Thursday, June 11, 2015

Food, Part Seven Courses...

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again."  ~ George Miller

Food is an important part of the Italian family.  Jokes abound about how mamma and nonna cook and cook and throw the guilt trip on anyone who, stuffed to the gills, refuses to eat anything more.  Jokes or not, it's true.

"I'm gonna be hurt if you don't eat another piece of my cake," my good friend, Novelia, said to me after we had finished a seven-course (You read that right.... SEVEN COURSES) lunch. The gargantuan lunch followed an equally large meal the night before. 

Rather than go into that meal, let me tell you about the dinner first.....

 Italian meals start with antipasto, and Novelia's sister prepared a wonderful one for us.  We had a few kinds of cheeses and olives, fried zucchini, bread topped with cream of zolle (garlic shoots), bread with tuna and cheese, eggs, and i'm sure something else I have forgotten.

 Once the appetizers were done, we had a pureed vegetable soup topped with peccorino cheese. I cannot really do justice to the soup, but I'll try. While the base was probably potato, it was delicate enough to allow the other flavors to shine through. It was absolutely delicious

 Following the soup, Vittoria served us farfalle topped with a sauce made of zucchini and asparagus. Unlike Americans, Italians do not drown their pasta in sauce preferring to coat the pasta enough to enhance the pasta.  Topped with peccorino, the farfalle was fantastic.

I should point out that peccorino is the cheese of choice in the Abruzzo (and Lazio) regions of Italy.  Parmigiana, while widely used, is more of a northern cheese.

After the pasta,  Vittoria served us meatballs in a mushroom sauce, stuffed pepperoni (peppers, not the stuff we put on pizza), and veal.

I should also point out that we had two kinds of wine—rose and Montepulciano di Abruzzo, a red— and water from Pettorano.

Are you feeling a little full yet?  There's more!  Vittoria made a delicious cake and topped it with  strawberries she grew in her garden,. Fresh cherries and strawberries capped off our evening.  (I had one cherry.  Anything more would have made me burst.)

 (Just as a side note, I assume you know Italians don't eat like this every single day. While meals are family affairs, the daily versions have fewer courses (and calories). They are, however, always just as good.)

The food was so good and Vittoria, Carlo, Novelia, and Peppe were more than warm and wonderful. I was thrilled to share life with a real Italian family with my groups because that's what Italy is about. 

I'm looking forward to being hungry again in the middle of next week.  :-)

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