Pasta with sauces

Pasta with sauces

By
Antonio Carluccio
Contains
41 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493703
Photographer
Laura Edwards

When you see pasta asciutta on Italian menus, it means pasta with a sauce as opposed to a pasta that is cooked in a soup or broth. Asciutta actually means dry, but this pasta is not completely dry: there should always be enough sauce to coat every pasta string or shape, but not so much that there is a sea of sauce swimming at the bottom of the plate when the pasta is eaten. In other words, you should be able to taste the pasta flavoured with a bit of sauce rather than just taste the sauce. Other nations may love to see a mass of sauce, bolognese or whatever, but this is not the Italian way.

Pasta asciutta also means a pasta that has to be eaten with a fork, which echoes the ‘dry’ characteristic above: if the dish is so soupy that a spoon is needed, then it is not properly pasta asciutta. Spoons in Italian pasta-eating are only used for soups and desserts, and are never used in conjunction with a fork when eating long pasta. (And it is absolutely forbidden to cut long pasta with a knife. The pasta is long and stringy for a purpose, to be twirled on a fork, without a spoon or a knife, to make a lovely mouthful.)

Pasta asciutta is usually pasta corta, the short shapes such as penne and fusilli – and indeed other flour and water products such as gnocchi – but it can also be pasta lunga, the long shapes such as spaghetti. Pasta asciutta can be flavoured with any kind of sauce, starting with the simplest tomato, but can also be based on other vegetables. The sauces can be of meat or game, or of fish, and I have divided the following chapter into three parts – vegetable, meat and fish – to make it easy for you to choose. All but the fish pasta dishes can be sprinkled with cheese, which will add savoury notes and its own inimitable flavour. The Italians tend to avoid using cheese with fish dishes because they think it drowns out the subtle flavour of the fish.

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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