One question I get from many people is whether Italians eat pasta every day. Of course answering such a question would require an enormous generalization, so I’m going to give you the experience in my house, which consists of a Calabrian and an American with Italian, Lithuanian, and German blood.
Do we eat pasta every day?
Pretty much, yes. Usually either lunch or dinner — but hardly ever both — contains some kind of pasta for us.
I’m sure for some of you the thought of eating pasta every day sounds boring, and you’re positive you’d get sick of it within a week or so. This actually did cross my mind as I considered moving here — would I just get sick of eating pasta? And if so, then what would I do?
Well, seven years in, and I’m still having some pasta on most days. Don’t get me wrong; there are days when I just don’t want pasta. So I don’t eat it, easy peasy.
“Pasta” Does Not Equal Spaghetti and Meatballs
One important thing to remember is that Italians don’t eat pasta with “red sauce” and meatballs every day; in fact, the rumors you’ve heard about Italians not eating “spaghetti and meatballs” are true; if there are meatballs, they are often huge and served after the pasta course, so you’ll have one, *maybe* two at the most.
That “red sauce” is often a ragù, made with meat (often pork and for us, rabbit or chicken); in our house, that’s probably a once every two weeks kind of dish, often on a weekend.
Also? Italians don’t just eat spaghetti. As I’m sure you know, pasta comes in all shapes and sizes, and part of the fun is matching what kind of sauce or accompaniment best suits a certain kind of pasta, so there’s a lot more than spaghetti going on around here.
So what else are we eating with pasta? Well I have a list of recipes to give you some ideas, and you’ll see everything from tuna (with or without tomatoes) to broccoli (no tomatoes) to ricotta fresca to fresh tomatoes and basil to prawns. We eat pasta cold in a salad in the summer and hot in minestrone in the winter — and with legumes like peas, ceci, and lentils year round.
Pasta is very versatile, and as always, I do encourage you to experiment.
But Pasta Makes You Fat!
Another misconception regarding pasta is that some people believe that if they ate pasta every day, they’d be the size of a house. The answer to that is, well, it depends on how much pasta you eat and what you’re eating with it.
Italians seem to know instinctively that 100-200 grams of pasta a day falls well within the recommended daily allowances of carbs. You just have to not load up on carbs the rest of the day in order to keep a good balance.
Other health issues like diabetes may cause concern with carbs, but if you’re an otherwise healthy person, eating a bit of pasta a day is one of the common features of the Mediterranean Diet, which we know can offer great health benefits — but know that is not a “diet” as the word has come to be understood. It is a way of life.
Yeah, I’m Still Not Buying that I Could Eat Pasta Every Day and Not Get Sick of It
If you still can’t imagine eating pasta every day, think of it this way: do you eat bread every day? Many people do, in one form or another. Well you can think of pasta as our bread. It accompanies other ingredients and isn’t really the “point” of the meal — although it’s still an important part to be sure (see the discussion of matching pasta with sauce above).
Note also that Italians will generally *not* eat bread and pasta together, so don’t be surprised if you’re in an Italian restaurant and they swipe any bread off the table just as the pasta is served.
But hey, we’re not all created the same, so it very well may be that you would get bored with an Italian diet and with eating pasta every day. So why not come over here and find out?
How often do you eat pasta?