There are few certainties about spaghetti alla fag. It is not known why they are called that, nor what is the original recipe among the many available. It is also not known precisely where and when they were born.
So, without being able to give improbable news, I tell you Some things I know for sure. Starting with the fact that the spaghetti alla fag recipe is definitely born in Lazio, most likely in Rome. And also from a consolidated tradition, although not ancient, so much so that the different versions continue in search of a secure identity.
As a curiosity I also remember a “czech pasta on the stove“, named for the abundance of chili and attributed in 1974 to Ugo Tognazzi. The seasoning is made with raw tomatoes, flavored with an amazing combination of almost every herb, plus chilli.
The “voices” do generically trace pasta alla fag back to the 1960s and 1970s. There are also those who have ventured a precise paternity, referring to a tavern in via dei Coronari, in 1972. However, it is easy to verify that it was already mentioned several years before, even mentioned by a famous gourmet like Veronelli. Be that as it may, against the background of the most authoritative cookbooks, two recipes are at stake, practically identical in ingredients. The only distinction is that in one case the sauce is all raw, in the other case it is cooked quickly.
However, both recipes serve up spaghetti alla fag that is very different from the (ignoble?) pasta alla fag cold from the fridge, topped with mozzarella and raw tomatoes, served in bars and cafes in summer. In the latter case, it is really a generic pasta salad, often (almost always!) made without respecting the most basic criteria for cooking both a dish of cold pastabe one pasta salad.
The recipe that we propose is the one that requires a minimum of cooking and that refers more to the tradition of Roman pasta. You will notice, for example, that cooked in this way, spaghetti alla fag is very similar to spaghetti puttanesca (see recipe here). Obviously similar in preparation, not in ingredients: the final taste of the two pastas is very different.
However, if you want to try the recipe in the “raw” version, taking into account that the ingredients do not change, you simply have to cut the tomatoes and pour them into a bowl. Add the chopped herbs, salt, let the flavors settle for at least an hour, then pour in the hot, freshly drained spaghetti.
Also in this case pasta is served warm, never cold from the fridge. Cheeses should not be added either, although the addition of some chopped capers along with the aromas is acceptable.
The olives of the recipe. they are mainly the itrane (the so-called black of Gaeta) or the taggiasche. However, you can also use the green ones (obviously sweet and without a vinegar aftertaste) which were the most used in the 70s and 80s. In fact, in a publication about Lazio recipes from 1968, Veronelli appreciates this pasta alla fag made with green olives stuffed with red pepper.
there are several hypotheses. Some can be traced back to mythical cooks named Francesca (Checca, in the Roman endearment) and related trattorias. Like “la Sora Checca”, now closed, but once quite famous.
The most accredited hypotheses, however, refer to the less noble meaning of the term queer. Expression of Tuscan origin, adopted in Rome and central Italy to indicate in a vulgar and derogatory way a homosexual with accentuated or excessive feminine attitudes.
Also in this case there are two hypotheses.
The first trivially refers to a notoriously effeminate cook.
The second to a customer who, having experimented with the new recipe, and having noticed the presence of fennel seeds, addresses the cook with a joke like: «’anvedi, ahò! You gave me fennel… what did you give me for a faggot?». And laugh, because… if we want to be vulgar, fags and fags are known to be willingly together
[testi di Valter Cirillo]
- 360g of spaghetti
- 400g fresh, ripe, firm tomatoes
- 50 g pitted olives
- Fennel seeds
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the tomatoes into cubes, add salt and leave to rest for half an hour in a bowl, without removing the water from the vegetation or the internal seeds. Coarsely chop the pitted olives and add them to the tomatoes.
- Heat 5 tablespoons of oil (about 50 ml) in a pan. Then add the herbs: a tablespoon of chopped parsley, 5-6 chopped basil leaves, and a pinch of crushed fennel seeds. Fry the chopped herbs for 2 minutes (no more), but very gently, over very low heat.
- Now add the chopped tomatoes and olives to the pan. Stir, cover and cook slowly over moderate heat for 7-8 minutes. Do not delay: the flavor of the sauce should ripen with the heat, but it should not lose the memory of the freshness of the tomatoes and olives.
- Turn off the heat, taste and adjust the salt if necessary, finally season with a generous pinch of freshly ground pepper. Pour the dressing into the serving bowl and add a little more freshly chopped parsley and basil. Drop the spaghetti into the boiling water and allow the flavors of the sauce to settle throughout the cooking time of the pasta.
- Drain the spaghetti al dente and pour it very hot into the sauce. Mix well adding -if necessary- another or two tablespoons of oil. The spaghetti alla fag are served immediately, still warm, almost hot. If it’s summer and it’s hot, you can also offer them at room temperature, but not cold from the fridge. Cheese is not provided, but if you really feel it necessary, use some ricotta salata