The Mystery of the Original Fettuccine alla Papalina

May 18, 2020 197

BY: Massimo Lanari

Among the food and wine debates regarding traditional Italian cuisine, one certainly involves a gem of Roman cuisine: the famous fettuccine alla papalina. Pecorino romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese? Prosciutto crudo or prosciutto cotto? And what about the cream? To answer these questions, we need to go back to the origins of the recipe. Which are not so far off. The Pope in question is in fact Pius XII, born Eugenio Pacelli.

An aristocratic dish

He became Pope in 1939 and in the '50s, he found himself in front of a Rome where spaghetti alla carbonara was all the rage. So much so that – as we have seen – some say that the famous dish was inspired by the eggs and bacon of American soldiers. The fact is that Pius XII asked the Vatican chef for a more delicate and "aristocratic" version of spaghetti alla carbonara.

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