Ravioli and Sagne for Christmas Eve!

Ciao a Tutti! 😀

The holidays are coming to an end, and we all know that it is that time of
the year that everybody hates: starting a diet!

tumblr_inline_mocrs11wkx1qz4rgpWhat better way to do this than by reading what I’ve cooked for Christmas Eve? It’s way healthier and … better than any other diets! 😉

Winter Break arrived so quickly for all of us – college/university students and  workers – and some of us don’t have a place to stay, so we either fly back to our hometowns or ask some friends to have us for a while in their houses. Thankfully, I have great friends, because that’s what I chose to do.

Boston Skyline from the Harbor

My first stop was at my friend Jeremy’s house in Boston – I love that city, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll live there.  So, at Jeremy’s I found a beautiful and loving family that welcomed me in such a caring way that I actually felt at home! His mother, Sara, was the one I spent the most time with because of our similar lifestyle: we wake up early! lol But also because we spent a lot of time together cooking, she indeed is my guest for today’s post!

I don’t know if you know this, but in Italy we have three important days dedicated to eating for Christmas: the 24th’s Dinner,  the 25th’s Lunch, and the 26th’s Lunch – there is also the 27th but that’s “leftovers Day”! So, Sara and I decided that for Christmas Eve, we would cook Italian pasta and sauce, both homemade of course!

So, to begin we started making the tomato sauce (the original Italian one):

Extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil , leaves picked and torn
4 lbs of good-quality tomatoes
3 carrots
2/3 garlic cloves (or onions)
3 stalks of celery

IMG_9008Wash, core, and cut tomatoes into small pieces. Then, place them in a large pot. Now heat the tomatoes over medium. After about 15 minutes give the tomatoes a stir and keep stirring once in a while until all the tomatoes are reduced to a mush. Now, smash all tomatoes with a mixer until it becomes slightly creamy, but not to the point of liquidation. Now, it’s time to pour 3 spoons of oil iIMG_5881nto a pot, add very well minced celery, carrots, and onions, but if you have kids and they don’t like to see “things” in the sauce, you can actually chop carrots and celery stalks in big pieces so that you can remove them once everything is cooked – you can also use garlic cloves instead of onions if you prefer or have allergies and similar problems. Once it becomes brown (not too much, a few minutes are enough), pour the sauce into the pot, add a pinch of salt, stir, and let cook until the sauce is to your desired consistency. Then, remove from heat and add some FRESH basil leaves and stir. Salt to taste, if it isn’t salty enough.

I know, many of you will be like:



I did write a lot of “few” instead of exact quantities or timings, but this is the way I learned and I can tell by just seeing it so I don’t know how to specify it better!

Now, while our sauce was cooking, we started preparing the dough for our ravioli and sagne!

0.55 lbs of flour
2 eggs
1 yolk


We doubled the ingredients!

Pour the flour and make a sort of fountain, break the eggs inside (do not throw the white of the egg away, we might need it later), and start mashing everything together with your hands. It may be gross for some of you but believe me this is the most ancient, natural, and funny way to do it. If the dough is not elastic, add some warm water to make it more tender. On the contrary, if it is too sticky, sparingly add some flour. So, when the dough is homogenous and smooth, turn it into a ball. Put it into a bowl and cover it with cellophane or with a towel. Let it rest for about 30 minutes in a dark and dry place. Now, while the dough is resting, we need to take care of the filling: usually it is made of spinach and ricotta but we also did one with just ricotta – the procedure is the same, just do not add the spinach, easy. 😉


0.55 lbs of fresh spinach leaves
0.55 lbs of ricotta
0.11 lbs of Parmesan


In a IMG_1809pan, put the spinach leaves, heat over medium and let them cook, covering them until they are soft. Once cooked, drain them until they loose the water. Now, in a bowl, mix the ricotta with the Parmesan, a pitch of nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mince the spinach leaves, and add them to the bowl. Mix.

And now the fun part begins: take the dough and roll and stretch it with a rolling pin. We had a problem with this step because usually to make ravioli we need a pasta machine, but unfortunately few American families have one! So, with some elbow grease, you might have the same results … we didn’t. But still, we had a lot of fun by simply making all the family members try doing it! It doesn’t matter. You can still make ravioli, and while they won’t be perfect, they will still be tasty, and that’s what matters.

