Italy: Food                                                                

Prosciutto cotto is cooked ham that is excellent in sandwiches.

Mozzarella is a fresh leavened cheese, originally from the area around Naples and made from the milk of the Italian buffalo cow. Nowadays, genuine buffalo mozzarella is quite rare and is mostly made from the milk of ordinary cows.

Pizza al Piatto is pizza on a plate that is eaten with a knife and fork.

Pecorino is a cheese made of sheep’s milk, which is allowed to mature and harden over a period of time.

Pesci e frutti de mare is fish and seafood.

Antipasta peperonata is an appetizer of sliced peppers, onions and tomatoes.

Ravioli are small, usually square, stuffed pasta.

Linguini all’arrabbiata is narrow, flat, noodles in an herbal tomato sauce of bacon, sausage and cayenne.

Profiteroles are balls of puff pastry filled with confectioner’s custard and coated with melted chocolate.

Gelato is Italian ice cream, which comes in many flavors.


The Story of the Pasta Pot Pile-up

Many years ago in a small town on the island of Sicily a widow lived with her six children: Rosa, Maria, Alfredo, Angelo, Antonio, Augustino and a cat named Leonardo. The widow was very poor but her children never went hungry because her mother had given her a magic pasta pot. The widow taught her eldest daughter Rosa the secret of the magic pot on her 18th birthday. Only the eldest daughter was allowed to learn the secret.

Angelo, the eldest son in the family, was angry that he would not be the one to inherit the pot. He was determined to learn its secret and planned to one day steal the pot away from Rosa.

One night just before supper, Angelo hid in the kitchen where the magic pot was kept. His mother came in to make dinner. She bent over the pot and whispered the magic words, “Pasta Pot, Pasta Pot, do your magic stuff! Keep on cooking, until I say ‘enough’!” In the blink of an eye, the pot filled with hot, steaming pasta. When there was enough for all the children to eat, Angelo’s mother said, “Basta, basta, stop the pasta!” (Basta is the Italian word for enough.) Then the widow turned around three times. The pasta gurgled and then stopped growing.

Angelo was very excited! He finally knew the magic words! However, because he was hiding, he did not see his mother turn around three times.

The following day, Angelo’s mother went to the next village to sell her embroidery at the fair. Angelo decided that this would be his chance to impress his friends with his magic powers.

Angelo invited all the villagers to come to his house for lunch. Angelo’s sister Rosa was furious when she found out what her brother was up to. She ran to the fair to bring her mother home.

At noon all the villagers stood outside Angelo’s house. Wait until you see what I can do!” he shouted to everyone. He then went to the pot and said the magic words, “Pasta pot, Pasta Pot, do your magic stuff. Keep on cooking until I say ‘enough’!” The pot instantly filled with spaghetti. Angelo dished out steaming plates of the pasta to all his friends and neighbors.

After several hours, when every stomach was full, even the stomach of Leonardo the cat, Angelo said the magic words to stop the pot. “Basta, basta, stop the pasta!” The spaghetti would not stop! Angelo said the magic words again. The pasta continued to pour out of the pot. It flowed onto the floor. It flowed out the windows and doors. It flowed in the street. The villagers were angry. They shouted at Angelo to stop the spaghetti. Angelo repeated the magic words over and over. Nothing happened.

Just as the spaghetti was beginning to squirm into the villagers’ homes, Rosa came home with her mother. The widow shouted the magic words. She then quickly turned around in three circles. The pasta gurgled. Then it stopped flowing from the pot.

The villagers looked at the spaghetti hanging all over their homes. They wanted Angelo to be punished.

Do you think Angelo should be punished? If not, why not? If so, what do you think would be a suitable punishment for his behavior?


A Pasta Party Recipe with Fish Sause

Plan your own Pasta Pot Feast! Pasta is the word used to describe all the different noodles used in Italian food. Don’t limit yourself to spaghetti! Explore the wonders of fettuccine, rigatoni, ravioli, tortellini, vermicelli, lasagna and the old favorite, macaroni. You can buy almost all noodles ready made at most supermarket stores. And there are wonderful Italian cookbooks in your library to show you how to make your own pasta.

Here is a fish sauce recipe for you can try that goes with any pasta.

Serves: 4

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter until melted.
  2. Add some chopped parsley, green peppers and green onions.
  3. Fry for one minute and add a can of tuna with its oil.
  4. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Very slowly pour in a cup of heavy cream.
  6. Stir constantly as you pour so the cream does not curdle.
  7. Add a little salt and pepper and cook another 5 minutes.
  8. Pour on top of your favorite pasta noodles!
  9. Enjoy!