Schifoso! Fa Schifo! Che schifo! Mi schifo! All of these expressions come from the Italian verb schifare, (skee-far-ay) which means “to disgust.” It is one of the most important words in the Italian language, as so many things are disgusting to Italians. This is especially true as it relates to food, mainly because the Italian tolerance for bad food is very low. Hence, a bad meal, or a dirty kitchen for that matter, could easily be called schifoso or any variation from the above list.
I bring you this Italian language lesson only to point out how disgusting this week’s Sunday Pasta recipe is. Che schifo! I know that most food writers probably don’t publish recipes that they find repugnant, but I thought better to err on the side of honesty and to admit that not everything that comes out of my kitchen is delicious. Hopefully, you will now trust me even more.
Here’s the back story. You see, I maintain a long standing belief that everything tastes better when combined with pasta. Unfortunately, this fantasy was shattered last week, when I decided to experiment with Campari in the kitchen. I love Campari. I love the color, the smell, the bitter taste. And because I love Campari, and I also love pasta, I thought why not put them together. I had seen Campari used as an ingredient in gelato, and in gelatin, both of which, of course, contain large quantities of sugar. So I thought that maybe, just maybe, the sweetness of the onion, and smoothness of the cream and butter, would blunt the bitterness of the Campari and that I would become famous for creating a new, wildly popular pasta sauce. But no. Although the first taste was in fact delicious, the aftertaste was so vile that everyone at the table reached for their napkin. Well, actually my son ran for the sink to rinse his mouth out. Repulsive!
In sum, if you never want to have a certain guest back to your home for dinner, serve them Penne al Campari. It’s the perfect dish for meddling in-laws, nasty bosses, nosy neighbors, assorted enemies … or anyone on a diet!
Non Buon Appetito!
In a large skillet, saute the onion in the butter until golden. Add the campari and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Then add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat, until thickened.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain it, and add to the skillet with the cream sauce. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.