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Thread: The "real" spaghetti and meat balls

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    The "real" spaghetti and meat balls



    The only place in Italy which serves "meatballs", or polpettine with pasta is The Abruzzi, and the dish bears virtually no resemblance to the Italian American version, which, to be honest, I don't much like. In the rest of Italy polpettine are a separate dish.

    Here is how to make the "Italian" version. It's all subtitled in English and the lady is very sweet.

    Last edited by Angela; 18-07-20 at 15:57.


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    Are you at least a fan of Sunday gravy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ratchet_fan View Post
    Are you at least a fan of Sunday gravy?
    It's different,

    When we make the red sauce with macaroni (usually Rigatoni) for Sunday, we use meatballs, but never with spaghetti. But we also use other meats, like veal, lamb, and braciola in cooking the sauce. We always have the macaroni first, and the meat separately after as a second dish. Followed by a salad, and then coffee. My mother and father's town's have different methods though. My dad's town fries the meat separately, before putting it into the sauce, which I prefer. My mother's town cooks it with the sauces itself, its still really good though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post


    It's different,

    When we make the red sauce with macaroni for Sunday, we use meatballs, but never with spaghetti. But we also use other meats, like veal, lamb, and braciola in cooking the sauce. We always have the macaroni first, and the meat separately after as a second dish. Followed by a salad, and then coffee. My mother and father's town's have different methods though. My dad's town fries the meat separately, before putting it into the sauce, which I prefer. My mother's town cooks it with the sauces itself, its still really good though.
    My best friend growing up was Italian so I always had Sunday gravy at his house. That sounds similar to how they made it. I think it had short ribs too sometimes in addition to sausage, braciola and meatballs.

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    ^^indeed, we put that in as well sometimes.

    My favorite type braciola used with the sauce is the pork skin version.



    Though I haven't had it since my grandmother passed away, she used to make them.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by ratchet_fan View Post
    Are you at least a fan of Sunday gravy?
    If you watch the video you'll see that the sauce in which the Abruzzese lady finishes cooking the "polpettine" (after frying them) is a version of the Italian American "gravy", started, however, with the holy trinity of more northern cooking: carrot, celery and onion, and using different meats, as do Jovailis' parents, who are Italians from Italy, not really Italian Americans.

    As for what usually passes for Italian American "gravy", it can sometimes be good, depending on the cook. My Neapolitan grandmother in law was an excellent cook, and hers was good.

    In general, Italian American cooking, imo, is often "too much" of everything, especially too much onion, and WAY too much garlic in a lot of cases. Marinara sauce in so called "Italian" restaurants is usually stewed tomatoes with tons of garlic, and way too acidic.

    It should say something that I absolutely NEVER order a pasta dish with a tomato sauce unless I've tasted someone else's dish of it because I usually absolutely LOATHE it.

    Lydia Bastianich, an immigrant from Istria, has created an empire out of Italian food. Her original restaurant, Felidia, was, and still is, an excellent one. Like all such really good, authentic Italian restaurants, however, it costs an arm and a leg to eat there.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/d...ws/30rest.html

    Here's her menu and some pictures of the food.
    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaura..._New_York.html

    Her son Joe, who should know better, has massively expanded her "empire". His central Manhattan Restaurant, Becco, should have a huge black X painted on it to warn people away. It's a tourist trap which serves atrocious food.

    I broke my own rule there and ordered a simple pasta with tomato sauce, knowing Lydia was his mother. I sent it back, which I never do. It was garlic laden enough to scare off vampires, acidic enough that it was clear they used cheap domestic tomato passata, with the obvious addition of sugar to try to get rid of it, and the pasta itself was an overcooked, gluey, sodden mess. I've rarely been so angry about a dish I've ordered in a restaurant, because, as I said, he knows better.

    I refused a substitution, and made my husband refuse to pay and leave. He was furious, but I uncharacteristically won that argument because I was even more furious. I would have given a lot for him to have been there so I could personally give him a good dressing down.

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    What maccheroni alla chitarra, which is what the Abruzzese dish is called, looks like this:



    A friend of mine's mother was from the Abruzzi and I've eaten it many a time. Delicious.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    I prefer them without tomatoe sauce,

    but lot of parsley, or cumin sauce, and never cinnamon on meat.





