Easy Late-Night Recipe

What do you call a late-night snack with friends? If you’re in Italy, it might be called a spaghettata, a slang term which basically means eating lots of spaghetti with your buds.

Pasta is such an important part of Italian cuisine that it would be hard to walk into any restaurant and not find it on the menu. And it would just as hard to walk into any Italian home and not find some kind of pasta in the pantry. It’s more popular in the southern half of the peninsula and the islands, but it’s also part of many Northern Italian traditions. Especially since the 1600s and 1700s, when producers in Naples began making dried spaghetti and distributing it to other parts of Italy, pasta has been a major Italian staple.

So, to continue this long-standing Italian tradition, why not have a spaghettata? The next time you’ve been out on the town with a rambunctious group, nobody’s ready to hit the sack, but you’re all famished… here’s a recipe that should hit the spot. And the great thing is that all the ingredients can be stored long-term and are probably stuff you already have in your cupboard. But, most importantly, it’s tasty enough to satisfy your cravings!

Plate of spaghetti and forkSpaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino

300-400g spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, sliced or smashed
60-70g olive oil
1-2 small dried red peppers (more to taste)
salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt with a generous pinch and add the spaghetti. While the pasta cooks, heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over low heat, add the garlic (can be sliced if you want to eat it or just smashed if you want to remove the garlic before serving) and red peppers. After garlic is browned, turn off heat. When spaghetti is al dente, drain and add pasta to the frying pan. Finishing cooking in the oil and add salt if necessary. Serve hot.
Protip: If you have some Italian parsley, sprinkle chopped parsley on top of the pasta as a garnish.
The recipe can be doubled or tripled for larger crowds!

Wake Up Smiling

“I like cappuccino, actually.
But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.”
David Lynch

Coffee beans

Milan is the city in which Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz first formulated the concept of launching US espresso bars, where the public can work, meet and relax. Italy’s cafés already fulfill this role with zeal: local baristas remember your name and usually start preparing your usual beverage the moment you walk in. But forget the tall frappuccino; you can expect your caffè lungo macchiato or cappuccino scuro to be served fast and short. Around the Duomo, there’s a clutch of elegant cafes at which to relax. Fashion-conscious shoppers should try the bustling Trussardi Café and Caffè Miani (aka Zucca), whereas opera fans should stop by the quietly dignified Cafè Verdi. Around the Castello Sforzesco complex, the Bar Bianco is a popular place to drink a caffè macchiato while planning your itinerary on a sunny weekend.

Cafè Trussardi
Half of Trussardi is made up of a huge glass cube jutting into via San Dalmazio, so you’re sure to be ‘seen’ here. This very up-market café is popular with the area’s young banking and fashion set. Salads and Aberdeen Angus burgers grace the short lunch menu.
Address:Piazza della Scala 5
Transport: Metro Cordusio or Duomo/bus 61/tram 1, 2, 20.
Telephone: 02 806 8829
Open: 7.30am-11pm Mon-Sat.

Caffè Milani (aka Zucca)
Most bars in the Galleria are tourist traps, but this place, which has been in the arcade since it opened in 1867, is an institution, once frequented by Verdi and Toscanini. The interior is spectacular, with an inlaid bar and mosaics by Angelo d’Andrea. Many people who come here order that most Milanese of aperitifs, the rhubarb-based Zucca. You might want to stand and drink at the bar: prices rise sharply once you sit down and have a waiter come to your table.
AddressGalleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Transport: Metro Duomo/bus 61/tram 1, 2, 19, 20, 24.
Telephone: 02 8646 4435
Open: 7.30am-8pm Tue-Sun.

Cafè Verdi
This quietly dignified caffè may be on the touristy side, but it remains a must for opera fans. Situated across the road from La Scala, it’s a convenient coffee-break spot for company members. But even if you don’t run into Placido Domingo, you can soak up the atmosphere, surrounded by busts and photos of composers. It also serves food, and is popular with bankers at lunchtime.
AddressVia Giuseppe Verdi 6
Transport: Metro Cordusio or Duomo/bus 61/tram 1, 2, 20.
Telephone: 02 863 880
Open: 7am-8.30pm daily

Bar Bianco
Bar Bianco is an island of fine drinking and free aperitivo snacks, shipwrecked in the middle of Parco Sempione. Although popular for its caffè macchiato on a sunny weekend in winter, Bianco comes into its own in June, July and August when its freestanding structure is shaken to the rafters by a late-night, clubby crowd. There’s also free Wi-Fi!
AddressViale Enrico Ibsen 4, Parco Sempione
Transport: Bus 57, 61/tram 1, 4, 7, 19.
Telephone: 02 8699 2026
Open: June-Aug 9am-11.30pm Mon-Wed; 9am-1am Thur, Sun; 9am-2am Fri, Sat. Sept-May 9am-11.30pm daily.