We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Readers know that we love Italy and Italian cuisine but we do not much care for pasta dishes as Primi - with a handful of exceptions. For one thing, I find tomato sauce to be close to disgusting which might make me a food snob and, for another, I find pasta to be a generally unpleasant experience except in very small amounts. I deserve some credibility because we have eaten our way through Italy from the Alps to the southern coast of Sicily.
Truth is, the cuisine of the Mezzogiorno is not exactly wonderful. Sicily, unlike southern Italy, is not big on pasta (more couscous and rice), but they make a few pasta Primis that are not bad: alla Norma, con le Sarde, and con Vongole (in order, with eggplant, with fresh Sardines, and with Little clams or cockles.
(The northern Italian pasta Primis I have liked have been Pappardelle con Funghi (only Porcinis) and alla Bolognese. Given a choice, I'd often prefer a gorgonzola risotto sprinkled with a red wine reduction instead. Or a small bowl of steamed mussels with wine and herbs.)
Reminder: In Italian cooking, Pasta and tons of other things serve as Primi, meant to be small amounts of tasty first courses before the meat or fish Secondi.
When I think of Sicilian food I think first of eggplants, lemons, grilled pork and seafood, and couscous.
Sicily grows lots of eggplant and it is used in lots of their poverty cooking. Many people think alla Norma is wonderful but I think it is just OK, in small amounts.
I'm also very much not a fan of most pasta dishes. Nonna was from Calabria and Papa Sicilian but Nonna cooked in Papa's style. Only rarely do I visit the local "Italian" restaurants. Can't abide the sauce and tasteless, cooked to mush noodles.
My combined family reunions were epic food and insult fests tempered with drinking that would have put many Irish nationals to shame. Yes, bocce ball is a contact sport - at least in my families' tradition.
Pasta alla Norma (named after a local opera) is from Catania and is supposed to invoke nearby Mt. Etna with lava and snow. Catania also has an impressive baroque opera house. I prefer pasta with sardines and shellfish (the best I had of that was in Syracusa), but pasta Norma when it is done right (with ricotta salta) and pecorino cheese is excellent.
Evi L. Bloggerlady
aahh.. the pasta wars ;}
I'm of the opinion that almost any food is made better by throwing pasta at it.