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Old 01-31-2012, 02:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
Again, that recipe sounds so good. I think that I will love the blend of veggies and herbs with pancetta! Do you think that I could use fresh tomatoes when they come in season or do the canned variety work better?
You surely can, but I generally use canned San Marzano variety, because it's faster and the final taste is good enough for me (and Bobby McGee). Even if we have plenty of fresh tomatoes here.

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Originally Posted by Kathleen View Post
I also have a question about your typical Italian course, which sounds simply fantastic! If you have something like bruschetta as an appetizer, would you then have tomatoes featured elsewhere such as in a sauce? One of my favorite appetizers has to be the fresh mozzarella with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil! It's just so good.
I generally do not prepare appetizers at home; when I want a robust meal, I just go for a pasta/risotto primo, and meat/fish secondo. But you're right: if I prepare a tomato-based primo, I will not use tomato for the second.
You could have some tomato bruschetta, then a pasta without tomato, or a risotto (I never use tomato in my risotto), and some meat or fish without tomato. But It's a matter of taste, in the end. I mean, unless you're a scientific menu builder, and you want everything to be perfect, you know, alternating flavours and taking into account nutrition issues. But I'm not a scientist...
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Thanks for the primer. I feel like this post should be a "sticky" in the ethnic food section. It would be nice to be able to find it easily for reference.

How much of that is usually served for a regular, weeknight meal?
Usually we have a primo and a secondo with contorno, some fruit and maybe some dessert, quite always coffee, not so often a liquor.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Thanks for the primer. I feel like this post should be a "sticky" in the ethnic food section. It would be nice to be able to find it easily for reference.
You're welcome!
And I have to do a little editing, here, I just forgot to mention cheese (even if we are not French...) and legumes. Here is the edited version:

This is the structure of a typical full course Italian meal:

- Antipasto (antipasti): appetizer > Anything on earth and beyond, but usually some cold cuts, or grilled vegs, or some fish, but also bruschette and so on

- Primo: entrée, starter > Pasta, risotto, soup

- Secondo: second course > Meat, fish, eggs, anything BUT NOT pasta or risotto
- Contorno: the side dish for the second course > Generally vegetables or legumes

- Formaggio: cheese > It is not mandatory, sometimes they'll ask you if you want some cheese at the end of the meal, more often no one will mention it.

- Frutta: fruit
- Dolce: dessert
- Caffè: espresso coffee
- Liquore, ammazzacaffè > a good strong drink to finish!

- And do not forget the inevitable bread and wine!
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Luca Lazzari View Post
You're welcome!
And I have to do a little editing, here, I just forgot to mention cheese (even if we are not French...) and legumes. Here is the edited version:

This is the structure of a typical full course Italian meal:

- Antipasto (antipasti): appetizer > Anything on earth and beyond, but usually some cold cuts, or grilled vegs, or some fish, but also bruschette and so on

- Primo: entrée, starter > Pasta, risotto, soup

- Secondo: second course > Meat, fish, eggs, anything BUT NOT pasta or risotto
- Contorno: the side dish for the second course > Generally vegetables or legumes

- Formaggio: cheese > It is not mandatory, sometimes they'll ask you if you want some cheese at the end of the meal, more often no one will mention it.

- Frutta: fruit
- Dolce: dessert
- Caffè: espresso coffee
- Liquore, ammazzacaffè > a good strong drink to finish!

- And do not forget the inevitable bread and wine!
Are fruits like pears peeled with a knife and fork?
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:35 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by justplainbill View Post
Are fruits like pears peeled with a knife and fork?
Luca's rule: you'll never eat troublesome fruit outside your homeground!

Actually, there are "good manners" rules about how to manage fruit, but I'm a poor and humble peasant, I never go to those restaurants with waiters filling you glass with expensive wines...

However, I just phoned my posh friend Giulio to get some patrician advice.

