La Bella Vita - Mostly
We’ve slid off the spatula of our searing African weather, into the low boil of Italian summer heat. After the abrupt shift to summer, we’re now getting the chance to become adjusted to our new life style. Which means we barely want to eat anything more than prosciutto and melon, or gazpacho. Gazpacho with caviar. Cucumber & pistachio gazpacho.
As part of the “Italian Cuisine in the World Forum”, Academia Barilla hosted a World Pasta Championship at their beautiful campus in Parma. You have to love a town where the directions to the Academia are, “Follow along the Strada del Parmigiano…”
I’ve been thinking about recipes.
And I’ve been wondering, how do you use a cookbook? Do you use it like a bible? Do you read it like a detective novel? Are you a voyeur?
I swear I’m not trying to rub it in, but unless you are in central Italy, right now, and unless it rains again, you probably won’t be able to taste the elusive prugnolo mushroom.
There is a prugnolo cult in Umbria. Small signs pop up on restaurant windows simply announcing ‘prugnolo’. Nothing more. No dish is mentioned, no hint that it’s a spring mushroom; it’s an insider thing. That would be an insider who is willing to pay for her pleasure.
Like a marriage between a nobleman and a peasant, elegant saffron marries with the humble celery leaf, creating a bit of risotto magic.
Shall we yank back the misty veils of history, and get real?
I’m standing in our orto where most of the celery had wintered over and is now very robust. Which meant, I better chop some of this down and start using it!