Yes, that’s how it’s spelt!
With all its ‘qs’ and ‘us’ the word squacquerone looks impossible to pronounce. However, if you are travelling in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna you need to get your act together and learn how. If not, you’ll be missing out on one of the most delicious things the region has to offer.
Rosa di Parma
I’ve been obsessed with a dish known as Rosa di Parma (Parma Rose) ever since I read about it in a Rick Stein column. Knowing I was coming to Parma, where the dish originates, I decided to set about finding a restaurant that served it. A quick search on Tripadvisor brought me to Angiol d’Or, a restaurant right in the heart of Parma that had it on the menu. The name is parmesan dialect for ‘golden angel’ which is reflected in the restaurant logo.
Italian food may be simple, but often it’s not fast: but that’s one of its charms. Good ingredients, cooked well. It’s no surprise therefore that the Slow Food movement started in Italy. Traditionally, a lot of the more time-consuming dishes would have been cooked by housewives while their husbands were out at work, and so often consist of dishes which can cook more or less unattended while you get on with other chores. A good example is the authentic ragù which would be cooked slowly for about three hours. If you’ve ever tasted a three-hour ragù, you’ll appreciate why.
After pizza, spaghetti alla carbonara is probably Italy’s most famous dish, but also its most controversial. Everybody knows that this plate of bacon-and-egg pasta is supposed to have a rich, creamy, sauce, but few know the real secret of how to achieve it. Outside—and even inside—Italy, people often cheat and add a little (or sometimes a lot of) cream to get the right consistency. But to purists (and even not so purists), cream might as well come in bottles with the number 666 printed on the label. They will tell you, with a stronger than religious fervour, that it is not part of the original recipe. Nor, for that matter are peas.
It’s no secret that I love aubergines, or eggplants as some of you call them, or … well for argument’s sake let’s call them melanzane, the Italian word. So, it’s no secret that I love melanzane and would probably eat them every day, if I could. When cooked properly, they have the same mouth-puckering strength as a quality mature cheese. It’s no secret that I love cheese, or fromage, or … well let’s call it formaggio.