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Tony Soprano's Own Neapolitan Ragł

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Text-only version printed fromhttp://FXcuisine.com/default.asp?Display=108
How my friend Pasquale came to eat my Maccheroni al ragł 'like in Napoli' and fix my media room so that I could watch the Sopranos.

In my previous article you read how I convinced Pasquale, my Italian-Swiss media-room specialist, to come and fix my DVD player the next day instead of next month with a promise of real ragł napoletano and homemade maccheroni. I took yesterday's ragł out from the fridge to let it simmer it a further 4 hours.

With my beloved Kenwood kitchen machine I made 6 eggs' worth of maccheroni rigati, the ones with the large holes and deep groves designed for the sauce to stick.

Pasquale arrived bang on time and asked to see the simmering ragł. He nodded when seeing the rich, shiny dark color bubbling in the pot. Being a man of honor, Pascuale then moved to the media room where he wrestled the recalcitrant amplifier for a good hour before anything changed. «The Amplifier stopped talking with the DVD player», he explained. After an hour I saw some light on the screen, and then bang, here was Tony Soprano.

«I'm going to boil the pasta», I told him.

My homemade maccheroni are cooked in about 60 seconds and due to the durum wheat semolina, they have a lot of bite or al dente as they say in Italy.

I decided to add a little flavor boost by finishing my sauce like mezzanelli lardiati. I used lardo di Colonatta, a cult bacon prepared near the marble quarries in the North of Italy, by seasoning big slabs of white pig fat with garlic, salt and herbs and then leaving them in white marble boxes for months. It is entirely white and extremely tasty although clearly a non-Italian must wonder how the hell you are supposed to eat it. Here is how.

Finely chop a small onion and the bacon, taking care to remove the skin and any excess salt.

Fry in a saucepan until the onion has lost its water and the bacon rendered its fat.

You will obtain a beige fatty puddle with the most delicate porky smell.

Add your ragł with a ladle. Only use ragł you will eat tonight.

Add some of the pasta cooking water to the ragł to thin it down a bit and mix (photo).

Spoon the ragł lardiato ('baconed meat sauce') over the hot pasta...

... sprinkle with grated Parmesan or Caciocavallo and decorate with a basil leaf.

Pascuale was happy and I managed to have my media room fixed in 2 days instead of 2 weeks, thanks to the timeless ragł napoletano.

The Sopranos is a mafia fiction invented by psycholanalyed screenwriters with jewish mothers to project their fantasies. But they did a fair amount of gastronomic research into the Neapolitan origins of their characters who would very much enjoy this ragł napoletano. But who would have them for dinner?.


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9 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by kel @ Green Olive Tree
Stumbled upon your site. Amazing details you've got here.. How did you get all the inspiration and energy to take all these photographs everytime you make something? I sorta fell out of that at the moment... Love your intro about typical blogs written by women - spot on :)
  • #2
  • Comment by Evan
"The Sopranos is a mafia fiction invented by psycholanalyed screenwriters with jewish mothers to project their fantasies."David Chase, born David DeCesare. DeCesare...funny, he doesn't sound Jewish...Or in the immortal words of Mel Brooks: "Funny, she doesn't LOOK Druish..."
  • #3
  • Answered by fx
Indeed Evan, but if you look at the full list of all screenwriters who worked on the Sopranos, the picture is slightly different: David Chase (86 episodes, 1999-2007)
Terence Winter (25 episodes, 2000-2007)
Mitchell Burgess (22 episodes, 1999-2006)
Robin Green (22 episodes, 1999-2006)
Matthew Weiner (12 episodes, 2004-2007)
Frank Renzulli (9 episodes, 1999-2001)
Michael Imperioli (5 episodes, 2000-2004)
Todd A. Kessler (4 episodes, 2000-2001)
Diane Frolov (4 episodes, 2006-2007)
Andrew Schneider (4 episodes, 2006-2007)
Jason Cahill (3 episodes, 1999-2000)
Lawrence Konner (3 episodes, 2001-2002)You mention one of the screenwriters with an Italian surname as a rebuttal of my remark about "New York screenwriters with Jewish mothers". How about Mr Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York with a Jewish mother himself? I think there might be some truth in my observation after all. I might add that Jewish screenwriters are probably the best in the business and my remark should not be construed as a critic but just a cultural observation! 
  • #4
  • Comment by Evan
Giuliani's mom was Jewish?? Are you sure? As a native New Yorker, I'm a bit skeptical. Wikipedia says her name was Helen C. D'Avanzo, certainly a Catholic name, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief--where did you hear that she was Jewish? 'Cause a Google search didn't find anything. Although it did lead me to an interesting Village Voice profile of his family.
  • #5
  • Answered by fx
My bad - I checked my facts and it was not Giuliani's mom, but Fiorello La Guardia's mom who had an Italian name but was Jewish. Nothing wrong with being Jewish of course, but it sure is compatible with being Italian!
  • #6
  • Comment by James
Absolutely delightful and hilarious!
  • FX's answer→ James glad you liked it!

  • #8
  • Comment by Gary Evancho
Although time consuming allow patience you'll see and taste the difference I enjoyed this culinary process as well as my guests.
  • FX's answer→ Glad it worked for you and thanks for the feedback!




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