I can’t remember how old I was when I first ate spaghetti with a fork and spoon. I learned that technique because I grew up in America. If I’d have grown up in Italy, I wouldn’t have been able to use the spoon because it’s considered poor etiquette. Either way, it doesn’t matter much to me how you eat it as long as you don’t cut it with a knife.
ITALIAN CURIOSITIES: SHOULD YOU OR SHOULD YOU NOT USE A SPOON TO EAT SPAGHETTI?
You know Italians are passionate, sometimes even too much. You just need to look at them when it comes to soccer. In the kitchen, if there is something likely to start up a heated discussion around the table – besides soccer, of course – it must be the way you eat your spaghetti (and long pasta in general) . . .
My Aunt Lena got this recipe from a chef in Salerno. He told her the idea was that a woman could be out with her boyfriend all day and serve this to her husband when he got home – with him thinking that it took her all day to cook it when it wasn’t cooked at all.
4 large tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped basil
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Salt & coarse black pepper
½ cup olive oil
Put the tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes until the skin cracks, then run cold water over them and peel off their skin. Cut them in half across the core and squeeze out the seeds. Finely chop and put them in a large serving bowl. Add garlic, basil, parsley, salt & pepper and cover with ½ cup of olive oil.
A few optional additions: chopped anchovies, drained capers, chopped olives.
The ingredients should all be at room temperature before mixing with 1 lb. just cooked spaghetti. The heat from the hot pasta will be all it needs.
Raw Puttanesca is kind of a light and delicate summery sauce that’s almost a salad, so no cheese unless you must.