White wine while cooking make the whole experience perfect! 

Now, stretch out the the pieces of dough into the most rectangular shape you can make. You will have many rectangular pieces.

Take the filling and spoon some onto the dough, repeating this step as long as there’s space on the dough. Be careful though, as there must be enough space from both the balls of filling and the borders to fold them. It’s really complicated to explain but not to actually do it! IMG_0109The picture below will help for sure! Once you can manage to create these little balls on the dough, you need to brush the borders with either the white of the egg you didn’t use or with some water in order to avoid the ravioli are unfolding in the boiling water while they are cooking. Now, take the longest edge of the rectangular dough (the farthest from the filling) and fold it so it meets the other perfectly. With two fingers, make sure to let the air out around the balls of filing.

Once they are all ready and cooked, put them in large bowl – or wherever you want to serve them from – and pour the sauce on them, enough to make them red. Sprinkle parmesan on top and voila: ready to eat! IMG_0224

My assistant, Sara, and I also had some extra dough, so we decided to make a quicker type of pasta, my region’s speciality: Sagne – just so you know ravioli and sagne are plural nouns already, no ending -s needed! Their dough is usually made of just  water, flour, and salt, but you can also do it with the ravioli’s dough.

IMG_0117The preparation is really easy to do. Just roll the dough into a circular thin shape and once it’s done, roll it on the rolling pin. Cut on top of it with a knife so that you have perfect rectangular-shaped pieces of dough, one on top of the other. Now, cut them into small little strings.


Once you manage to cut all of them, with your hands grab them all and mix them a little. The pictures may help!

Now, you have to follow the same steps that we did for the ravioli in order to cook them and add the sauce! And again, ready to eat! 😀

Always serve pasta with bread, please! Italians love to do the SCARPETTA! When you finish eating “pasta al sugo” or anything with sauce, the act of using the bread to “clean up the plate” is called scarpetta.

Hope you had beautiful holidays, and if you didn’t make some homemade pasta or cook, it’s always relaxing and gratifying! 😀

Sara and I having some fun the following day (on Christmas Day). We made a cheesy Christmas tree and “bruschette” that by the way is a plural noun and it’s not the topping but the toasted bread! 😉 

Thank you Pozner family for hosting me!

PS: If you want to check some other interesting recipes written in English to surprise your guests or thank your hosts as I did, take a look a this website. There are a lot of fancy recipes that are also presented as gifts, so maybe it will give you few ideas for next Christmas or for some other holidays or birthdays!

Americans [who lived in Italy] answer Americans Question about Italian Food

Ciao a Tutti! 😀

Have you ever wanted to talk with Italians and asked them questions about food? Well, for those of you who have I have the perfect solution. Since I’ve been in the States, I’ve been asked questions but, still, my answers were too abstract for those people. Then, I began writing on this blog and tried to be more concrete and, again, it wasn’t enough. I noticed that Americans were looking for someone who could understand them better. So, after a while, I came up with the perfect solution:

Americans [who lived in Italy] answer Americans Question about Italian Food.

By letting Americans answering the question, their compatriots who have never been to Italy could better empathize with what I wanted to explains.

Also, few months ago Buzzfeed International uploaded a new video on Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 1.17.18 PMYouTube and in less than 24 hours, my students, other Italian students and my friends in Italy posted this video on Facebook profile at the same time – I had at least 10 same videos. Before I could actually watch it, The Jackal – an Italian group of Youtube
comedians – answered to this video withScreen Shot 2015-12-16 at 1.19.25 PM another one. I was overwhelmed by so many posts. Anyway, I managed to delete all the extras on my FB profile and watched the original and
the video response. I laughed for hours. Both Buzzfeed and The Jackal were brilliant. The Jackal, of course, were funnier and more comical because that’s their motto, but still they do it wittily.

I want to do something like that: a mix of the two.

I told myself right after. But I didn’t have the idea yet. It took me one month to come up with the idea and another month to actually do it! I know, a little too slow/late but as I always say: “l’importante è farlo, non importa quando” (the important thing is to do it no matter when).

