Rachel's Table

Cherry Tomato Bruschetta Pasta (Without an Italian Accent)

I have a pet peeve.

I get peeved when people, regular American people, speaking English, say Italian food words with an Italian accent. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever seen Food Network star Giada de Laurentiis in action on her show. Now I understand that Giada is very Italian. I’m sure she even speaks the language fluently (she was born in Rome after all). But let’s be real here, Giada is basically a California girl; she speaks English with an AMERICAN accent. So why must she say spaghetti like she’s in the Old Country?

You can imagine my utter delight when I found this clip on You Tube. Here Giada talks about HER pronunciation pet peeves. Jackpot!

So apparently we should ALL be saying spaghetti and prosciutto just like Giada. I’m part Polish for goodness’ sake! You don’t see me walking around expecting everyone to say pierogi and kielbasa with a Polish accent. Daj spokój! 

In honor of saying Italian food words WITHOUT an accent, I made this dish with those amazing cherry tomatoes John gave me.

Such beauties!

I call it Cherry Tomato Bruschetta Pasta. Say bruschetta however you want, but please don’t use an Italian accent.

Cherry Tomato Bruschetta Pasta

For the pasta:

1 pound thin spaghetti

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small white or red onion, chopped (I used two tiny white ones from my farm share)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 generous handfuls fresh basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano (or really good Parmesan Reggiano)

Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

For the breadcrumbs:

2 slices old-ish wheat bread (I used Amish-made honey wheat)

1/2 teaspoon dry oregano

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put a pot of water on to boil for the spaghetti (now I can’t stop saying it with an accent in my head. Curses!). Don’t forget to salt the water. The sauce cooks quickly, so while the water is boiling, get everything ready to go in the pan. Chiffonade the basil into pretty ribbons, halve the tomatoes, chop the onion and mince the garlic.

Ribbons of basil

Yellow and red tomatoes, sweet and delicious

Perfect little onions from Bayberry Farm

Get the breadcrumbs in the oven, too. (This was my first attempt at breadcrumbs. I realize now I could have toasted the bread in the oven to dry out BEFORE putting it in the food processor with the other ingredients. But this is the way I did it and it turned out great. I just had to keep a careful eye on it.)  Turn the oven to broil. Cube the bread and pulse it in a food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs on the coarser side. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Mix together. Place the crumbs on a sheet pan in an even layer. Making sure to stir a couple of times, broil until browned and crunchy. Set aside.

My mini-food processor comes in handy for small jobs, and it’s yellow!

Ready for the oven

When the pasta is almost ready to come out of the water (al dente), drizzle the olive oil into a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes plus a little salt and pepper. No need to cook for long, maybe 2 minutes or so.

Nothing like tomatoes in the summer

Drain the pasta, reserving about half a cup of the cooking liquid. Place the spaghetti in the pan with the tomato mixture and fold everything together. Add a bit of the pasta water to make it a more “saucy” (this pasta does not have a traditional sauce. It’s really all about the fresh texture and flavor of the tomatoes). Remove from heat. Add the cheese  and basil. Give it a stir.

I drizzled a bit more olive oil on mine. As an afterthought I added balsamic vinegar once plated. My favorite local Italian place drizzles thick, rich balsamic over their bruschetta and it’s fabulous.

Top with a couple tablespoons of your freshly made and crispy breadcrumbs and enjoy! Mangia! (Fine. Go ahead. You can say that one word with an Italian accent.)

This pasta’s so good it’ll make you want to slap your Mamma Mia

 

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21 comments

  1. Nicole

    So many parts of this cracked me up. I feel the SAME way about people with food word accents. It’s one of the two issues I have with Giada (we can talk about the other one later). This looks so good I already want to slap my mama mia.

  2. Pronounced “broo-skay-tuh”!!! ;)

    We have an NPR reporter here in L.A. whose name is Mandalit del Barco — clearly a Hispanic name. But like Giada, she’s a Cali girl, she speaks perfect English — clearly a native-born speaker. But when it comes time to say her name, she puts on such a Mexican accent. It drives me nuts.

  3. Grazi! I am SO with you on this. Even Giada knows it’s snobby. She admitted it. And yet she still does it. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    I need to think this over. Over pasta.

  4. This is a worthy recipe, thanks for posting.

    Footnote:

    I completely butchered my attempt to casually toss out the Italian pronunciation of “ciabatta” recently.

    After being appropriately ridiculed by my lovely spouse I was quickly forgiven when the bread proved to be better than my redneck faux Italian.

  5. Linda

    Have you heard this woman have a real conversation in italian? She is not fluent and like many cooking tour operators or presenters on TV she is so fake. I live in Italy, speak italian and NO ONE speaks like this unless they are speaking to a small child or someone they consider slow -witted.

    • Hi Linda! I’ve never had the pleasure of listening to Giada speak Italian in an actual conversation. But thank you for supporting my pet peeve! The fact that you reside in Italy only makes my case stronger. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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