A Bit of Clarity About Some Italian Traditional Pastas :)

Hello to everyone 🙂

As all of you probably know, in Italy there are thousands of pasta recipes, and many of them have not really strict “rules”, because many of those recipes can change from place to place or from family to family…but there are some recipes which are considered very traditional, they became famous (also outside Italy) and somehow they can be “codified” 🙂 or better, also those ones can have some variations, but let’s say that the possible variations are always inside certain “limits” 🙂 in few words, we shouldn’t turn them upside-down if we want to call them with their names 🙂 we must keep a sense in their ancient and glorious names 😀

I’m talking about those recipes typical of Rome/Lazio region (and Campania too), simple recipes, traditionally poor, recipes which have a common base of ingredients.

Since a while I had in my mind this post, outside Italy I saw so many weird recipes being called with these names (especially Carbonara and Amatriciana), using ingredients that probably almost no one would use in Italy, so I began thinking that probably too many people have no idea of what those names mean, and I hope that this post will be appreciated 🙂 I always like to know what’s behind the origins of traditional recipes, and I like to assume that also other people would like to know something about 🙂

The final “suggestion” to make this post came from a very nice and clear scheme that I found on the page of Mimmo Corcione, a very funny old man from Naples area which is also a good gourmand and he always prepares with passion simple but very tasty food…his videos are lovely, and watching him I would define it relaxing, he shows so naturally his love for the food 🙂 HERE is his channel, if someone is curious 🙂

The scheme is the following, and it explains very easily the origin of these recipes:


We are talking about recipes that mostly originated between shepherds and peasants, in a time where there were few ingredients available for most of them, and they needed to “fare di necessità virtù”, translated “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” 😀

Shepherds from Naples area and Lazio area were unlikely to be in contact between them at that time, but they somehow ended up to create some similar recipes with those basic ingredients…why? Well, probably because the ingredients were few, and the combinations are limited 🙂 This is Mimmo’s opinion, and I agree with him 🙂

So, the base of these traditional recipes is made of pasta, guanciale (cheek lard), Pecorino cheese and black pepper, and this base is already a famous recipe itself, called Gricia.

Then we have the following variations:

  1. Cacio e Pepe“, probably the oldest and the most simple of all, just with Pecorino and pepper.
  2. Carbonara: to the base we add the eggs
  3. Amatriciana: to the base we add the tomatoes
  4. Lardiata Napoletana, the same base where just the guanciale is substituted with lardo, then it can be added tomato and basil too.

As we saw, they are very simple, and easy to remember 🙂 no cream, no yoghurt, no butter, no pickles, no refined seeds oils…These recipes are the demonstration that sometimes the most simple things are the best, the secret ingredient is love and passion in how you make them 🙂 (and I will never be tired to repeat it, the quality of the ingredients makes the difference, especially in simple recipes like these ones, with few ingredients combined together).

I hope it was interesting for someone 🙂 It’s a simple scheme just to understand the origin of those dishes, then as I said there can be some little variations…if you like the onion, add a little piece of it, or a drop of extra virgin olive oil, or a little chili…just don’t make “revolutions” that change completely the taste and the essence of these traditional recipes, turning the fact of calling them with their original names into a non-sense, that’s the main point 🙂




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