So, I chose to interview 4 people (3 students and 1 professor here at Dickinson College) and asked them question that other Americans wanted me to answer. Here’s the trailer of the video-interview:

While I was editing it, I realized that it would have been 30/40 minutes long, so making the trailer gives everybody a chance to see what it talks about and if you are still interested you can watch the whole interview which is really funny and educative. 😉

Now, if you enjoyed the trailer why not spending few more minutes watching the whole video, you will found out more about what Kate, Giancarlo, Jake, and Professor McMenamin have to say between these two very different cultures.

A Presto :*

Spaghetti with Meatballs

Ciao a Tutti,

today’s post we’ll be more than simply interesting because I chose to finally talk about Spaghetti with Meatballs, the most not-Italian, iconic, stereotyped, and famous Italian-American dish.

My first experience with it was when I was very little, I was watching a

Tramp and Lady eating Spaghetti with Meatballs

beautiful Disney movie, called The Lady and The Tramp, and as many of you will remember there there is the romantic kiss scene thanks to a “spaghetto” (with meatballs). Now, at first I remember I was amused and as a kid, a little moved but then – after the third/forth times – I focus my attention on that plate and I realized that I had never seen such a sauce for pasta. But I said it was a movie so “not real” because why should they put those big balls in the plate when you’re still eating pasta?! – unlikely, few years later, I realized that that was a proper way to do it in a far away land, called USA.


Now, I want to answer this question once and for all. In Italy, meatballs are called “polpette” and they are, of course, cooked with tomato sauce but not served with pasta. Because it is a second course, so it comes after you finish eating the first dish which is pasta with the same sauce you used to cook the polpette. Every type of meat you cook with the tomato sauce is served after the pasta, not with it. It is true that you might used the same plate in which you ate pasta but still … no, you can’t eat it together! Also, my region is one of those where polpette are made in many different ways – I’m an expert about it even if I’m vegetarian! So, it’s fair enough to eat tiny small polpette with pasta with tomato sauce just when those meatballs are as I said tiny and small! It’s

“Brodo di Natale Abruzzese”

a variation of the “ragù alla Bolognese” (the label “Bolognese sauce” doen’t exist, but I will talk about it in another post) where little pieces of meat are cooked together
with the tomato sauce. Or, again, on Christmas day in my region is very common to prepare “Brodo di Natale” which has cardoon, endive, stracciatella (similar to egg drop soup), and finally little meatballs. That’s it! All you have to know about Italian meatballs that it is also confirmed by Corby Kummer:

For whatever reasons, what became Italian-American cuisine started with a base of Campanian food, minus many kinds of vegetables and cheeses and plus a lot of meat. Thus the rise of spaghetti and meatballs, a dish unknown in Italy. It probably had its origin in several baked Neapolitan pasta dishes, served at religious festivals such as Carnival and Christmas, that used meatballs no bigger than walnuts and also called for such ingredients as ham and boiled eggs.

What happened in the States is always a matter of convenience (and laziness I suppose) because of the habit of putting everything in the same plate, with no particular order for first, second, side or other courses. But to go deeper, I wanted to find something more than that and I find myself shocked to acknowledge that Spaghetti and Meatballs has its own English Wikipedia page where I read that

It is widely believed that spaghetti with meatballs was an innovation of early 20th-century Italian immigrants in New York City; the National Pasta Association (originally named the National Macaroni Manufacturers Association) is said to be the first organization to publish a recipe for it, in the 1920s.

So, now, my fella Americans I will end my post with a link to the best (online) recipe for real meatballs – it’s in Italian but there are lots of

Caf weird Meatballs Sandwich

images to help you through the process and some online dictionaries will do the rest!
Try it and let me know! But do not serve it with pasta or as a very weird hotdog, please!


Ciao Ciao!

Italian vs Italian-American

Ciao a Tutti!

In my previous posts I talked about my personal point of view on Italian vs (Italian-)American cuisine, but I thought that interviewing a person with more expertise would be better! That’s why I decided to talk and interview one of the Italian Professor’s here at Dickinson College. Prof. Luca Trazzi “specialized in English and French linguistics and Italian language pedagogy […]. At Dickinson he teaches elementary and intermediate Italian courses, acts as the current Italian faculty liaison for the MWC, and participates in the organization of Italian events on campus” … and in addition to all this he is a fantastic cook – to the question “How do you like to relax?” his answer is “Cooking … cooking everything from Italian dishes to sushi!”

