It is impossible to live in Italy and to forget about Pasta. It is something that you understand after little days of staying in the country, something that deep inside you already knew before moving and that you were actually looking forward to. During the first few days you will experience it with happiness (let’s be honest: who doesn’t like pasta?). After some weeks, eating so much pasta will start to make you afraid of getting to fat. And after some months you will simply adapt your own metabolism to that life style based on different types of sauces and impossible amounts of carbohydrates.
That said… what do you have to do to cook pasta alla italiana? What tips do they give? Is it possible to become a real Italian when cooking pasta? Well, unless you’ve been born in the Italic peninsula, the answer is quite simple: no, it is not possible. Even though, just in case you have Italian friends (in the remote and almost impossible case they haven’t pointed it out yet to you) and you want to keep them on time, here you have some advices that are mandatory in case you want to survive during your period in Italy.
- You shall have no other gods before Pasta. Pasta it is definetely not something that you cook while being drunk, once you are back home after party. Neither it is the dish you survive during the first weekend your parents leave you alone at home. Pasta is THE dish, THE basis of the Italian diet, THE national pride.
- You shall not take the name of the Carbonara in vain. The Carbonara sauce is made out of egg yolks and bacon. NOTHING ELSE. It DOES NOT have cream. It DOES NOT have mushroms. And, above all, IT IS NOT equivalent AT ALL than those pre-cooked sauces that are sold at supermarkets.
- You will sanctify the boiling time. The boiling time is sacred and needs to be respected. It is totally illegitimate to put the pasta inside the water before that.
- Honor the way the pasta looks like. The dish cannot only taste as Heaven: it also needs to look as Paradise (Italians and their sense of esthetics).
- You shall not eat bread while eating pasta. I actually don’t get well why yet, but taking into account how the Italians react every time they see me doing it, I think we are talking about a behavior not socially accepted.
- You shall not commit inappropriate combinations. Pasta is not combinable with chicken or sausages. However, peas and carrots are permitted and are actually highly recommended.
- You shall not add oil into the water for the pasta. It doesn’t matter if you are intending to avoid the pasta to get stick to the pot. Don’t argue. Don’t think about it. Don’t try to find a justification. Learn how to cook your pasta in only water e basta.
- You shall not reduce the pasta to the only two types that are cooked at your place. Open the eyes, friends: there is life further the spaghetti and the macarroni.
- You shall not ever eat pasta if the sauce is a simple tomato sauce. Despite its popularity in Spain, in Italy it is just impossible.
- You will accept the Italians superiority when cooking pasta. An Italian will ALWAYS cook pasta better than you. Always. Always. ALWAYS. They will point it out in case you didn’t notice it. The sooner you accept it, the less frustrated you will be, I can tell you.
Worst thing of this? That after living for three months in Italy, you will realize that the previous list doesn’t make you smile any longer for being “an exaggeration”, but rather that it is a fair Decalogue that needs to be mandatory followed. True story.
– Inés –
*Credit to the picture to Inés
(but credit to the dish to our lovely and adorable neighbours)