Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Abused Italian/1 - Food section

A collection of common mistakes and misconceptions

Panini: the plural form of panino. Unlike ciabatta and focaccia this is not a type of bread, it simply means "sandwiches". If you really feel the urge to specify that your sandwich should be made with genuine sandwich bread - not with God only knows what other damned surrogate! - go ahead and ask for the panini-type of roll. The waiter will probably think that you are taking him for an idiot though. 

Linguini: wrong spelling. This sounds like your food is making cute faces at you. It's linguine, and it's pronounced with a "-eh" final sound. 

Fettuccini: this is linguini's partner in language's fettuccine, also pronounced with a "-eh" final sound. 

Lasagna: the correct name is lasagne. Lasagna is singular and if you order that you might get a single miserable thin square of pasta on your plate. 

Spaghettis: the lasagne mistake in reverse. There's no final "s". Spaghetti is the plural form of spaghetto. Don't worry, they are not gonna serve you a single noodle in case you order spaghetti without the unnecessary "-s". 

Bruschetta: it's pronounced brusketta, not brushetta. If you order the latter they might show you pictures of a (in)famous mafia boss.

Garlic bread: we have garlic. We do have bread as well...and when we put them together we call it bruschetta. We already talked about that, remember? (You can find a post on garlic bread here.)

Grinding pepper on pasta: pepper...pepper? Did you really say pepper? It's cheese, cheeeese! Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano or pecorino are all OK - not pepper! (On the subject of pepper on pasta you can read this.)

Pasta Alfredo: Pasta...what? Ohhh, I got it: you mean Alfredo Pasta...nothing to do with food, just the name of some guy!

Meatball pasta: you might as well put a slice of pineapple in your hamburger then.

Chicken pasta: pasta with...chicken? And how about a gourmet fish-head ice-cream as a dessert? 

Spaghetti Bolognese: even though this recipe comes from the city of Bologna, and it's called bolognese all over the world, the stubborn Italians insist on calling it ragù (alla bolognese). It's often served with egg-fettuccine or tagliatelle (remember that they end with "e", not "i"), rather than spaghetti (no final "s", thanks).

Read "Abused Italian/2" here and "Abused Italian/3" here

Photo of an Italian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. By Fabio

No comments: