Commonly considered typical of Trentino, pasta with apple sauce is quite well known. In the “heard of” sense, since, in practice, it is rarely cooked in the rest of Italy. The reason is that there was a time, a few decades ago, when it was considered a kind of culinary blasphemy. A way of saying that everyone has their own tastes and there are also those who have really strange ones. So much so that, even without going to the excess of eating pasta with ketchup or jam, even in Italy there are those who even season their pasta with apples!
Instead, surprise, Pasta with apple sauce has nothing strange in Italian tradition.. Starting with the flavor, which is totally within the range of what we are used to. When faced with a dish like the one in the photo, you should not imagine a sweet and sour sauce or in any case “anomalous”. The apple aromas mix perfectly. with the others, so the result is not very different from the tomato pasta we are used to. Original yes, more delicate, more aromatic than fresh and fruity, but nothing strange at all.
Besides There were once many pasta dishes topped with apple sauce. not only in the Alps, with recipes even more traditional than the one we propose, as can be seen from the fact that they were simple recipes rich in fats. In fact, the presence of tomato denotes the youth of this South Tyrolean apple condiment. Which almost certainly dates back to the 1960s, since before the last war the seasoning would almost certainly have been white. For example, based on onions fried in animal fat (lard, speck or butter), then sautéed with apple pulp and finally enriched with lots of pepper and cheese.
This last way of cooking pasta with apple sauce is also the one that It was used in central Italy., from Marche to Molise. Where the recipe based on the apples used was also considered traditional. For example, the pink Sibillini apple in Marche and limoncelle apples in Abruzzo, Molise and Campania. All apples that today are very difficult to find for those who do not live near one of the few trees that still produce them.
In our case, speaking of apples, Recipe books from South Tyrol always refer generically to “Trentino apples”. An expression that doesn’t mean much anymore, but even in the past it was more or less equivalent to saying “use the apples you have available.” We recommend Renetta, Granny Smith (they are the ones in the photo), Golden Delicious and Gala. All varieties that can rightly be defined as “Trentino”. But, as we have already said, more or less everyone is fine.
One last pasta tips. Traditionally, durum wheat is used (it is better to avoid egg pasta), long and full-bodied. In recipe books, this apple sauce is often combined with bucatini. That is why it is preferable to avoid spaghetti as well. It’s best to choose heartier pastas, such as noodles, linguine, fettuccelle, bucatini, and the like.
- 360 g spaghetti (or other similar durum wheat pasta)
- 3 large Trentino apples
- 1 stick of celery (about 100-120 g)
- 400 g peeled tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the celery, clean it and chop it coarsely, then let it dry gently for 5-6 minutes in a small frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil.
- Peel the apples, cut them in half to remove the core and then grate all the pulp to make a kind of puree.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan, add the tomato and let it flavor and dry for 10 minutes over low heat without the lid.
- Add the sautéed celery, apple pulp and a pinch of salt to the tomato and cook for another 10-12 minutes. At the end, season with a generous pinch of pepper.
- Drain the spaghetti al dente and season it with the apple sauce, serve immediately, very hot, without adding cheese.