One more thing: pasta tastes better in Italy than it does here (especially in Rome and Naples), and it has to do with the water. Most Roman water still comes through the aqueducts, and it’s the perfect water for pasta, just as Neapolitan water is perfect for pizza.
Just to be nice, I’ll give you a basic Roman spaghetti (actually freshly made tonnarelli, but that’s hard to find around Washington, anyway) recipe. With what we call “romano” cheese, olive oil from the bottle, and freshly ground black pepper. There’s a little secret, so pay attention.
Cook the pasta and grind the cheese. Put the pasta into serving bowls, you can’t do this by making a big trough of the stuff. Then put a spoonful of the foamy liquid from the pasta pot into each bowl. Then a generous handful of the cheese, followed by a reasonable amount of extravirgin olive oil, and plenty of ground pepper. Mix it, serving by serving.
It’s called “caccio e pepe.” I’m pretty sure it comes from the Roman Ghetto.
Sounds simple, but if you don’t get that foamy pasta water in the bowl, it doesn’t work.
And the best thing is that is has nothing at all to do with politics, correct or otherwise. It’s just great food.