Anti-Clerical Pasta

January 28th, 2011 § 1 comment

HG loves pasta. HG loves the imaginative names Italians have given the various pasta shapes–“little ears”, “butterflies”, “corkscrews,” “wagon wheels,” “snails,” etc. Recently, HG encountered a puzzler–“strozzapreti.” The literal translation: Priest Strangler. The shape is reasonably short and slightly twisted. Looks like a rolled up towel. Nothing ominous or life threatening about it. HG enjoyed a substantial amount of strozzapreti in a lush sauce of long simmered beef cheeks at a wonderful Italian restaurant–“O” The Eating House–in an unlikely location, the Poajque Valley near Santa Fe, N.M. HG asked the chef, Steven Lemon, if he knew how the shape got its anti-clerical name. No clue. HG research indicates strozzapreti is a popular shape in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, traditionally anti-clerical regions of Italy. HG believes the name is related to acrimonious landlord-tenant relationships.   In the past, the Church was a major Italian landowner and rents were grudgingly paid.  It all echoes the sentiment of HG’s mother as she counted the money to be paid to the landlord for the monthly rent of our South Bronx apartment: “He should only choke on it!!”

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