Buona Domenica con gli Gnocchi di Patate alla Scrofa Azzurra

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. After so many months of forced Social Distancing, pasteurized Zoom meetings, dearth of basic human interaction like shaking hands or getting a palm on your back, we are more than ready for “adventurous forays”, even if it is still confined to our imagination. One of the best memories of our educational background is when we lived in our relative’s home in San Donà di Piave and we regularly travelled by train to the Università di Padova to study for our Doctorate in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. Great, exciting times indeed.

One of the characteristic dishes prepared by the local chefs was, and still is, the pasta patavina, which adds potatoes of various kinds to the classic preparation’ it might sound like a redundancy of carbohydrates but, trust us, it is a completely new and delicious way to savor the Chinese invention.

Perhaps the very best architectural-artistic building of the city is the chapel that Giotto decorated for the powerful Scrovegni family of merchants, depicting the Life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Hailed as one most beautiful artworks of the Early Renaissance, the Scrovegni Chapel was built between the years 1302 and 1305 and was initially meant to be the family’s personal lieu of prayer. And this rich family had a lot to pray for. Amongst their myriad businesses they were money lenders with terms of scandalous usury to the population and powerful of the city; the lelder Scrovegni became famous all over the peninsula and Dante Alighieri placed him right in the middle of Hell. In order to atone for his father’s sin and plead for his eventual relocation to Heaven, or at least the waiting station of Limbo, Enrico, his son, paid a fortune to Giotto in order to decorate this chapel. What was the heraldic coat of arms of this powerful family?  La Scrofa Azzurra (the blue sow)

But there is very personal undertone to this story. In one of our many visits to the chapel, we came across perhaps one of the most beautiful and intelligent women we ever met. Withholding her real name for privacy reasons, we can tell you that she was a visiting German graduate student, staying for a few weeks for her thesis. We had one of the most passionate love affairs you can imagine. Sadly, the blonde walkyrie finally opted to return to her hometown where her boyfriend awaited her. However, we harbor the silly illusion that, in a return visit there, we will meet again and get married. Pour quoi pas?

Enough with melancholic memories and let us start cooking. You can use any kind of cooked pork. But we got a grilled smoked pig leg (lacón) from El Rincón Asturiano, in the city’s West Brickell area.

We skinned the leg, carefully taking off all the excess fat, just preserving a little bit to jazz it all up.

Then we prepared some thinly sliced sautée potatoes, red and green peppers plus some onions.

With the addition of a can of San Marzano tomatoes, we are ready to mix all the above together.

First put a thin coat of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the casserole, add the tomatoes and stir for 10 minutes. In the second stage, season with a little bit of salt and pepper with plenty of oregano. After cooking at a medium level, put all the mix. Stir for 5 minutes, turn the heat off with the lid back on.

When you are ready to have dinner, boil the potato gnocchi for a few minutes. Serve it hot. Voilà!

Closing our eyes, we picture ourselves escaping with our Dearest Fräulein (and newly wed bride) to a quaint little resort in the Caribbean;  we’ll spend hours lounging on the beach and cooking for her. 

Her favorite drink was (and surely still is) the Mionetto Prosecco. Ready for our über-romantic dinner.

Gutten Appetit!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Buona Domenica con gli Tortelloni di Formaggio alla Dotta Pellegrina

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday to you all. Yesterday we started reviewing the hopefully final Galley Proofs of our upcoming book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague. We must admit that. for the first time in many months of work, we glimpsed at how this book should look like. Your waiting time has shortened because after carefully reviewing this, page by page, we will approve it for publication, which should happen in the first half of May, according to the publisher.

In order to celebrate we prepared a pasta dish with cheese Tortelloni in a Dotta Pellegrina sauce.

As always, you are cordially invited to share our humble table for buon cibo ed molti converzazione.

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Buona domenica con gli tortelloni alla Dotta Pellegrina

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. Today we made a little break in our exhaustive review of the galley proofs of our upcoming new book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague and decided to dabble briefly in the kitchen to prepare a delicious filled pasta with a tomato-pesto-Alfredo sauce. We chose some tortellonis filled with salsiccia dolce and a mix of a Bolognese sauce and pesto-Alfredo with veggies and turkey meat. We hereby show you all the basic ingredients for it. For expediency we got a ready Pesto Alfredo sauce but we promise to show you how to do it.

Why did we name it as a Dotta Pellegrina sauce? We already know form previous postings that the Bolognese sauce was invented in Bologna, an ancient university town that is known as La Dotta (the doctoral one) in Italy. And the turkey meat was the blessed fare that the Pilgrims that landed in Massachusetts received form Indian tribes, which saved their lives in a cold winter. That is the base of our upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, the most national of all our feasts.

We will refer you back to a past posting for the step by step preparation of a Bolognese sauce.

Do you like the looks of it? Well, after a little pause, we will cook the pasta and mix it all together.

In the middle of all we put its crowning achievement: a ball of burrata cheese with black truffles.