Let’s see what he answered to the “few” questions I asked him:

    1. What was your reaction to the American food when you first came in the States – for a long period of time?

2015-08-25 16.14.15
Prof. Trazzi 

The first time I came to the States for a long period of time was 11 years ago – here at Dickinson College – I was both the Italian TA and a student. The first (daily) reaction to the American food was in the “Cafeteria”, but I also had American friends at that time and I had already tasted American food with them. I can comment on both these different situations. So first of all, as a student eating at the “Caf”, I was really surprised by the QUANTITY of food available for the students. I remember that I immediately looked at food that was labeled as Italian food that, of course, captured my attention: there was a place in the cafeteria where it was possible to order pasta – wok – with vegetables and chicken together and right away I compared it to what I was used to eating and when I ate there I was looking for my “sapori” (tastes/flavors) and what I was used to: pasta, meat, the structure of lunch/dinner (first the first course, the second, and sides). Of course, I soon found out that I was allowed to have just one plate

where I had to put everything on it, but, because I had a tray, I still divided my food according to the Italian structure and that surprised everyone around me. That was for both lunch and dinner. I liked breakfast, though. Because I heard a lot about continental breakfasts, American pancakes, different kind of cereals, eggs and bacon (or sausages): I liked doing experiments during breakfast but at the end, I always ended up with cereal with milk or toast with butter and jam – I just liked to know that I had all of these different things but I never used them! On Sundays though, I dared to try more things because of the well-known “brunch”: it was more an imitation of American lifestyle – I am in the States and I can eat eggs and bacon at breakfast!

On the other hand, outside the college environment, my American friends introduced me to typical American meals that were far away from the stereotypes. I thought that American food meant hamburgers, French fries, eggs and bacon, thanksgiving turkey, and that’s it! These friends from both the east and west coasts prepared typical local or regional meals and also family recipes.

    2. How long is it that you’ve been living in the States? And, did your relationship with food change?

Now, it’s been almost 6 years that I have lived in the States and now I distinguish two types of American food: mass consumption food (junk food, …) and traditional – local and regional – food. I totally avoid everything that belongs to mass production food – stereotypical meals – but I appreciate things that American’s eat during specific periods of the year like Thanksgiving Dinner, BBQ, and so on.

    3. What do you miss most about Italian?

First of all, I miss the structure of the courses: I miss that when I sit at the table I know that there’s going to be “un primo” (pasta) and “un secondo” (meat) – I miss the “table experience.” I miss the bread (“il pane”) because personally I am one of those people who eats pasta with bread, “la

Polenta al Sugo

polenta” (cornmeal mush) with bread – my family jokes about it because it’s not a common thing – I don’t miss pasta that much because I like cooking and I cook it at home, but I miss “i sapori” which I grew up with – childhood flavors that luckily I can recreate cooking at home, the problem is that I miss the “table experience,” the convivial experience. When I cook and eat with other Italians living here it’s not a problem anymore because we cook together, we sit at the table, there’s a precise structure that everybody knows, and then while we eat, the food itself is important and a main topic of conversation; while with the Americans the meal is just food, there are no memories, stories, and so on – with the Italians there’s always a “I remember this recipe because my mother, when I grew up, or in your city, or in the North/South, …” – the food moves to the background. The focus – topic of eating with Italians is to appreciate and taste food together.

    4. What do you miss most about Italian habits related to food? And/or about daily habits (like breakfast, lunch, dinner, and breaks during the day)?

I miss having breakfast at the “bar” [from now on, I will use bar to talk about café shops], I miss waking up and going directly to the bar: next door there will always be a bar with a “caffè macchiato” and a “cornetto” (croissant or pastry) waiting for me! Here, I prepare the Moka, of course, but it isn’t the same thing! I miss sharing my time with poeple. When you eat here you eat for the sake of eating, you eat because you have to! While in Italy, it is “we have to eat, so let’s spend some time together”: it’s both a matter of quantity and quality of time! I miss lunch time which is usually in the office, although I also did this in Italy it was different! Dinner is similar to the Italian experience but still both lunch and dinner time in Italy are linked to the “telegiornale” (newscast).

