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No Sauce Left Behind

Have you ever been served pasta with a sauce so delectable you secretly wanted to lick the plate clean?


pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale, local Senese pig

The Italians have solved this age-old problem.

They even have a word for it. It is called scarpetta. 
I was first introduced to the practice when I came to Italy with my friend Tiziana to meet her family.

I learned many things about Italian culture that summer, but this one comes to mind often. In fact, I use the technique here in Siena now.

Scarpetta: the literal translation is ‘little shoe’.

There are a few different versions as to the origin of the word, The version I was told is that when you drag your piece of bread across the plate to pick up the sauce, the bread looks like the shape of a little shoe.


this plate is in dire need of ‘scarpetta’

I was happy to know that it was not only acceptable buttruly a sign of a good meal and a compliment to the family to not leave anybits of sauce (ragu) behind. In other words it is acceptable to ‘lick’ the plate clean’ by using a piece of bread.

This evening I returned to an enoteca in my neighborhood and ordered the pappaerdelle al ragu di cinghiale. Chingale is the local Senesi pig, and it was served over a wide flat noodle called papparedelle.

The meat and sauce was incredible! I did the only thing I know how to do, and that is grab a piece of Tuscan bread and fare scarpetta.


this is how we do it!

Just take your piece of pane, (bread) start at one side and finish to the other. 

Easy as pie!

Deborah Larsen, cultural studies, Spring 2015