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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    If you watch the video you'll see that the sauce in which the Abruzzese lady finishes cooking the "polpettine" (after frying them) is a version of the Italian American "gravy", started, however, with the holy trinity of more northern cooking: carrot, celery and onion, and using different meats, as do Jovailis' parents, who are Italians from Italy, not really Italian Americans.

    As for what usually passes for Italian American "gravy", it can sometimes be good, depending on the cook. My Neapolitan grandmother in law was an excellent cook, and hers was good.

    In general, Italian American cooking, imo, is often "too much" of everything, especially too much onion, and WAY too much garlic in a lot of cases. Marinara sauce in so called "Italian" restaurants is usually stewed tomatoes with tons of garlic, and way too acidic.

    It should say something that I absolutely NEVER order a pasta dish with a tomato sauce unless I've tasted someone else's dish of it because I usually absolutely LOATHE it.

    Lydia Bastianich, an immigrant from Istria, has created an empire out of Italian food. Her original restaurant, Felidia, was, and still is, an excellent one. Like all such really good, authentic Italian restaurants, however, it costs an arm and a leg to eat there.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/30/d...ws/30rest.html

    Here's her menu and some pictures of the food.
    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaura..._New_York.html

    Her son Joe, who should know better, has massively expanded her "empire". His central Manhattan Restaurant, Becco, should have a huge black X painted on it to warn people away. It's a tourist trap which serves atrocious food.

    I broke my own rule there and ordered a simple pasta with tomato sauce, knowing Lydia was his mother. I sent it back, which I never do. It was garlic laden enough to scare off vampires, acidic enough that it was clear they used cheap domestic tomato passata, with the obvious addition of sugar to try to get rid of it, and the pasta itself was an overcooked, gluey, sodden mess. I've rarely been so angry about a dish I've ordered in a restaurant, because, as I said, he knows better.

    I refused a substitution, and made my husband refuse to pay and leave. He was furious, but I uncharacteristically won that argument because I was even more furious. I would have given a lot for him to have been there so I could personally give him a good dressing down.
    I've never been to Becco but I liked the food at Babbo. It wasn't as life changing as people have claimed though. Also I was there on a company meal so not sure how I would feel if I had to pay those prices.

    Either way thanks for the memories. I loved Sunday gravy at my friends house. I think they did it right. Now I'm dreaming of it. Plus the pignolis and rainbow cookies that were always present after.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    This is the authentic Southern Italian ragu or tomato/meat sauce. It's all subtitled in English. It's the Neapolitan version, but I think most real Southern Italian versions are pretty close. My Neapolitan born and raised grandmother in law made it like this.



    It's very time consuming because it uses mostly very cheap cuts of meat (except for the pork ribs and sausages) and they have to cook for hours to extract and concentrate the flavor, but it's very simple to make. Anyone could do it.

    Anyone who has looked at Italian American recipes will immediately see that in the Italian version he uses 1 clove of garlic (and almost sounds like he's trying to justify it by saying he likes the taste) and a minimum amount of onion.

    He does a lovely job on the beef braciole. They could be made separately.

    Jovialis, if you read this, he does the pork rind braciole you mentioned.

    I would make it gladly for my husband even though it's so fatty, but he, for whatever reason, and despite his heritage, doesn't like it; maybe he ate too much of it growing up. His favorite primos are risotto of any type, or gnocchi with pesto, and his favorite secondos are either chicken or pork or lamb roasted together with potatoes, olive oil, rosemary and yes, some garlic :), or osso bucco (braised veal shank), served with either puree of potato or very soft, buttery, polenta.



    [IMG][/IMG]

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    So happy I'm not on a diet.

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    about Post # 1

    cooking the meatballs straight in the sauce (or stock / brodo) some say is Hospital food :) (not fried and slimy texture)

    ... the ‘Chef’ said that he baked the tomatoes to reduced the water in it, and then later he adds a lot of water in it (makes no sense),
    and it’s important to add the salt in the water before the pasta (it boils faster, pasta stick less, and the salt water get absorbed uniformly (obviously he forgot to add the salt earlier) lol

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    imho Spaghetti and Meatballs should never touch each other :)

    mangia ... first the Spaghetti, and then the Meatballs.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    imho Spaghetti and Meatballs should never touch each other :)

    mangia ... first the Spaghetti, and then the Meatballs.
    We've now heard from a true Italian.:)

    The Abruzzesi are the only ones who do this, and as you can see from the picture it's completely different from the American version.