Coffee Break

If I have a 30-minute break, I cannot say “let’s go grab a coffee” to my American colleagues! Well, I do it but with my Italians colleagues because they know what I mean! It means relax for thirty minutes, drink a coffee while we gossip, smoke a cigarette and that’s it! Americans do not understand going to grab a coffee at random moments of the day! They ask for the purpose, or usually they say “Do you need to talk to me about something?”.

    5. Is there a different vibe or feeling around a “lunch/dinner table”? Like rules, behavior, or different habits to respect?

“Galateo” (manners) is quite the same. Fork and knife are the opposite, though. I’m used to eating by cutting the meat with the knife in my right hand and then grabbing a piece with the fork in my left hand. Also, you’re not supposed to put your hands on the table, instead you put them on your legs. Here, there’s way more conversation about all kind of topics! I’m generalizing of course, I’m telling you my own experience. Dinner is a time to get to know people, dinner is a social event here in the States. People with different jobs, age, and so on at the same table talking about various topics is not common in Italy at all!

    6. Are there any American meals that you like?

First of all, I like eating, I like the culinary experience, I like “stare a tavola” (to sit at the table and talk), I like tasting different things: Italian, American, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, and so on. I couldn’t and I don’t want to substitute one thing for another – the Italian breakfast is a thing, the American brunch is a totally different thing. I like both but I don’t want to replace anything: I have to be honest when I have brunch, I like drinking American coffee, but if I am in Italy, I would never order it! It’s the same thing when I am in Italy, after lunch I want my caffé macchiato, not the American one! There are things that I really like but they have to be contextualized. So, back to the question, I like everything that comes from a diner, I love the diner’s experience! The funny thing that I found out is that Americans that go to Italy love “l’Autogrill” (roadside/highway restaurant). Personally, I like that too. I also like the American contemporary cuisine which is a fusion between European (French and Italians) techniques and typical American meals. I like everything that is a traditional meal, too. I love Thanksgiving Day meals, and also local and regional meals, or the casseroles. Well done Hamburgers, for examples, are amazing!

    7. How is doing the grocery shopping experience different from Italy?

Doing grocery shopping hasn’t changed much! When I am in a grocery store in the States, I behave as I did in Italy: it’s an important moment and it takes time! I read the labels, I think about the ingredients, I try to save money too and I look, I watch, and I see! As I said, I love cooking so I need to spend time in the grocery store to see new things, etc: I love grocery shopping although I heard that most Americans hate it – they don’t like to experiment with food!

If I want Italian products, I look for the ingredients not for the final product! I look for products imported from Italy, but I avoid imitations. Recently, there are new stores in the States where you can also find particular products – yeah, they are very expensive.

    8. Can you tell us something about the relationship between Italians and Americans recipes (ingredients, preparation, and different types)?

In the States, recipes are gold. Quantities are very important and strict – you can’t mess them up! It’s mechanical. I understand that sometimes recipes are needed and necessary – it’s chemistry – but for Italians they follow these recipes “q.b.” (“quanto basta” – as needed). It’s interesting to see the difference, though. In Italy, if I have to prepare or tell somebody to prepare “spaghetti all’amatriciana,” it’s pretty much everything q.b., random, as much as you like, and so on. Contrary, in the States, it’s pretty much one tablespoon of oil for the pan, two pieces of bacon – we’d say more or less, as much bacon as you have in the fridge, my Granma’d say “yeah, more or less, one egg, two eggs, it depends! I’m used to saying two or three tablespoons of something, Italians soon understand it, here they would ask me “two or three?!”: q.b. vs tablespoon! Also, in Italy we have a theory of not wasting anything, everything is “recycled.”

