The art of cooking pasta
Text : Marie Josèphe Moncorgé. Translator: Bruce Lee
Originally, lasagne-style pasta was usually fried before being cooked in stock.
Long-cooked pasta in stock
Vermicelli-style pasta was cooked in stock. Up until the 17th century, people preferred long-cooked pastas for their tenderness: they were cooked between 30 minutes up to 2 hours! It was only in the 19th century that Neapolitans adopted shorter cooking times. The expression al dente is even more recent: just after WWI.
Photo: Alpina Savoie
Pasta seasoned with parmesan and spices, often sweetened during the Renaissance
The association of pasta, cheese, and spices was constant during the Middle Ages. During the Renaissance, where sweet-tasting foods became more popular, Messisbugo or Scappi created associations between pasta, cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. Although the mixture seems surprising, it is actually quite pleasant.
Cooking recipe: Sweetened pasta with parmesan and cinnamon
The tradition of pasta with cinnamon and parmesan was not limited to Italian cuisine, since we also found it in Liege in 1604, in l'Ouverture de Cuisine by Lancelot de Casteau:
Autre rafioule (raviole): Take a large handful of boiled spinach, a little handful of chopped mint with spinach, squeeze out the excess water, three ounces of grated parmesan, four ounces of fresh butter, three egg yolks, two nuts of nutmeg, half-ounce of cinnamon, and make a little raviolo and boil it like the others, and place as many as you like in a dish with water and butter, parmesan and cinnamon, and boil a little before serving.
The first recipe for pasta with tomato sauce (macaroni in the style of Naples) was written in 1891.
For other recipes refer to Recettes historiques de pâtes par Liliane Plouvier, professeur of the history of gastronomy, Centre de Gastronomie historique de l'Institut Cooremans, Brussels.
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