If you’ve been a loyal reader of this blog or have spent a little time playing around on the pages, you’ll see that I’ve started a “series” that highlights some of the differences between Italy and our native America. Some of the differences are strange to us, many of them make perfect sense and others are just plain silly. If you’d like to see where the series began, take a look back here:
Living in Italy grants us access to a lot of great restaurants. We fully take advantage of that and eat at… a lot of great restaurants. I recently read that 75% of the food in Italy is great and 25% of the food is exceptional. I would agree with that – most meals leave you feeling completely satisfied and pleased with the overall experience. But occasionally, you’ll find yourself “mmm’ing” and “aahhh’ing” with more delight than you intended to express aloud.
We can usually spot these exceptional places before we’ve walked in the door. We may have heard about the joint from a friend or relative. It’s possible I’ve read about it on the internet or a travel book. Or sometimes, we just walk into a place and the intense amount of “old-world charm” smacks us in the face. We’re greeted by a little nonna (grandma) who then scurries to the back to cook our meal – and we just know that we are in for a treat. Since it is usually one of those three paths that lead to our exceptional meals, I had all but dismissed, Osteria da Clo’ Filomena when we made our reservation. The reason for the swift dismissal, you ask? Well, the restaurant was in our B&B, in a remote part of Emilia-Romagna, surrounded by nothing by small villages and towns. I’m usually quick to dismiss restaurants in hotels anyway, with a few exceptions. Furthermore, the place was empty. I wasn’t surprised, because it would probably be a 20-30 minute drive for most patrons to arrive. I assumed that the restaurant was in place, merely to service the guests of the hotel and therefore had to serve mediocre food (which, if you remember still falls into the 80% “great” category).
The Osteria at night – the outdoor patio is used in the spring
Recently, Jen’s family came to visit (HERE) and since we’re not the type of family that does well sitting still, we planned a couple trips within their trip. One of these week-long sojourns was an impromptu visit to Civitella in the Abruzzo region- Jen’s nonna’s (grandma’s) hometown. The official name of this gem of a village is actually, Civitella Messer Raimondowhich is home to less than 900 residents. Jennifer and Jessica grew up going to visit their nonna and family friends in Civatella during many of their summers abroad. Since I had never been to see such an important part of my wife’s family history – I was excited to go.
Civitella Messer Raimondo – the place where it all started!
Well, we have heard a lot from Greg so I thought it was time for me (Jen) to give this blogging a go. I have had a lot of people ask me how to make sauce. Growing up in an Italian family this was a staple in our house. I didn’t even know until college that most people buy pasta sauce from a jar! Sorry, but… yuck.
I am by no means an expert cook but I have had many very talented woman in my life that have taught me a lot. Until recently everything I know has been taught to me by my nonna (grandma), my mother and my mother-in-law, who are all incredibly talented in the kitchen.
Even though my Mom isn’t Italian she learned from the best Italian cook (my nonna) how to prepare all of my Dad’s favorite Italian meals. In the beginning of their marriage she made all the foods she grew up eating – good Ohio cuisine. This consisted of meat and potato cooking such as meat loaf and casseroles. Don’t get me wrong, all these foods are delicious… just not to my Dad. It wasn’t until maybe a year or so of eating this food that my Dad admitted he missed his mother’s cooking and my Mom’s path to creating mouth watering Italian dishes began. One of the best things she learned from my Nonna was how to prepare Sugo (sauce). My Nonna’s recipe requires a lot of chopping and it is time consuming to make. Since I have been living in Como I have had the opportunity to learn from another very talented woman, my Zia (Aunt) Claudia. She recently taught me a quick and easy way to make delicious sugo with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator. I hope you enjoy the sauce as much as everyone here enjoys eating it. Continue reading Easy and Delicious Marinara Pasta Sauce→