Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pasta at Midnight: The Italian way


Mamma Anna at the midnight pasta fest

        Our friend and best guest poster, Yle from Puglia was able to send this great story before she launches her next week long event in Lecce:    a culinary tour with chef Kathy Ayer and another amazing tour for 12 lucky participants http://foodloversodyssey.typepad.com/my_weblog/food-wine-lovers-culinary-tour-puglia.html

Yltour hosted another amazing event with Melissa Maldoon learning Italian, visiting towns and villages through Puglia and enjoying many activities at this elegant country location.   Yle tells us about an impromptu event late one night....

- spaghetti, spah-geh-tee – fare una spaghettata - to eat spaghetti with friends

   .Our Italian/US group (Italian language Immersion: Diario di una Studentessa Mattahttp://www.studentessamatta.com/tour-puglia-with-melissa-yltour/) was gathering around a table after the presentation of a book under an inspiring summer starred sky, sipping some negroamaro wine when suddenly my friend Sarah (a highly talented opera singer) declared: spaghetti?

In less than 1 minute we (a group of ten) all agreed on abandoning the beautiful buffet we were attending and went into the most inspiring Salento rustic kitchen to prepare our midnight snack.
In a few seconds the kitchen set was ready and Mamma Anna, assisted by our charming Italian man Michele, were ready to cook.

So lucky to have sweet Mamma Anna at the table with us! As soon as we pronounced the magic word “spaghetti” she immediately continued by saying “Aglio, Olio and Peperoncino”. The perfect Italian Mum.

After 10 minutes from the declaration spaghetti, we were in the kitchen preparing the ingredients and boiling some salted water.      In the meantime some local friends joined us in the kitchen attracted by what an authentic Italian can never resist.

Our group of US friends were simply happy at inventing this gorgeous dish with Mamma Anna: although it was late – and she usually sleeps at that time – she was energetic, ironic and had hugs and kisses for everybody.

In Italian we say “detto fatto”..which means said done!|

While Mamma Anna was showing our friends how to make the most popular Italian midnight snack, somebody else brought some good local wine to pair with.

For those who do not know this simple yet spectacular recipe known as “aglio olio e peperoncino"  here’s how to make it :               it is basically pasta with garlic oil and red chili pepper, very easy to prepare.    Italians usually make it at midnight or  after a late night back from an evening out with friends.

Please remember to cook it well “al dente”.

With a few basic ingredients, a true feast for the palate can become true in a few minutes.       All you need is just spaghetti, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and a little spicy red pepper.

But for me, midnight pasta is all about simplicity, friends, late night talks, a good glass of wine and limoncello to end.

Yes limoncello…because after this spectacular “aglio, olio e peperoncino” we were ready to end our evening with some limoncello and Italian cookies.

Time for some late night talks, hugs and we were ready for a sleepy night. How amazing this evening has been.

Welcome to Italy, the nest of Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino.

Here’s Mamma Anna recipe:

Ingredients: half a kilo of spaghetti (preferably Italian) 1-2 garlic; chilly pepper, extra virgin olive oil and MOST OF ALL good friends, red wine (negromaro or primitivo), joy and a pinch of madness (un pizzico di follia).

When you visit Puglia and join our fun cooking class, ask mamma Anna to teach you how to make the best Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino ever!

Baci and hugs to my special FRIENDS who were there that evening experiencing such a simple joy.

Who wants to come next time?


  1. Mamma Anna, Ylenia and Michele are ingredients of a great experience in Puglia.... great Yle...

    1. so True, and i have fallen in love with Mamma Anna!
      this week Yle is doing an amazing cook with a chef event that should give us a grat story next month.

  2. A highlight of our stay at the Masseria was cooking at midnight with Mamma Anna! We had a blast! Non vedo l'ora di tornare! Ci vediamo l'anno prossimo, Lee?

    1. I told Yle I could not look at the photos because it made me too sad, not to be there! Next year how about a month in Italia: a different event each week?

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