    9. Italian-American food vs Italian food, can you explain the differences?

My relation with the Italian-American food, changed a lot during the years. At first, it was negative: what I used to say was “I don’t care – this is not Italian!”. Then, I understood and learned the reasons why it was like this! “Why Italians and the Italian-American changed the food so badly?”: I found out that the origins of all these meals are actually Italian. At the end of 19th century and at beginning of the 20th century, Italians who came to the States wanted to recreate their own meals but without the same ingredients that actually were too hard to get at the time – some of them are still hard to find nowadays. “Bisogna saper fare di necessità, when_life_gives_you_lemons_make_lemonade_postcard-r0458c383a7974c369e203734605759ea_vgbaq_8byvr_324virtù” (Necessity is the mother of invention or when life gives you lemons, make a lemonade)! I started understanding these meals, I still don’t like them because I’m not used to them. But I also found out that in some part of Italy people use different ingredients than I’m used to. So, it’s just a matter of culinary contamination and a lack of original ingredients.

The only thing I’m actually sorry about is that Italian-Americans are kind of stuck in the past, I respect their meals but why don’t they modify it a little bit? Make them better? Evolve them in a sense? People like them though! So if you like something why do you have to change it? I’m sorry that other people think and associate those meals with Italy/Italians. On the other hand, things are changing nowadays according to – real – Italian food or meals. More people, now, know that there’s a distinction between Italian and Italian-American meals – they know that spaghetti meatballs are a stereotype!

    10. I know but let’s be formal: Do you like cooking? If yes, can you give the readers one last ultimate tip?

There’s a lack of curiosity, of willingness to try: “if it’s not chicken, I’m not gonna taste it!” – it’s still good, try it!

So, guys: Try, Explore, and be Curious!

And that’s almost it! I had to cut a lot of questions and answers because of the length of the interview but I think that as a first approach to a general overview of the two different cultures, this is pretty exhaustive!

FYI, soon I’ll post a video-interview about Americans who lived in Italy for a long time and of course their reaction … just to have a wider point of view on the matter! 😉

A presto!

The Truth behind Alfredo …

The real Italian Fettuccine alla Alfredo
The real Italian Fettuccine alla Alfredo

Alfredo Sauce, fettuccine Alfredo, and everything that follows or precedes the word Alfredo are all things that Italians don’t even know. So why is it such a huge deal here in the States?!

Well, let’s start with a bit of history: 1914 Rome, Alfredo Di Lelio used to make his typical “fettucine”, called by himself “bionde” – blondes, because of the color of the cooked and served meal. They were more butterish and cheesy (of course Parmesan cheesy) than the usual “fettuccine al burro” because, as my beloved queen Sonia says in her Giallo Zafferano, his wife lost appetite during labor so he had to come up with something that she would have eaten, and it worked. She, then, asked Alfredo to put this recipe on the menu and that made him so famous because few years later in 1920 a just-married couple who were spending their honeymoon in Rome, decided to go to see what was that kind of pasta everybody was talking about. Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, the famous Hollywood actors, then, were so impressed by the “bionde” that they gave Alfredo as present a pair of golden silverware. From that moment onward, once the couple was back in LA, everybody knew about this extraordinary recipe.

In Italy or better in Rome, Alfredo grew more and more famous and famous creating also a real Alfredo’s Dynasty (Alfredo, Alfredo II and Alfredo III), but actually nowadays if you’re not from Rome, you probably never heard of “Bionde” or “Fettuccicne alla Alfredo”. Most of Alfredo’s clients are – not shocking at all – Americans. Over the years, the recipe’s been shaped into an Americanized version of what it was at the beginning.

[This is the real Alfredo restaurant in Rome. FYI there’s no such video in Italian.]

In the States, this meal became easily and quickly the best thing people could have dreamed of! But, of course, it had to be changed, or as I say, “it had to be messed up by Americans putting random ingredients into meals that do not deserve this brutality” – mostly because Alfredo sauce became a convenience food in many grocery stores: unlike the original preparation, which is thickened only by original Parmesan cheese, the prepared food and fast food versions are thickened with eggs, starch, and worst of all sour cream – not to talk about the way the pasta is cooked!

But don’t worry, Italians are here to save you! Thankfully, we have the perfect recipe both from the original Alfredo (which I do not recommend because of the Americanization mentioned above) and from our Savior and Queen Sonia who has the perfect recipe for everything – yeah it is in Italian but who hasn’t a friend that can at least translate a recipe? We all have one!

