Even Popes like the simple Roman cuisine, for example Pope Pius XII, who had a soft spot for pasta alla carbonara. A special variation was invented for him in the 1930s. Today it is known throughout Italy as fettucine alla papalina, ribbon noodles for the Pope.
Tradition times two
Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, loved to eat at La Cisterna, a restaurant not far from the Vatican. In order to vary the Cardinal's favourite dish, the chef "mixed" two traditional recipes: carbonara and fettuccine alfredo.
Durum wheat pasta is replaced with fettuccine with egg, guanciale with raw ham (prosciutto crudo), oil with butter and the pecorino with Parmesan. At the end, the yolks are added as in the preparation of a true carbonara.
Variations for every taste
The original recipe for papal style ribbon noodles has many variations. Often they are prepared with cream or crème fraîche and, depending on the season, they are refined with peas or mushrooms. Some replace the raw ham with prosciutto cotto and even bacon. Some simmer the sauce with the cream, others add the cream to the pan just before the pasta. What should never be missing: lots of Parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
Would you like to prepare the fettuccine at home? Then follow the link to the recipe.
Fettuccine alla papalina, ribbon noodles for the Pope
- 320 g egg pasta, e.g. fettuccine
- 1 onion
- 100 g raw ham, prosciutto crudo
- 150 g parmesan
- 2 egg yolks
- black pepper, freshly ground
- Fry the finely chopped onion in butter until translucent. It should not turn brown. Cut the ham into pieces and gently fry with the onion. Season with pepper and a little salt if desired. In a bowl, mix the yolks with ⅔ of the grated Parmesan.
- In the meantime, cook the fettuccine in plenty of salted water until al dente. When straining, collect some of the pasta water. Add the pasta immediately to the pan with the onions and ham and mix well.
- Remove the pan from the heat and now add the yolk mixture. If the pasta is too dry, you can add 1-2 spoons of pasta water. Season with the remaining Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.