I was hoping to write more here while I was on holidays, but the combination of my usual December activities, plus confectionery, plus the funeral, all followed up with several days of drainingly hot weather have left me more exhausted than I could have imagined. The notion that I might, at some point, not be tired doesn’t even seem possible.
Still, tomorrow is a Shakespeare evening, and having been completely uninspired all week, I’ve decided to simply celebrate the last of Shakespeare’s Italian plays (we still have Coriolanus, of course, but that is Roman, which is a whole different cuisine) by doing a proper Italian-style feast in the manner of my Nonna or my aunts.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Posted in baking, bread, food memories, Italian, Shakespeare cooking, Writing about cooking
Tagged insanity, nonna, pizza, planning posts, recipes, shakespeare
This gallery contains 1 photos.
The Australian Women’s Weekly has released a 20th anniversary collector’s edition of their original children’s birthday cake book, just in time for those of us who grew up in the 1980s to be having cake-aged children. A shrewd marketing move, … Continue reading
My father’s family is from the Basilicata region of Italy, and even after moving to Australia, my Nonna and Nonno would make their own sausage every year. I think one of my great-uncles kept pigs, or maybe just one pig each year, who was the source of said sausages. I never enquired. Nonna’s sausages were big, cured, salami-like things that would hang from the garage roof or from a hook in our pantry for weeks or months without going off. They were fairly highly spiced, I think with chilli and fennel seed, but I could be making that up, and you had to slice them thickly and cook them to render the big chunks of fat before eating them.
Pasta carbonara, in my family, was made with chunks of this sausage, and not with ham – if there was no sausage, my mother would use ham or bacon and add paprika to the dish, because the important thing about carbonara was that it had to be spicy. If it was not spicy, we were told, it was not proper carbonara. We never put cream in the recipe, either – it was all held together with eggs, ideally from Nonno’s chooks. Nonna’s sausage and mum’s carbonara were two of my favourite foods as a child, and I was terribly disappointed the first time I ordered carbonara at a restaurant and got this weird, bland, creamy thing with ham. Not the same thing at all.
The recipe is not my mother’s, though it started there. It has since evolved to fit the ingredients I can get, with a few ideas from Rachel Ray thrown in. It goes without saying that my carbonara does not taste anything like the carbonara you get at restaurants, though it is clearly a related dish.
I maintain that this is the only true and authentic way to make pasta carbonara.
Your Shopping List
250g spicy soppressa or Calabrese salami, whole, not sliced
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley
150g parmesan cheese, grated (the real stuff, please)
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup white wine
400g pasta (penne or penne rigate are my favourite kind for this)
3 big tomatoes
lettuce or cucumber
balsamic or red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
Posted in everyday cooking, food memories, main courses, nut-free, Recipes
Tagged eggs, everyday cooking, food memories, gluten-free, main coures, nut-free, parmesan, pasta, recipes, soppressa salami