Pasta Allegra

One Hundred Mouth-watering Recipes to Enjoy your Favorite Pasta Dish

By Nazimudeen Saleem

You may wonder if one need to know how to cook in order to appreciate good food. That is not true and you don’t have to be a Chef du Cuisine to acquire the taste for good food and to appreciate it. However, it is essential that one knows the food in order to really appreciate and enjoy it. Learning about food requires us to show interests and desires in different cultures as much as in their food. With the Italian Diaspora reaching far corners of the Western world after the Second World War, popular Italian food, especially pasta and pizza became household names.

I have been a food lover from the time I began to live abroad. Of course, living in a different country would force one to try out local native food especially when you cannot find your own food. And, I should say that you must be lucky to live in a country like Italy where food is an essential part of the culture.

Whether pasta and tomato sauce are Italian origin or not, we all know that pasta is an integral part of Italian culture. But, even the Italian wouldn’t know how many varieties of pasta are there available in the market. The most common varieties of pasta such as the spaghetti, lasagne, cannelloni, ravioli, fettuccini and macaroni are however well-known worldwide.

In the American and European markets, we may find number of different varieties of dry pastas such as vermicelli, spaghetti, penne, and other macaroni products. We may also find some of the pastas that are traditionally made fresh such as fettuccine in dry form. In the meantime pastas such as cannelloni, ravioli, tortellini, and even lasagne can be found in fresh forms. Here, I would include even gnocchi (type of dumplings) which is usually made from potatoes or sometimes from semolina.

For Italians, cooking and serving pasta dish is a ritual as much as performing a religious ceremony. How pasta is made, cooked and served are all subject to careful scrutiny no matter how simple an occasion is. In order to enjoy and appreciate a good pasta dish, one may need to know how and what pasta is made of and how it is cooked in addition to the kind of sauce it is served with.

This pasta recipe book with the title Pasta Allegra comes from my own living experience of five years in Italy and my uncompromising love affair with good food. Although learned to cook by myself, I should say that I have had the opportunity to appreciate good food professionally through my work and educational experience in France and the USA. After completing the graduate school while still operating a restaurant in Blacksburg, I was able to find time to revise and compile my pasta recipe collection some twenty years ago. More recipes based on the contemporary food culture were added later. Here, I may have exceeded my limits to include a few non-Italian pasta sauces in the recipes.

The book will consist of One Hundred traditional and innovative pasta recipes. I will also include a handful of primary sauces some of which can be used directly as sauces for some pasta dishes. However, I haven’t considered them as pasta recipes per se here. The recipes in this book are organized according to the type of sauces rather than the type of pastas under several themes.