1. Pasta with sea urchins
‘Hedgehogs of the sea’ as they call them in Italy are more than a nuisance to bathers. As it often goes, the armor protects the delicious inside. The orange eggs are delicious. You need about fifteen urchins for one plate of pasta. A part is fried together with garlic, a part is added raw. What do urchins taste like? Sea in all it’s glory. Whereas adding parsley is pretty common, tomato is rather rare. It is a costly dish, but well worth paying for.
2. Pasta with squid ink
Pasta with squid is often served with a big napkin. Put it on, they are not trying to make a fool out of you. The stains never come off. The ink gives the dish a more pronounced flavor. And the color. Black is an unusual color for food, alright. Get over it and enjoy. There is a similar preparation with rice. You may find black pasta in your deli. Although made with squid ink, it does not have the same taste as the fresh version.
3. Pasta with whitebait
Maybe not as popular as the ‘polpette‘ or balls, this is a great way of preparing whitebait. Apart from the fish it only contains garlic, oil and a sip of white wine. Not all restaurants serve this dish. Mainly because it is hard to find good whitebait. Keep on asking, keep on looking. Try not to be mistaken with a food or health inspector though.
4. Pasta with lemon
How simple can things get? All you need is pasta, a lemon, some garlic and oil. Born out of plain dearth, grown to become a modern classic. The perfect union of few ingredients and skill. Don’t let them serve you this pasta with cream. Creaminess comes through the correct use of the water –starch– the pasta boiled in. A really great dish, high on the list of underrated plates.
5. Pasta with snails
Snail are popular in Sicily, especially the little ones. The Eobania vermiculata aka Helix vermiculata, aka babbaluci. Less popular than their French cousins, taste-wise they are at the same level. Another way of preparing little snails is with garlic and parsley. A classic summer street food snack. To be tried!