Remember that the ingredients are (/must be) easy and genuine. You can, of course, use something to flavor them, but usually it is either pepper or nutmeg which gave them a “fancy” taste!

Be careful, though, that cuisine purists in Italy will tell you that:

Seasoning the pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese is allowed only in the following situations: if you have stomach pain, if you are in hospital, if your fridge is empty or if there’s also sage and you’re eating tortellini.

Prima Cena della Casa Italiana

Ciao a Tutti!!!

All together! #SelfieTime
All together! #SelfieTime

Friday Evening – for me 5 PM is afternoon but that doesn’t concern us today – the Italian House had its first “Cena Italiana” (Italian Dinner) – it was A-MA-ZING! A little context: The Italian House is actually the Romance Language House where 20 students plus 5 TAs (the Spanish, the Argentinian, the French, the Portuguese from Brazil, and of course the Italian) live; the students who live here with us study one (or more) of our languages and we all try our best to speak in our languages, have fun together and plan culture events with them – it is so funny when in the morning we meet in the bathroom and I see the efforts the make to speak Italian with me, they rather prefer not to come to bathroom at all! So, the Italian part of the house consists of 5 students (Natalie, Sara, Taylor, Stefano, and John) and me; and as I was saying Friday “evening” we had dinner together, also with Prof. Trazzi and Prof. Masini.

Directions from Prof. Trazzi, Natalie taking mental notes and Prof. Masini singing Laura Pausini
Directions from Prof. Trazzi, Natalie taking mental notes and Prof. Masini singing Laura Pausini

We gather in the kitchen and Prof. Trazzi started explaining what we had to do and prepare, he is the Kitchen Boss. But first, I had to put some Italian music – I’m not such an expert or enthusiastic of Italian songs but when you are abroad you easily become one – in the background, you always have music or a TV on in the kitchen – it creates the atmosphere!

Now we all had our roles and things to do, well some of us had to

The Players
The Players

experience the role of those who just wait while the others work, yeah there’s always someone who just “gioca a carte” (plays cards), plays with some board games, or entertains the others with magic tricks – it’s the hardest role but somebody has to do it!

After almost an hour and half the food was finally ready – we have been really quick, it takes more time usually! “Tutti a tavola” (which is the typical expression mothers or those who cook say to gather everybody at the table to start eating … it’s “let’s sit and eat” time now)!!!

Tutti a Tavola!

When we were ready to eat, Taylor said that she never tasted “il tartufo” (truffle) so we had to record her first time and of course she loved it! So, after this “moving” scene, we start eating two types of Risotto, “Risotto allo Zafferano” and “Risotto ai Funghi e Tartufo” – delicious!!! Oh, I was forgetting that while we were preparing, we have to “spizzicare qua e la” (to nibble here and there), that’s why Italians created “gli Antipasti”: we had “olive speziate (Prof.Trazzi’s personal recipe) con un filo di olio extravergine d’oliva” and “grissini” which “non possono mai mancare” (they are always there, every lunch or dinner together with bread … we didn’t have bread though, but we will one day)!

Chocolate Budino!

It wasn’t a typical huge Italian dinner with many courses but still it was enough! Oh well, there was one thing that we all were waiting for … “il Budino”! The night before, Thursday, Natalie and I prepared a dessert similar to the US pudding (or course budino is way better), dark Italian chocolate Budino! Then we put it in the fridge and the following day we ate it with so much pleasure (even if some of us were full, there is always room for the cake)!

We had so much fun! It was beautiful, as if we just went back to Italy for one night. The music, the food, the language we were speaking: the whole atmosphere was so perfecthumb_IMG_7078_1024t!

Of course, we had “caffè” (espresso). Italians need it!

The next day, we had to “fare il bis” (do it again), as if we couldn’t just go back to the American food after the dinner of the previous night, we had to do it gradually. So, Natalie, Taylor, and I just cooked some “pasta con sugo al

Taylor and I eating some Baci Perugina as a reward after washing the dishes!
Taylor and I eating some Baci Perugina as a reward after washing the dishes!

pomodoro e zucchine” (tomato sauce with zucchini), prepared a “macedonia” (fruit salad) and we had to finish the budino!!!

This is it! Nothing really big but still something so special.

A presto!