1- Watermelon. You eat it like a dessert. Using fork and knife, you get rid of the seeds, in a courteous way, then you cut some small pieces, finally you're allowed to use your fork to carry one piece at a time to your delicate mouth.
2- Citrus fruits, like orange and grapefruit, you grab them with your left hand, then you peel them with your knife; you'll work on top and bottom first, then you cut through the rest vertically, and get rid of the damned peel. At this point you'll got blind for the acid squirts hitting your face, and you'll pathetically try to reach the toilet, but you cannot swear aloud, cause you're in a posh restaurant, baby. Once peeled, you keep the orange with the fork, and use the knife to cut some slice. Now you can use your hands to carry the slices to your mouth: do it with the utmost delicacy. And, please, don't spit the seeds like a hooligan: you'll spit them in your hands and lay them gently down in your plate.
3- Bananas. You keep it with your left hand, in the plate, then you peel it with the knife. Then you can cut it in pieces with the knife, and use your fork to bring the piece to your mouth.
4- Figs. You cut them in 4 parts and eat them with your fork (discarding the skin, you fool!).
5- Pears, apple, peaches. The fruit must be worked on always resting on the plate. You need to cut it in 4 pieces with the knife, using the other hand to help through the process. Then you take one piece with the fork and peel it with the knife, than you cut it in smaller pieces and, at last, you eat them.
6- Miscellaneous. You CAN eat some fruit with your hands, but even in this case you have to follow some guidelines. Grapes: grab it with your left hand, pick a grape with your right hand and eat it (for the spitting of the seeds, see the orange instructions). Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, you grab them from the stem and eat them. BUT, if they serve you this berries in a cup, you'll have to use your spoon to eat them. If they serve them in a cup WITH their stem, you can call the waiter a barbarian, in English, obviously. In Italy quite nobody understand English and you'll save your life from the fearful waiter's vendetta (I know what I'm talking about, I was a waiter long time ago).

A final WARNING: if you dare to behave following the above advice when you're in a normal (i.e. not heavily posh) Italian place with Italian friends or relative, or in some pictoresque Rome trattoria, they will surely skin you alive and make a fool of you till the end of time.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:25 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Luca Lazzari View Post
Luca's rule: you'll never eat troublesome fruit outside your homeground!

Actually, there are "good manners" rules about how to manage fruit, but I'm a poor and humble peasant, I never go to those restaurants with waiters filling you glass with expensive wines...

However, I just phoned my posh friend Giulio to get some patrician advice.

1- Watermelon. You eat it like a dessert. Using fork and knife, you get rid of the seeds, in a courteous way, then you cut some small pieces, finally you're allowed to use your fork to carry one piece at a time to your delicate mouth.
2- Citrus fruits, like orange and grapefruit, you grab them with your left hand, then you peel them with your knife; you'll work on top and bottom first, then you cut through the rest vertically, and get rid of the damned peel. At this point you'll got blind for the acid squirts hitting your face, and you'll pathetically try to reach the toilet, but you cannot swear aloud, cause you're in a posh restaurant, baby. Once peeled, you keep the orange with the fork, and use the knife to cut some slice. Now you can use your hands to carry the slices to your mouth: do it with the utmost delicacy. And, please, don't spit the seeds like a hooligan: you'll spit them in your hands and lay them gently down in your plate.
3- Bananas. You keep it with your left hand, in the plate, then you peel it with the knife. Then you can cut it in pieces with the knife, and use your fork to bring the piece to your mouth.
4- Figs. You cut them in 4 parts and eat them with your fork (discarding the skin, you fool!).
5- Pears, apple, peaches. The fruit must be worked on always resting on the plate. You need to cut it in 4 pieces with the knife, using the other hand to help through the process. Then you take one piece with the fork and peel it with the knife, than you cut it in smaller pieces and, at last, you eat them.
6- Miscellaneous. You CAN eat some fruit with your hands, but even in this case you have to follow some guidelines. Grapes: grab it with your left hand, pick a grape with your right hand and eat it (for the spitting of the seeds, see the orange instructions). Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, you grab them from the stem and eat them. BUT, if they serve you this berries in a cup, you'll have to use your spoon to eat them. If they serve them in a cup WITH their stem, you can call the waiter a barbarian, in English, obviously. In Italy quite nobody understand English and you'll save your life from the fearful waiter's vendetta (I know what I'm talking about, I was a waiter long time ago).

