It’s not the same, but almost. And mind-blowing good to eat. In Santarcangelo, where legend has it the Sangiovese grape gets its name, my wife and I have lunch and dinner at Trattoria del Passatore. We go there for many things, chief among them ravioli served with a rosole sauce. Rosole, also known as papavero in Italian, are young poppy leaves. You see fields of poppies in Italy, with their brilliant red flowers. The leaves are harvested and used in […]
Wait ten minutes and your kitchen smells like heaven. For the longest time, I thought of this as a summer dish. Perhaps because I was conditioned to seeing my mother-in-law bring in a haul of tomatoes from her garden and work her magic on them. Then I saw the error of my ways—the utter foolishness of denying myself the pleasure of pomodori gratinati al forno–oven-roasted tomatoes–in the off season.
How can something so simple be so good? A few years ago my wife and I spent a weekend in Naples, the one in Italy, where we had pasta with chickpeas. The dish was life-changing. It’s so easy to prepare, so hearty and healthy, I can’t understand why I don’t cook it more often. Like every week. Now, about those chicks. When I have the time and my wits about me, I stop by a local Iraqi market and buy […]
Cooking seasonal and sensational The affectionate term for them is gobbi—hunchbacks. I’m talking about cardone, that distant cousin to artichokes. A stalky plant with raised ribs, cardone resemble celery. Like the artichoke, cardone is a member of the thistle family. Just seeing (or hearing) the word “thistle,” if you know the prickly plant, you feel a wave of caution. Handle with care, yes, but eat them with great pleasure.
Glorious green! We had our neighbor here in Michigan to dinner one day. He was educated in Rome and traveled extensively in Italy during his time there. That day we ate a dish of pasta, enjoyed some wine, and talked. After clearing the table for the next course, I placed a pan of spinach in the middle of the table. He laughed. “I bet this is the only house in Southeastern Michigan serving spinach from a frying pan.”
How do I love thee? “They never have your favorite,” I say to my wife. She’s lying on the sofa reading a book entitled Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity. Usually when she reads she pauses and gives me updates, sometimes lengthy ones. With this book, however, her glosses have been terse. Yesterday when I asked what was happening, she said simply, “Cicero.” “Flavor,” I say now. “Just a minute.” I mean favorite gelato […]
How to enjoy a beautiful day in Urbino In Italian, the sin of gluttony is gola. Golosita’. In Italy, it’s so easy to be goloso. I’m thinking about gluttony the day my wife and I drive to Urbino. From Pesaro it’s a 40 kilometer drive I do not love, on a two-lane road through village after village, past Montelabbate and Colbordolo, past Gallo and Morcia. Every few kilometers you have to brake for a roundabout. You get stuck behind trucks […]
How to make pork ribs, an inexpensive meat, taste like a million bucks It was the lard that made us swoon. My wife and I were having dinner at a restaurant in Reggio, Italy, one night. At the outset of a long meal, the server brought out affetatto (assorted sliced meats) and we were very much in heaven. Prosciuitto, mortadella, various salami–then came lard-thinly sliced, shimmering, buttery strips of lard that we rolled onto breadsticks. I don’t know about other […]
A fast, easy, irresistible meat dish Thanksgiving day in Italy. There will be no turkey in the roaster, no dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy, no pumpkin pie. Later tonight we’re meeting friends for Thanksgiving ravioli. We have to save ourselves for that. But for lunch? In the spirit of the holiday (sort of), turkey cutlets cooked in milk.