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Fettucine carbonara steals the show at Columbus Cup

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Al De Gennaro serves fettucine carbonara at the Columbus Cup Golf and Bocce Feast, to the delight of (seated, from left) Joe Giannetti, Keith Tornetta, Mark Santoleri, John Paravati and Frank Caiola. Standing beside De Gennaro are Joe Paravati (left) and Frank Arcade.

In its 19th year the annual Columbus Cup Golf and Bocce Feast, put together by the Americans of Italian Heritage Council, has found a new home.

After 18 years at Bellewood Golf Club, the full-day celebration has moved to Brookside Country Club in Pottstown, Pa. The tradition of Italian food, music and wine – and, of course, golf and bocce – continues with a new location.

“Brookside is a fine golf course and provides a large banquet room that will be conducive to our post-golf feast,” said Al De Gennaro, president of the Americans of Italian Heritage Council. “Most important, the tradition continues.”

The most famous part of the 19-year tradition is the Featured Dish that has become a centerpiece of the evening dinner. After a full day of breakfast pizza, escarole soup, tomato pie, hoagies, a wine tasting, an elaborate Italian antipasto table and the rest of the dinner dishes, it would seem that any more food might be lost in the feast. But the Featured Dish seems to steal the show.

This year, one of Italy’s most beloved dishes – fettuccine carbonara – has been selected. It is an artful blend of guanciale (Italian cured pork) or bacon and hot pasta, tossed in a creamy blend of raw beaten eggs, grated Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Legend has it that the dish was created in tribute to the Allied soldiers who liberated Rome in 1944. American GIs brought their daily rations of eggs and bacon to local Italian restaurants to add to the limited Italian menu. From that humble beginning, the beloved Carbonara dish was created.

The first written reference to the dish appeared in a 1950 edition of the newspaper La Stampa. It was described as a favorite of American servicemen. In 1954 the recipe appeared for the first time in Elizabeth David’s classic book “Italian Food.”

“Carbonara is an extremely popular traditional recipe,” said Frank Arcade, food chairman of the Columbus Cup. “Its fame is not just throughout Italy but around the world. You can use just about any long variety of pasta for the dish but we chose fettuccine because it brings a bit more of the old-world style to the day.”

For those unable to attend this year’s Columbus Cup, but now craving pasta carbonara, Montgomery County has a few restaurants that feature interpretations of the hard-to-find dish. They include the Boot in Ambler, Viggiano’s and Bar Sera in Conshohocken, and Radice in Blue Bell has bucatini carbonara sometimes as a special, but will make it anytime upon request.

 

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