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Maureen B. Fant

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Posts posted by Maureen B. Fant

  1. QUOTE(Brad Ballinger @ May 12 2006, 02:48 AM)

    QUOTE(ludja @ May 11 2006, 10:30 AM)

    I must try bucatini--this fits well with carbonara, no?

    I believe spaghetti is the "default" pasta for carbonara, but I could be wrong. Bucatini is for amatriciana.

    I completely agree about Carbonara, spaghetti or spaghettoni is the pasta to use.

    Nonetheless, the Trattoria La Carbonara cooks penne for what it claims as its signature dish. When in Rome...

    Yes, but that's a famous exception. Even though penne are very common in Rome, they're not normal with carbonara. Spaghetti is the standard, rigatoni the usual "pasta corta" alternative. Bucatini are becoming quite rare, but they are traditional in Rome for la matriciana (amatriciana), for which spaghetti has become more usual. Bucatini are still favored for la gricia, also called amatriciana in bianco, i.e., guanciale and pecorino romano without tomatoes. In any case, we are talking about industrial substitutes for the original bucatino, which was a string of handmade pasta rolled on a sort of thin stick or knitting needle to form a thin tube.

  2. I'm sure it's largely true, but I'd have found the Times article more convincing if the author had found at least one reliable source and explained what it takes (or would take) to make the real stuff. His hedging use of "most" implies that somewhere somebody is using real truffles. Another little thing in the article (which I read quickly): white truffles from elsewhere turn up at the Alba truffle market. This is department of shocked, shocked. In fact (so it was explained to me in Alba) tartufo d'Alba is the name of a type of tuber, not a geographic restriction, and they grow, largely uncredited, in many parts of Italy. Just as marble from around the world is distributed from Carrara, truffles from lots of places are sold at the Alba market.

    Not that that has to do with the oil. I went to the Volpetti shop this morning and saw a bowl of little bottles of (black) truffle oil atop the fancy cheese display. I asked Claudio Volpetti so what about all this laboratory oil. After a certain amount of verbal acrobatics and tasting of oil and oil mixed with balsamico, I asked him again, so is any of it real? Yes, he said. Some of it is. This stuff is real. How can you tell? I can't, he said, but I know the people who make it, and I trust them. It comes down to relationships. This stuff comes from Valnerina, near our home. Inconclusive, of course, but I'm just passing it along. I wish I could remember what the label said, but from there I went to Checchino for lunch and am lucky I can remember my name.

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