You're Eating It Wrong: Pasta

By Kelly Dobkin  |  January 29, 2014
Credit: Danya Henninger

For some, it's almost second nature when faced with a bowl of long-stranded pasta to break out the knife and fork and start cutting away. Stop right there, says Italian chef/restaurateur Cesare Casella (Salumeria Rosi, NYC). "Never use a knife with long pasta." says Casella. "Long pastas are meant to be kept long."

Why: In Italy, it's considered bad manners to use a knife when eating pasta. In fact, it's said that the character of a man can be determined by how he eats his spaghetti. 

Spoon ok? While knives are a faux pas, are spoons appropriate to use, as in the spoon twirling method? Casella says that in most cases that's just fine: "Yes, you can use a spoon to help twirl longer pasta onto your fork." 

Chill on the condiments: Don't overdo it with toppings says Casella. "When you eat pasta, you don't want to add too many more ingredients on top of the finished pasta. The chef presented it with just the right amount of each ingredient so don't overload on too much extra cheese, sauce, or crushed red pepper. "

Finish your bowl of pasta like a real Italian: If you really want to show off your Italian pasta-eating acumen, "finish the sauce on your plate by doing what Italians call fare la scarpetta, says Casella. (Scarpetta means "little shoe."). "You turn a piece of bread into a little shoe that can help you scoop up the remaining sauce and clean your plate."