Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mangia! Some Authentic Italian Food

mmmmmm, Italian Food!!

Close your eyes and think of your favorite Italian food.  It wasn't hard to come up with one was it?  That's because Italian foods like spaghetti, pizza, and lasagne seem almost as American as apple pie. But as a true Italian (which I am not) would tell you - jarred pasta sauce is not REAL pasta sauce.  Not like Mama would make :)  So we will get a recipe for an authentic, homemade pasta sauce AND, since my daughter doesn't like red sauce, we will make a Carbonara!  You are so lucky to be reading this!  Quick, tell everybody you know!! 

But first, a little history on Pasta.  I had always heard that pasta was brought to Italy by the explorer Marco Polo on his journeys to China - WRONG!  Apparently that was a myth.  Pasta has been mentioned in writings from Italy since the 1st century AD, and the dried version we know today has been around since the 8th century.  The dried version seems to have been introduced by the Arabs to Sicily during one of its many invasions and quickly became an Italian staple since the climate is perfect for growing the durum wheat used in pasta.  Now the tomato is a different story.  They WERE brought to Italy by explorers.  Not Marco Polo from China but Christopher Columbus (or someone on his crew) from the New World.  But alas, they were still not eaten until much later because they were thought to be poisonous, the plant is a member of the deadly Nightshade variety.  It wasn't until around 1839 that the first mention of pasta with tomatoes was documented.  Wonder who was brave enough to try it first?  Tomatoes soon became very popular and the rest, as they say, is history..........

Cooking Project: Tomato Sauce and Pasta Carbonara

As I mentioned before, my daughter won't eat red sauce (even though for the first 3 years of her life she LOVED it - but that's another story we won't go into here), so I found a great website called Real- Italian - Recipes. com where you can go and find some very delicious sounding sauces.  I especially thought the Italian Tomato Sauce with Tiny Meatballs  sounded delicious.  Please give it a look if you are in the mood for sauce like Mama (again, not my Mama- we aren't Italian) used to make.

We ARE going to make the Pasta Carbonara recipe I found on the site though- because it has Pancetta, which is like bacon, and my family loves BACON!

 For the recipe you will need:
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 lb. thick cut Pancetta - cut in chunks  OR thick cut bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • Grated Pecorino or Parmesan (we're using Parmesan)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Pasta (spaghetti or rigatoni) we cooked the whole bag and it was perfect amount for 4 people.
1. Heat oil to medium heat in large frying pan and add Pancetta - don't let it burn - should be pink with golden edges- or it tastes bitter.  Once done, turn off heat and let cool.
2. Start you pasta to cook in lots of rapidly boiling salted water. The directions are on the label for cooking times.
3. Mix eggs in bowl and add cheese and a pinch of salt.
4. When pasta is cooked add to pan with pancetta.  Add raw egg and mix it all together on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes- just until egg is cooked and coating pasta. 
5. Give it a dash of pepper and some more cheese and ENJOY!!!!!!

A real kid-pleaser!!!

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