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Friday, February 3, 2012

Spaghettata di Mezzanotte (aglio olio e peperoncino)! Midnight Spaghetti Party!

I grew up at the Jersey Shore. Like most young people from that part of NJ my friends and I would end up at the Ink Well in West End for coffee and eggs after a night of doing whatever it was we did. It was the very cool place to be, dark, smoky and filled to the brim with the late nighters.

There really are very different
qualities when it comes to pasta
 In Italy it’s not eggs and coffee, it’s spaghetti with garlic and oil and crushed hot pepper - aglio olio e peperoncino.   I learned about this when Marcella Del Signore, la mia amica, a tiny whirling dervish from Umbria (Lugnano in Teverina), her boyfriend Emanuele Cimica, his cousin Velasco Cimica and the lovely Gabriella De Angelis and I spent a weekend at my sister's mountain house in the Poconos.
We spent a good part of the evening sitting around a computer downloading Beatles songs and singing to help Gabriella learn English (singing is a great way to learn a language).  In the wee hours of the night, Marcella yelled out 'Spaghettata di Mezzanotte!' and everyone (except me) started moving.  What was going on?

Marcella started chopping garlic, Emanuele sliced bread, Velasco found a chestnut roaster by the fireplace and put the bread into it to make bruschetta in the fire place and Gabriella took the hunk of Parmigianino Reggiano from the refrigerator and put it on the table with some plates and forks and napkins.

I kept asking what they were doing and they kept answering 'Is a spaghettata!' OK. Is a spaghettata

 It was a midnight spaghetti dinner, spaghetti with garlic, oil and crushed hot pepper.  Delicious.  And with olive oil from the olives grown at Marcella's family home in Lugnano, it is the very best.  

View from Casa Del Signore
Lugnano in Teverina, Italy
My apartment became the place for my friends, gli Italiani, to gather for meals, incluing midnight spaghetti dinners.  Evenings filled with laughter, music, arms flying, wine and always ending in caffe and Limoncello.  It spread from a favorite of gli Italiani to becoming a favorite of our whole group of friends, the latest being my nephew Ryan and his friend Jeff.

Try it.  Instead of heading to the Blue Swan Dinner, or the Viand Coffee shop late at night, or even instead of Fiorello’s, have everyone to your house and have a Spaghettata di Mezzanotte! It's fast, it's cheap, it's super easy, and DELICIOUS!

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