A final WARNING: if you dare to behave following the above advice when you're in a normal (i.e. not heavily posh) Italian place with Italian friends or relative, or in some pictoresque Rome trattoria, they will surely skin you alive and make a fool of you till the end of time.
Thanks for the aptly humorous reply. I recall the above etiquette practised in establishments where the patrons were not loath to combining some aqua minerale with their vino and il bagno looked like the following
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:22 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by justplainbill View Post
Thanks for the aptly humorous reply. I recall the above etiquette practised in establishments where the patrons were not loath to combining some aqua minerale with their vino and il bagno looked like the following
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:28 AM   #18
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Those slippery slopes can be hazardous .
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:01 PM   #19
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i'm stuck. i can't get past your statement, luca, that you limit pasta serving size to 120 grams. what?? and then you seal the deal by including the main course dish to that size. what??! it's luca's recipe, it looks good, smells divine and tastes sooo goood--why impose such a draconian rule limiting the pasta so drastically? unless the paltry pasta serving is a low carb or caloric limitation, i cannot imagine why anyone would invoke a rule that would cut off a pleasurable meal midway through. luca, i know you are referring to a personal preference in this pasta serving size matter, but i am burning with curiosity to know the why of it. my pasta servings are ALWAYS at least twice the size of yours. i would feel positively deprived to sit down at a table where my portion of pasta was to be limited to the paltry amount you suggest, luca. don't be mad, luca, i just need to know WHY??!!!
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:20 PM   #20
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i'm stuck. i can't get past your statement, luca, that you limit pasta serving size to 120 grams. what?? and then you seal the deal by including the main course dish to that size. what??! it's luca's recipe, it looks good, smells divine and tastes sooo goood--why impose such a draconian rule limiting the pasta so drastically? unless the paltry pasta serving is a low carb or caloric limitation, i cannot imagine why anyone would invoke a rule that would cut off a pleasurable meal midway through. luca, i know you are referring to a personal preference in this pasta serving size matter, but i am burning with curiosity to know the why of it. my pasta servings are ALWAYS at least twice the size of yours. i would feel positively deprived to sit down at a table where my portion of pasta was to be limited to the paltry amount you suggest, luca. don't be mad, luca, i just need to know WHY??!!!
Take a look at Luca's avatar. Uno etti of dried pasta is not an excessively small portion for a primo piatto.
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Luca’s Spaghetti with tomato, pancetta and vegs sauce – For Kathleen Since you are a rigatoni and spaghetti fan, Kathleen, here is one of my favorite recipes for the spaghetti. This recipe combines some of the most classic ingredients of Italian pastasciutta dishes, tomato and pancetta, with a tasty mix of vegetables and herbs, to produce a savory outcome. [COLOR="Green"]Serves 4 | SAUCE: 3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil | 400 g canned chopped tomatoes | 100 g pancetta | 1 carrot | 1 stick of celery | 1 onion | 2 shallots | 1 sprig of fresh rosemary | 1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped | ½ glass white dry wine | salt and black pepper to taste | PASTA: 400 g spaghetti (as always, you can reduce this quantity, if you’re not an Italian fatso like me :pig:) | a handful of coarse salt | SERVING: 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese. [/COLOR] [B]How to prepare your spaghetti [/B]- Start heating a large pot of water for the pasta. - Chop carrot, celery, onion, shallot and rosemary, mixing them. Finely chop the parsley and keep it for the final topping. Dice the pancetta. - Warm the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the mix of vegetable. Cook for around 5 minutes over medium heat, then add the pancetta, wait a couple of minutes and add the wine, over a high heat until it evaporates. Add the tomatoes, and cook over a medium heat for 15/20 minutes (or as long as you like, but not toooooooo much), stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, and add salt and black pepper to taste. - Add the coarse salt to the boiling pot of water, wait a couple of minutes then put in the pasta. Fill with hot water a serving bowl large enough for all the pasta. - Cook the spaghetti (look at the package for the cooking time and taste them a couple of minutes before the end). - Empty and wipe the warmed bowl. Drain the pasta and pour it into the bowl. Add the sauce in the bowl, then add chopped parsley and grated cheese and stir well with a fork and a spoon. - Using fork and spoon, put the pasta in 4 warm plates and serve. What wine can you drink with this recipe? A good red wine should go well with this tomato pasta dish, like a Sangiovese di Romagna Doc, from Emilia-Romagna region. 3 stars 1 reviews
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