As my Italian-American college roommate taught me long ago, there’s something about letting any tomato-based dish cool overnight that does magic things to it the next day. Not a whole lot to say about today’s dish — all the basic ingredients and their sourcing were described in the previous post. Today’s task was simply to boil water and add Granoro penne rigate for 9 minutes while last night’s parmigiana pugliese re-heated in the oven. Drain the pasta, mix everything in the pot, top with some DOP pecorino and the organic Zucchi EVOO, and eccociqua — a delightful sort of pasta alla norma con salsiccia.
Mixing in the pot is absolutely essential, another tip from my old roommate of origini meridionali I learnt before ever even setting foot in Italy. Yet many non-Italian cooks don’t do it and I can’t fathom why, or why not. The just-cooked pasta will be porous and ready to accept the flavor of whatever you’re eating it with — it’s a quick and easy trick that adds a lot of flavor. This ties into a greater idea that non-Italian cooks focus on the “sauce” (more properly a condimento) more than the pasta itself — a cardinal mistake in not only my opinion but likely that of 58 million Italians. This 21-year old New York Times article makes that point in excellent detail.