There are an almost infinite number of types of pasta asciutta, especially if you include all the regional variations in names. Almost 90 per cent of the pasta eaten in Italy is dried, the remainder being home-made. Italians eat pasta every day; if they don’t, they go ‘cold turkey’. They have a whole vocabulary based around it. One of the nicest to me is ‘butta la pasta’, literally meaning to drop the pasta in the water. You hear burly middle-aged men shouting up to third and fourth floor apartment windows, ‘Mamma, butta la pasta’ (‘Get lunch on the table, I’m home!’). A colander or sieve is known as a ‘scuolopasta’, as if they had nothing else to drain. Over the years at La Cacciata the guests each week have come up with a series of questions about pasta; week in week out, the exact same questions and misconceptions crop up. This indicates a gap between what cookbook writers assume the public knows on the subject, and the reality of the situation, which is one of surprising ignorance, so here is my ‘Dried Pasta Seminar’.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.