pasta al pomodoro mon amour

spaghetti al pomodoro

Tracie P often shakes her head at the monotony of my diet: given the opportunity, I could eat pomodoro (our familial designation for pasta al pomodoro) eight days a week.

Savory and sweet, chewy and creamy… when it’s done right, it’s one of gastronomy’s greatest combinations.

Just think of how transcendentally iconic it is! From Gragnano (Campania) to Tokyo, from Rome to Moscow to Berlin to Mumbai… there is no culture or people on earth that has not embraced its virtues!

It combines techniques and foods — fruit and grain — from the new and old worlds, a marriage of intelligence and natural bounty. Can you think of a dish that more greatly represents humanity in one of its finest expressions?

Although they didn’t dress their noodles with tomato sauce, the (historic Italian) Futurists tried to abolish pasta. It made for weak character, they claimed.

That was a time before our understanding of metabolism and its role in good health had evolved fully. There are few wholesome victuals so easy for our bodies (at least mine) to digest. (If you’ve ever attended a Futurist banquet, as I have, you know that your morning after is reminiscent to recovery in the wake of an excuse for a meal at Alinea.)

Our friends at our favorite trattoria, Il Pozzo in Sant’Angelo in Colle, once boasted to me that Angelo Gaja dines there regularly.

What does he eat? I asked.

Pici (humble Tuscan noodles made with just flour and water) al pomodoro.

From the candelabraed tables of kings to the pauper’s cafeteria pew, its democratic nature is absolute.

Pasta al pomodoro, mon amour, I just may have to toss you once again tonight…

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