    Ask a room full of Italians if meatballs are ever served "with" the pasta, and they'll tell you no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    We've now heard from a true Italian.:)

    The Abruzzesi are the only ones who do this, and as you can see from the picture it's completely different from the American version.

    Ask a room full of Italians if meatballs are ever served "with" the pasta, and they'll tell you no.
    For us it's a foreign odd practice to put meatballs and pasta together, as we usually split up the meat and the pasta, as in primo piatto and secondo piatto, though some ragù dishes (eg alla bolognese o alla napoletana, even though the former is not a Southern dish) do have meat in it but even then we split the bulk of the meat to eat separately in case of the Neapolitan style ragù. But then again, Neapolitans eat way more fish than meat and it's usually a Sunday family dish. To be honest, to us it's something Germans or English would do, as they're famous for ruining pasta dishes, throwing too much vegetables in it, don't blend and overcook the pasta .

    I must add, that there's a wide variety of styles in Italy, as our country is fairly young as a unified country and the northern regions don't share the same history as we do in regard to cuisine. Also our climate is different and we use different ingredients. Northerners are polenta eaters (mangia polenta) and historically used butter instead of olive oil (they're not Mediterranean), mostly and white creamy sauces. I actually love risotto though and this is also from the North.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    imho Spaghetti and Meatballs should never touch each other :)

    mangia ... first the Spaghetti, and then the Meatballs.
    Infatti, gli americani sono come i tedeschi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    about Post # 1

    cooking the meatballs straight in the sauce (or stock / brodo) some say is Hospital food :) (not fried and slimy texture)

    ... the ‘Chef’ said that he baked the tomatoes to reduced the water in it, and then later he adds a lot of water in it (makes no sense),
    and it’s important to add the salt in the water before the pasta (it boils faster, pasta stick less, and the salt water get absorbed uniformly (obviously he forgot to add the salt earlier) lol
    Exactly and if you add water, ONLY use the salted pasta water.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimanto Ruben View Post
    For us it's a foreign odd practice to put meatballs and pasta together, as we usually split up the meat and the pasta, as in primo piatto and secondo piatto, though some ragù dishes (eg alla bolognese o alla napoletana, even though the former is not a Southern dish) do have meat in it but even then we split the bulk of the meat to eat separately in case of the Neapolitan style ragù. But then again, Neapolitans eat way more fish than meat and it's usually a Sunday family dish. To be honest, to us it's something Germans or English would do, as they're famous for ruining pasta dishes, throwing too much vegetables in it, don't blend and overcook the pasta .

    I must add, that there's a wide variety of styles in Italy, as our country is fairly young as a unified country and the northern regions don't share the same history as we do in regard to cuisine. Also our climate is different and we use different ingredients. Northerners are polenta eaters (mangia polenta) and historically used butter instead of olive oil (they're not Mediterranean), mostly and white creamy sauces. I actually love risotto though and this is also from the North.
    Each region in the north and north central parts of Italy has a slightly different cuisine, but even in the most northern regions they don't only eat polenta. The polenta can be an appetizer, or as a base for meat dishes, the way you would use puree of potato, or indeed a primo. However, almost everywhere in the north they also eat a lot of risotto, as you mentioned, and gnocchi, and indeed pasta, usually, but not always adding eggs to the flour.

    The difference, imo, is that most of the Southern Italians I've known eat pasta virtually every day, and we, at least (Emilia, Liguria, Northwest Toscana) I can definitely say do not. The primo alternated: lots of soups, gnocchi, polenta, risotto, as well as pasta. We might eat it three times a week at most.

    As for butter, the method in those three areas, again in my experience, is to mix olive oil and butter for the soffritto or even for sauteing certain meats. Whether that was because they just liked the taste better (as I do) or because in the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano olive oil had to be imported, or because butter alone burns too quickly I don't know; maybe all three.

