Thursday, July 11, 2013

Aldo Fabrizi, foodie extraordinaire

Been meaning to do this post for some time. Here goes.

Aldo Fabrizi was an Italian actor best known for his role as the priest in Rossellini's Rome Open City. But the portly Roman was also a lifelong gourmet and gourmand, as you might have guessed from his imposing girth. And also the brother of Elena Fabrizi, another foodie in the family, who established several restaurants in Rome, including the famed Sora Lella (named after her), before starting an acting career after the age of forty.

When Aldo wasn't acting up a storm, he was eating and cooking up a storm. Not only that. He wrote recipe-poems in Roman dialect, including the most famous dishes of his city. But some he made up, impromptu, with what he had on hand (as Italians so often do). Here is a shrimp recipe, which he calls seawater pasta.

Pasta all'acquamarina

Tra tutte le ricette pe' sughetti,
questa de stamattina sora sposa,
cia' 'na composizione capricciosa
pe' fa' in un lampo un piatto de spaghetti.

Avete visto mai li vasetti
pieni de gamberetti tutti rosa?
benone: mo' ve spiego co' che cosa
se ponno utilizza' 'sti gamberetti.

Soffritto d'ajo e ojo e doppo: zacche!
Buttate giu' er vasetto el'acqua sua,
co' mezzo bicchierino de cognacche.

Nun ve scordate de la vitamina
cioe' er peperoncino; la C. sua...
sapete bene quello che combina.

A (literally) prosaic summary: get a jar or can (my addition) of cocktail shrimp. Mince garlic and onion and lightly fry in (olive) oil, add the shrimp in its water, and about a half cup of cognac. Finish off with some red pepper.

Aldo obviously did not have an appetite just for food. The final line alludes to the supposed aphrodisiac properties of red pepper. Naughty Aldo- gotta love him.