparation and introducing more fresh
fruit and vegetables.
Italian Cuisine Culture:
Italy's cuisine is justifiably world famous, cooking
styles varying from rich and creamy dishes of the
north to hot and spicy specialties of the south.
Italy is also in the largest wine-producing country in
the world.

Specialties of Italian cuisine: Spaghetti al la
Charcoal makers spaghetti: Though the Romans claim
to have invented this astonishingly simple and mouth-
watering dish, some say it was developed by Umbrian
charcoal burners. Others say it was invented as a way
to use bacon and eggs bought on the black market
from American service personnel during the Second
World War. In any case, its one of the few dishes in
which bacon can be substituted for the pancetta1/4
pound pancetta or bacon1/2 cup grated Parmigiano4
eggs yolks and 2 egg whites1/4 cup heavy cream
(optional) Olive oil, salt, and pepper a pound of
Sago di Maiale - Pork Sauce
This is a rarity, an Italian recipe that calls for
pancetta affumicata, which is essentially bacon. Try
to select a piece of bacon that has no sugar added.1/2
pound pork loin1/4 cup olive oil small onion, a small
carrot, and a 3-inch rib of celery Sage (5-6 leaves) 1/2
cup dry white wine2 ounces bacon (see note above)
Powdered cinnamon1/3 cup tomato sauce1 teaspoon
flour, diluted in 3/4 cup boiling water Salt Pepper 3/4
cup grated Parmigiano3/4 pound short pasta such as
penne or ziti. Wash and dice the onion, celery and
carrot, dice the pork to pieces the same size, and
mi nce the sage. Heat the oi l i n a heavy-
bottomed pot, sti r i n the greens and sage, and
si mmer them unti l the pi eces of oni on are
l i ghtl y browned. Add the di ced meat, saut,
stirring, until it has browned, season the mixture lightly
with salt and pepper, add the white wine, and reduce
to a simmer. While the wine is evaporating julienne the
bacon. When the

Wi ne i s al most compl etel y gone sti r i n the
bacon, a pi nch of powdered ci nnamon, the
tomato sauce, and the boiling water-flour mixture.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and
adding more water if need be to keep the sauce from
drying out. About half hour before its done heat the
pasta water; cook and drain the pasta, pour the sauce
over it, and serve with the grated Parmigianino. This is
quite substantial and will be sufficient for four if served
with a tossed salad. As is true for Sago all Bolognese,
you can expand this recipe and freeze some for later.
Set the water to boil. Meanwhile, dice the pancetta or
bacon, saut it in a tablespoon of oil till its well
cooked, and drain the pieces on a paper towel. As soon
as the water boils, salt it and add the pasta. While the
pastas cooking, lightly beat the yolks and
one or two whites (just one white if youre using
the cream). As soon as the yolks and whites
are combined, beat in the cheese, pinches of salt and
pepper, and the cream, if youre using it.When the
pasta s done, drai n i t and transfer i t
i mmedi atel y to a heated bowl . Add the pancetta
and pour the egg mixture over the pasta, stirring
briskly (the heat of the pasta will cook the eggs). Serve
Vermicelli all Campolattaro II
Serves 4.A reci pe ki ndl y provi ded to Carl a
Francesconi by Count Paol o Gaetani ; Don
Emi l i oCapomazza Marqui s of Campol attaro, wh
o l i ved i n the mi d-
1800s, was a charmi ngconversationalist,
cultured gentleman, Mayor of Naples, and Member
of Parliament, whoalso found time to create three
renowned pasta sauces that bear his name.
The second, to serve 6:
2 1/4 pounds (1 k) beef muscle from the shank, what's
calledgamboncello in Naples1 chicken The thigh of a
dove (one could use pigeon if need be, or likelyomit it,
though doing so will decrease the complexity of the
dish)A bouquet garni for broth (with carrot, celery,
parsley and so on)Salt & pepper to taste1 1/8 pounds
(500 g) perciatelli1/2 cup (100 g) unsalted butter 3
cups (150 g) freshly grated ParmigianoAbundant
minced parsleyBoil the meats with the herbs to
make broth, seasoning it to taste, and when the
broth isdone remove some of the meat and dice it,
setting the remainder aside for lesso rifatto
or boiled dinner. Bring pasta water to a boil, and while
it's heating melt the butter with a littleof the broth
(remember, you're not making soup). Cook the pasta
until it is al dente, drain it,and season it with the
butter-broth mixture, the cheese, and the parsley.
Sprinkle the dicedmeat over all, followed by more
From Cosa Bolle in Pentola, the Newsletter: And in
closing, a while back I got a requestfor cavatelli.
This is a traditional Puglian pasta, and though Luigi
Sada gives a saucerecipe in La Cucina Pugliese, he
doesn't say how to make the pasta. Pasta e Sughi, part
of aseries put out by Fabbri Editore, does. They say the
preparation is moderately difficult andwill take about
two hours.

To serve 4:
1 cup (150 g) finely ground semola di grano duro2 1/2
cups (250 g) white flour SaltSift the flours together
onto your work surface and scoop out a depression in
the middle of the mound. Work in enough lightly salted
warm water to obtain a dough that's about as firmas
bread dough. Knead it quite thoroughly, then break off
a chunk and roll it into asnake about as thick as your
pinkie and a foot long (1 cm) (keep the remainder of
the doughcovered with a damp cloth while you're doing
this). Cut the snake into slightly less than 1-inch
lengths (2 cm), and pressing the blade of the knife
into the cylinders lengthwise asyou go to obtai n
what l ook vaguel y l i ke razor cl ams. When you
have fi ni shed maki ngthem, let them dry on a
lightly floured surface, and then cook them in
salted water untilthey are al dente. You can serve
them with meat sauce, fresh tomato sauce (see
above),or olive oil, garlic, and lots of shredded hot
pepper. And here's Mr. Sada's recipe: Cavatellicon
Ruchetta alla Foggiana, a recipe from the city of
Foggia. Ruchetta is a wild herb that'ssimilar in many
ways to arugula, which can be substituted for it if need
To serve 4:
The Cavatelli made above1 pound (500 g) ruchetta1
pound (500 g) blanched, peeled and seeded tomatoes
(you couldalso use canned tomatoes if need be)1 clove
garlicAbundant fresh basil1/3 cup (100 cc) olive
oilFreshly grated pecorino romano (use some that's not
overly sharp)Salt & pepper to tasteBring a pot of
lightly salted water to a boil. In the meantime,
wash the ruchetta very welland shred it coarsely.
Heat the oil in a skillet, saut the garlic, and when it
begins to color add the basil and the tomatoes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, reduce the
heat, andsimmer the sauce for about a half hour.
Fifteen minutes into the simmering time, stir
theruchetta into the boiling water, and shortly
thereafter the cavatelli. Cook them until they'real
dente, then drain the pasta and ruchetta, season it
with the sauce, and serve with gratedcheese. An
observation: Mr. Sada cooks the ruchetta for a half
hour. For my taste that's toolong, so I reduced the
cooking time. Feel free to adjust it to your taste