    It's true that in those mountains they don't make any dishes with actual "tomato sauce". They don't have the climate for it; a little bit of imported (for them) tomato paste to concentrate taste and give color is about it.

    This is my thread on the food of this latter area.
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...hlight=cuisine


    Liguria, also Northern Italy last time I checked, uses a lot of olive oil, and lots of tomatoes too. It's cuisine is VERY different from that of Emilia, especially the mountains of Emilia; Italians eat "local".

    The food of my area of Liguria:
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...d+Cinque+Terre

    A wedding feast in the Lunigiana-Northwest Toscana. It's sort of a mix, but probably leaning more toward the cuisine of Liguria and Emilia.
    https://www.eupedia.com/forum/thread...sine+Lunigiana


    Toscana is "central" so a mix, perhaps.

    So, it's best not to generalize about the cuisine of "Northern Italy". Perhaps because the south was ruled as an entity for so many hundreds of years, the food varies less; that's just a subjective impression, however.


    As for rigidity and rule following among Italians, what Italians understand but foreigners don't is that we've very much rule followers and rigid about certain things; it's just not necessarily the same things other groups are rigid about...

    Standing in a straight line for most of us: Meh. Breaking food rules: Watch out.

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    To be fair:

    I made some errors too :)

    it took me a while to figure out that Chinese dumplings go with the Soy sauce and not with the Orange sauce. In Switzerland I didn’t know what to do when presented with a machine packed with a selection of melted cheeses, in Spain I ordered a Potato frittata (Spanish Tortilla) and then a local told me that is the food of the ‘Cornuti’ (LoL), and I can go on and on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    To be fair:

    I made some errors too :)

    it took me a while to figure out that Chinese dumplings go with the Soy sauce and not with the Orange sauce. In Switzerland I didn’t know what to do when presented with a machine packed with a selection of melted cheeses, in Spain I ordered a Potato frittata (Spanish Tortilla) and then a local told me that is the food of the ‘Cornuti’ (LoL), and I can go on and on.
    Salento: "Cornuti", LOL. I think the way my Sicilian grandmothers (Well daughters of Sicilian immigrants) it sounded more like "Cornuto", which may be regional dialect and accent differences. As a kid, maybe by about 8 to 10, I quickly figured out the word had dual meaning. Sometimes when us grandkids were acting bad or spoiled (not ME, NOOOO), that word would be directed at them/us. Of course the other connotation was referring to a Man who lets say if I can put it diplomatically as possible, he had some issues in his household that were married related and it was not a happy one.

    Was Cornuti/Cornuti used this way by your grandparents?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palermo Trapani View Post
    Salento: "Cornuti", LOL. I think the way my Sicilian grandmothers (Well daughters of Sicilian immigrants) it sounded more like "Cornuto", which may be regional dialect and accent differences. As a kid, maybe by about 8 to 10, I quickly figured out the word had dual meaning. Sometimes when us grandkids were acting bad or spoiled (not ME, NOOOO), that word would be directed at them/us. Of course the other connotation was referring to a Man who lets say if I can put it diplomatically as possible, he had some issues in his household that were married related and it was not a happy one.

    Was Cornuti/Cornuti used this way by your grandparents?
    yes, It's a common word that everyone uses (same double meaning)

    ... I guess that the Spanish Frittata is an easy and quick meal to make for the ‘Unaware Spaniards’

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    yes, It's a common word that everyone uses (same double meaning)

    ... I guess that the Spanish Frittata is an easy and quick meal to make for the ‘Unaware Spaniards’
    Ok, thanks, that is how I remembered it, my last grandparent died 6-7 years ago in her mid 90's so those memories of my childhood are starting to get a bit dated.

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    A bit off topic but one Italian told me that putting ketchup in a Pizza is a "scandal" in Italy. I don't know how true is that but I agree.

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    Blasphemy!

    You can see the reaction here at 3:40.




    As I said elsewhere, people think Italians don't follow rules. It's not true. They're maniacal about certain rules.

    Here are 20 of them. At around four minutes he starts in on food.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6G_clfRX5U

    A bit exaggerated and perhaps a bit more "southern" than "northern", but funny.

  25. #25
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    lol

    I hope sauce, meatballs, and spaggeti are not a reason for a 'divorcio al italiana'


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