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In Italy, recipes are passed down from generation to generation. They’re often shared by word of mouth, taught by grandmothers and mothers to their children, a dash of this, a handful of that. As such, the recipes you make during an Italy cooking vacation aren’t necessarily written down or recorded in a cookbook. What this means is that there are dishes that exist – and have existed for decades, if not longer – that are closely held secrets that only families know about. Naturally, these dishes are mouthwateringly good, if you can get the chef to share his or her secrets.
It’s one of these recipes that cookbook author Julia Della Croce recently found during a sojourn in Brooklyn, New York. Despite Della Croce’s many travels throughout Italy, she’d never before heard a recipe like this one, a pasta dish of linguine and tomatoes that the Coluccio family cooked in one pot rather than the traditional two.
Since this pasta dish is meant to be a quick lunch, it only serves two people. The main focus, other than the Italian linguine or spaghetti, is naturally the fresh tomatoes that are halved and drained. As with many other pasta dishes, the other ingredients include basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. But what makes this recipe so unique is the way the ingredients are combined and cooked. Once the tomatoes are boiled and cooked, the pasta and salt are added to the same pot.
For the exact recipe, and to read more about Julia Della Croce’s discovery, read her story over on Zester Daily.
This tomato and pasta dish is just one “found” recipe. As surprising as it may be, there are other family recipes that haven’t been widely shared. But the best way to discover these dishes, other than cooking with your own Italian grandmother? Take an Italy cooking vacation and ask the chef!
We have a number of chefs who love to explore the history of their regional foods, including Chef Andrea of our Living the Real Tuscan Dream tour, and Chef Stefano, who teaches cooking classes in Rome.
By Liz Hall
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Originally published August 26, 2013.