Is it illegal to break the pasta in Italy?

Is It Illegal To Break Pasta In Italy? Important Etiquette & Rules For Cooking In Italy

Is it illegal to break pasta in Italy before or after you cook it? No, but it should be! Here is what our good friend Isabella at Boundless Roads has to say on the much-debated topic!

If you are planning a trip to Italy, the first thing you should learn is Italian food etiquette. We, Italians, are very particular when it comes to food, and we have our own must-do and must not etiquette about eating habits, and not only with pasta. 

So in this post, I will tell you all about it, from how you should cook your pasta to how you are supposed to eat it – the Italian way – so that you will be able to travel to Italy like a pro and look like a local! 

Is it actually illegal to break pasta in Italy?

It is not illegal to break pasta in Italy, either before or after it’s cooked, but this is something that we don’t do. And if we see somebody doing it, we laugh at them, and we will make fun of them for good. 

Some people even get very upset because they consider the act of breaking pasta something dumb or absurd. That is why you may think it’s even illegal. 

Well, I can assure you it is not. 

However, many Italians take food matters very seriously, and they can also get very, very upset if they see you break the pasta. It’s a sort of insult or a sacrilege even.  

Is it illegal to break the pasta in Italy? I was determined not to find out the hard way.

In fact, what you may have heard about Italians and food are not just stereotypes. As an Italian living abroad, I can confirm that. 

In fact, although I have become more flexible and less judgmental, there are still some food-related habits that I haven’t managed to drop over the years yet and other weird behaviors that still shock me.

One of those is eating pizza with pineapple on it. It’s just gross. This is one of the things you must not do when you go to Italy. Do not ask for pineapple pizza when you go to Italy, or you will be deported. Just kidding, but please don’t do that!

What happens if you break pasta in Italy?
Will you go to jail?

No, worry not, you won’t go to jail if you break pasta in Italy, but still, it’s something that we don’t do. Breaking pasta in Italy is something you do with small kids when they are learning how to eat on their own. 

If you do that as an adult, you will look like a weirdo or just a foreigner who is not interested in learning how to eat Italian food properly. 

Having said that, of course, you can do whatever you want with your food and eat it the way it’s more convenient for you. It’s just weird for an Italian to see that. 

When we eat spaghetti, we just roll them around the fork without a spoon, which is another weird thing to do, for that matter. 

Pasta Etiquette When Visiting Italy: How To Cook & Eat Pasta It The Right Way

When visiting Italy, there are some things that you should know and food etiquette that you may want to follow just for fun, to try something new, or for respect towards the local culture. 

Of course, it’s not mandatory; anyone should eat the food they like and how they like it. However, because we Italians are so particular about our food, you may also want to learn. 

Tip #1: The Steps For Cooking Pasta

If you want to cook your own pasta, you may want to learn to do it the Italian way. Therefore you should follow these simple steps.

  1. Use a tall pan and bring the water with salt to boil.
  2. Add the spaghetti while it’s boiling without breaking them. Just add them vertically and wait for a few seconds until the part in the water soften, then push the other part down gently until they are all covered in water. 
  3. Taste them after 8 minutes if you like them “al dente”; otherwise, let them cook until you think they are ready to your taste. You can check on the pasta box how many minutes they need, depending on the brand and the pasta. 
  4.  Drain the pasta! You can either serve it with olive oil and parmesan cheese directly on the plates, or you can put it back in the pan and add the dressing that you may have already prepared separately so that you can mix it more easily. 
  5. Serve it on the dish and eat it without a knife. Just roll the spaghetti around the fork. 

Tip #2: Don’t break the spaghetti on your plate 

When you are served spaghetti in a restaurant, please do not use your knife and break them into small pieces. Adults do this for their small kids when they are learning to eat on their own.

Otherwise, even grown-up kids learn how to roll spaghetti around a fork. It’s easy, and I am sure you will be a pro, too, if you give it a try. 

Tip #3: Don’t add parmesan cheese to seafood pasta

Another food etiquette in Italy is that we don’t usually add parmesan cheese to seafood pasta because cheese and seafood do not really go well together, according to food connoisseurs.

However, this is not a big deal, and many people do it. It’s just a matter of taste. 

Tip #4: Make sure you use your bread to do the “scarpetta.” 

One thing that is very Italian is to use bread to pick up the sauce that is left in your dish after you finish your pasta and eat it. It’s delicious, although it may not look very elegant.

So maybe you don’t want to do it if you are on a romantic date, although I would. Especially if the sauce is so good. Doing the scarpetta is the best way to finish up your dish. 

Best Pasta Restaurants In Rome, Italy

You can find delicious pasta dishes everywhere in Italy. Since Rome is one of the best cities in Italy that you must include in your itinerary, I am going to share a couple of the top-rated restaurants in the Italian capital where you can try the best pasta dishes in the world.

Rome, the capital and most restaurant populated city in Italy - also where I learned never to break the pasta!

📍Pasta e Vino

Pasta e Vino is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in the Trastevere neighborhood in Rome, where you will find the grandmother’s recipes handed down for generations and fresh ingredients of the highest quality selected by trusted producers. 

The wooden tables and chairs and red brick walls create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere and homey feeling that will make the food taste even better.

Just like the name of the place may suggest, you will find the best pasta dishes topped with delicious sauces from Roman and Italian traditions, among which are carbonara, amatriciana, cacio e pepe, tomato, and many more.

Make sure you ask for the best wine to accompany the pasta of your choice. 

📍 Armando al Pantheon

Armando al Pantheon is a family-owned business that started in 1961 from a passion, and 60 years later, it’s still thriving.

The restaurant immediately became one of the most frequented places by personalities from the world of culture and entertainment, as well as many people from Rome and elsewhere. It became a reference point for Roman cuisine lovers. 

The secret of their special dishes has been passed on from generation to generation to their extended family, and it’s now still one of the top eateries in Rome to experience real roman cuisine and the best wine selection. 

📍 Borghiciana pastificio artigianale

If you want to taste some of the best homemade pasta in Rome, look no further than Borghiciana Pastificio Artigianale

Open for lunch and dinner, this local restaurant is one of the top-rated ones in Rome, and although you may have to wait a while for your table, the delicious dishes will make your time well worth it.

Guests praise not only the delicious tasty pasta dishes and desserts but also the outstanding service and the homey atmosphere. 

Conclusion: Breaking Pasta In Italy 

As you may have noticed, Italians are very particular and strict regarding food. That’s why breaking pasta in Italy is definitely a no-go but rest assured that you won’t go to jail for breaking pasta.

You are just breaking a tradition and a rooted cultural habit in Italy, but you are free to eat the pasta the way it’s more convenient for you. Just please don’t ask for pineapple pizza!