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Pasta alla Zozzona


They don’t just eat pasta alla carbonara or gricia in Rome. Less famous than its “sisters,” but equally full of flavor and Roman tradition, pasta alla zozzona is one of the great classics of Roman cuisine. Actually it has nothing to do with “zozzo,” which means filthy in Italian. It got that name because in Roman dialect the word also means something that’s full of everything and hard to describe.

That’s also why the motto for pasta alla zozzona is “the more you have, the more you put in.” The result is invariable a very rich and seasoned recipe, ideal for a lunch with guests who couldn’t care less about their waistline or diet. After all, as they used to say in ancient Rome “semel in anno licet insanire” (Latin for “It’s okay to go crazy once a year”). So give it a try: something truly irresistible that will leave a great memory for a long time!

Pasta alla zozzona ingredients & method

4 servings: 14 oz rigatoni or penne rigate, tomato purée, 3 fresh pork sausages, highly seasoned, to crumble, 1 1/3 cups parmesan cheese, 1 1/3 cups aged pecorino cheese, 1 glass red wine, salt, pepper and extra-virgin olive oil

How to cook it

Wash the sausages and remove them from their casings, then break them up into pieces. Heat some extra-virgin olive oil in a pan. When the oil begins to sizzle, add the crumbled sausage. In the meantime, cook the rigatoni pasta in plenty of salted water. While the sausage is cooking, repeatedly pour healthy dashes of red wine over high heat, letting the wine cook off. Drain the pasta when cooked al dente and add it to the pan with the sausage. Stir well and remove from the heat, then stir in the parmesan and pecorino (better one at a time) and continue to stir the pasta. Add two tablespoons of tomato purée only at the end and season with salt and pepper as you continue to stir. Plate the pasta, add a little cheese, a drizzle of oil, and serve your mouthwateringly rich pasta alla zozzona.