Be it lasagne or spaghetti Bolognese, we all love our pasta. But in its homeland of Italy, there’s an etiquette around eating the stuff…
1. Dinner starts at 9.30pm
Or even 10pm – shock horror. But there will be pasta, so it’s worth holding out for.
2. Mid-week, dried pasta is fine
It’s not true that everyone in Italy makes pasta from scratch every day. Arguably, not even the much mythologised Italian ‘nonnas’ do. The dried stuff is deemed perfectly acceptable for a quick supper, or fresh packet versions.
3. On Sundays, you eat the fresh stuff
Come the weekend though, fresh pasta after church is a tradition for some – although, you can still buy in your freshly made pasta. No judgement.
4. Pair the wine with the filling – not the sauce
With most Italian pasta dishes, the sauce is secondary to the shape and texture of the (al dente!) pasta. It’s there to cling to and enhance the pasta, not drown it. And if your pasta is stuffed, the wine you’re drinking ought to match the filling, not the sauce it’s swimming in.
5. Parmesan does not go with seafood pasta
Ever. Don’t even think about it.
6. Pasta is your starter, not a main
And so, your portion size ought to be a little smaller. In Italy, it’s usual to start with aperitivos, before having a plate of pasta, and then your entree (meat or fish course).
7. Eat it with a fork
You shouldn’t need a knife at all. Instead, use the side of you fork to slice through your ravioli and pappardelle, or spear your rigatoni, rather than scooping it up with utensils.
8. Don’t twirl your spaghetti onto a spoon before putting it in your mouth
Unless you’re a kid, or American-Italian, then it’s allowed. And before you cooked it, you’d better not have snapped your dried pasta in half to fit it in the pan…
9. Eat your pasta from a plate
Plates rather than bowls are considered much more sophisticated, even if it’s tough scooping up the last bits of pasta without knocking them off the edge.