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  • PastaMania #2. "Penne zucchine e gamberetti"
    In Italy "Gamberetti e zucchine" is one of the best known "mari e monti" dishes (Italian for "surf and turf"). Gamberetti cover the sea and zucchini come from the soil. This southern-Italian dish is very popular in the area stretching from Naples to the coasts of Sorrento and Amalfi, a very rocky coastline with mountains overlooking the sea.
  • PastaMania #3. "Rigatoni Zucca e Salsiccia" (Squash and Sausage Rigatoni)
    "Zucca", or squash, was imported from America to Europe, thanks to Christopher Columbus. For a long time it hasn't really been appreciated in Italy; it was used mainly by southern peasants and was considered "poor people's food." Over time, however, it became a very popular ingredient for pasta dishes and this variation, pairing squash with Italian sausage, is really a must.
  • PastaMania #4. "Spaghetti alla Puttanesca"
    This celebrated Southern dish is comparatively young for Italian standards; its popularity spiked in the 1960s. It gets its name from the word "puttana", meaning (pardon our Italian) "whore." Nobody really knows where this name comes from, but some argue that it's a reference to the sauce's hot, spicy flavor. It's also a quick, cheap meal--not politically correct, but definitely tantalizing.
  • PastaMania #5. "Bucatini Cacio e Pepe" (Bucatini with Cheese and Pepper)
    Traditionally a Roman dish, "Cacio e pepe" is also popular in other regions throughout central Italy. The name "cheese and pepper" refers to the two basic ingredients of this simple yet tasty dish. But, as you will soon discover, there is a third "miracle ingredient" not mentioned in the name.
  • PastaMania #07: "Farfalle Funghi Asparagi" (Farfalle with Mushrooms and Asparagus)
    Who said Italian cuisine has no vegetarian options? You can find this all-vegetable dish just about anywhere in the boot. However, it originally comes from central Italy -- especially the valley of the Tiber river, between Umbria and Lazio -- where you have so many woods to search for mushrooms and asparagus. Italians make this dish with both rice and pasta. Here, of course, we're going with pasta.