Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Dinner With Paolo

Dinner at Paolo's house is always a delicious, belt-loosening and often culturally enlightening affair. The food is great and can be enjoyed to the fullest when you've prepared yourself ahead of time by fasting for at least several hours before. Since Italy is so regional when it comes to cuisine, Paolo is almost as much of an immigrant to Milan as I am. Hailing for Naples, he keeps the Neapolitan delis here in Milan in business buying freshly flown-in mozzarella di buffala, wonderful, real "Italian sausage" like the one I know, babas, cassatas, and other assorted "imported" food. Paolo's also not much for light meals. See him at the upper left on his Flickr page. Hell, have a look at the cool black n' whites he's put out too. He shuns salads, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend who loves them and generally enjoys introducing his guests to the wonders of Neapolitan food. This gorgeous fresh mozarella sliced and eaten on its own (all the better to taste the real mozarella di buffala difference) was our antipasto.

This pasta was as delicious as it is enticing to look at. The sauce, rather than being a traditional Neapolitan dish I think was invented by Paolo. To reproduce it, fry some pancetta until crisp, don't toss out any of the rendred fat (it's delicious!), add a couple dollops of ricotta cheese, mix briefly, take off the heat and pour onto pasta al dente. Serve with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan. It's salty, creamy and crunchy all at the same time. Very satisfying. After a hunk of mozzarella and this none-too-light pasta dish I was very satisfied and quite happy there was no secondo (meat dish) between me and the dessert!

We finished off the meal with these Neapolitan "Ministeriale" bon bons from the famous Scaturchio pasticceria. They are dark chocolate with a rum cream on the inside. Really good. They were first made by Francesco Scaturchio as an attempt to seduce a noblewoman. She loved them and so did the rest of Naples. Go here for a short history of the Ministeriale bon bon and a bit of Italian language practice.


Blogger ML said...

Oh lovely! I drooling here. The pasta dish, though simple, looks delicious! Everything looks delicious. The pictures are great too.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

is this the same paolo that is smiling next to the beef? i thought he looked like a napoletano...

and look at that mozzarrella!

6:28 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Oh, Paolo sounds like the ideal dinner guest--what a fabulous pasta!

It's no wonder that Scaturchio used these bon bons as a means of seduction. Who couldn't be seduced by chocolate filled with rum cream?

12:29 AM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

wish i was there... it looks heavenly!

1:55 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh, the envy. At least we're lucky enough to enjoy the meal vicariously through you.

4:02 PM  
Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Thanks to your photos, I am very hungry!

4:07 PM  
Blogger Beenzzz said...

It does look heavenly!

5:07 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi ml, The pas was fabulous! My favorite part of the meal.

Hi Tracie, Yep, he's one and the same. So are you missing fresh buffala mozz. over there in TX or are you too busy with the tacos al pastor and the barbecue?

Hi Susan, Paolo is a great dinner guest but he actually made this meal. I was lucky enough to eat without doing any work.

Hi Melissa, I wish you could have been there too. It would be great to have blog friends over for dinner, dont you think?

Hi Christina, Hey come over any time!

Hiya Ragazza, Well, you know, the pasta dish is easy and quick.

Hi Beenzzz, Thank you very much!

8:21 PM  
Anonymous ann said...

Oh, Paolo does sound like a delightful man! I wonder if he and my boyfriend are related. Their unholy allegiances to mozzarella lead me to believe so ;-)

I love the idea of that pasta. Thanks so much for sharing.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Tracie B. said...

susan, i just had me some bbq today. my parents' church is having a fund raiser so they're a-sellin' good stuff!

smokey, smokey beef and boudain:)

8:43 PM  

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