Let’s take a closer look at our dish to find out if it might meet your exacting culinary standards. And now we turn the heat at medium intensity, we slice a cross in the burrata cheese and mix it.

The final result looks like this. Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served. Would you care to join us?

Buon apetitto!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Buona domenica con una spaghetatta ed salmone alla Benedetti

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. Today is the centennial of the birth of Mario Benedetti, a great Uruguayan writer, whom we always admired for his straightforward and entertaining prose about the vicissitudes of middle class residents of Montevideo (something we can identify with)  He was a second generation descendant of the poor Italian immigrants that landed in Uruguay. His compilation of short stories Montevideanos has a flair reminiscent of James Joyce’s Dubliners. His novel La Tregua is the happy-sad account of a middle aged man that discovers Love a little bit late. His complete name was Mario Orlando Hardy Hamlet Brenno Benedetti Farrugia. Salve!

In honor of his contribution to the literary accomplishments of Latin American writers, we are preparing a pasta dish with salmon steaks in a Bechamel sauce with blue cheese and almonds. To prepare that succulent variant of a traditional sauce, we are assembling the following elements.

1- Two salmon steaks  2 – A box of spaghetti  3 – Flour and unsalted butter  4 – Shaved almonds

Warning. Be careful with the freshly caught salmon as it has fish bones, unlike the farm-raised.

You can use almost any mix of seasoning but these are our favorites. And absolutely no salt.

We have recently bought a Nuwave Brio air fryer, oven and grill, which has simplified our regular cooking and at the same time avoid the use of animal or vegetable oils, except for seasoning.

Warning. Once the machine is on, you cannot touch any interior surface with your bare hands.

After approximately 7- 8 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 205 degrees Celsius, it is done. Always check that the interior is also done yet juicy by cutting a little triangle in one of the sides.

Now it is time to prepare the Bechamel sauce (or Bechamela, as it was an Italian creation and those naughty French stole it) Do not despair. Just follow our steps and you will be fine.

First you have to create the base to build up the sauce, which is done with butter and flour.  Put a small square of good butter in a hot pan and wait until it completely melts away.

Slowly start adding one cup of flour (any good kind will do) and mix them to create a dry paste.

Once you create the paste, take it out of the pan and put it in a pot so you can add the liquid.

Add 2-3 cups of milk (depending on how thick you like your sauces) and start stirring. Stir!!!

See how the mixture is thickening? Slowly add the blue cheese and keep stirring to avoid lumps.

Then slowly add the shaved almonds (or whatever nut you have at home) and…Yes, keep stirring.

We like to add some nutmeg on top but if you do not, skip this step. Guess what? Keep stirring.

The sauce should be rather thick but never have any lumps. If it does, guess what? You got it!

Stir! Stir! Stir!

May we skip the part where we boil the pasta? Well, considering the laziness of modern women..

Ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served. Would you please join us at our humble yet warm table?

Buon appetito!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Salud Señora Sopa!

“Entre la sopa y el amor, la primera es la mejor.”

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. Today we woke up an irresistible urge to cook and eat (or drink, however you want to call it) a good peasant’s soup full of healthy potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and corn. Therefore we already laid out the battery of necessary ingredients, as you can see below.

As a carbohydrate base, we will use some semolina pasta like the Casarecce (small fucilli) Someone might point out that we are not using any kind of meat, note even some chicken. This has been done on purpose as our impoverished Basque and Italian ancestors were mostly poor field laborers and sheep herdsmen that could only afford it on special occasions like Christmas. Vegetarians by necessity, they always managed to compensate for the lack of animal proteins.

Commenting on our article about a luscious pasta dish with a Bechamel sauce that we posted last Sunday, our dearest friend Chrissie suggested that we should describe the recipe so some enthusiasts might follow our steps (why do women always ask you to work more, never less?) Your wishes are an order for moi, dear Chrissie, so we will post a few pictures of the process.

We will use the condiments pictured above, including the fabulous Moringa powder. which we have written about in a previous Wellness series’ article. In these difficult times, we need all the strength we can muster so we will use the Indian condiment that our dear daughter gave us.

We are going to post the picture first and then some accompanying yada-yada (not too much)

First boil some water in a pot (fill it at half capacity to allow the contents and steam’s expansion)  Drop the cube and start stirring; we always use two cubes to make the broth much stronger.

Stir. Stir. Stir. In order to avoid lumping and to maximize flavor, you got to have a strong biceps.

First drop the cut potatoes as they will take longer to cook. However, you must check that they are only half-cooked before you go the following step. We are not preparing a pureé here. We  recommend an 8-10 minutes cooking time; check the potatoes until you can half-pierce them.

Keep stirring. One, Two. One. Two. Don’t despair. Your family will thank you for the effort. Stir!

Now it’s time for all the veggies. Be careful. Do not cook for more than 5 minutes. Keep stirring.

Now it’s time for the booster that stopped the Macedonian Army of Alexander the Great in its march through Northern India (you didn’t check our article yet?) Put two big spoonfuls aprox.

Finally it’s time for the pasta. If you use a semolina variety, cook for at least 10 more minutes. Now it’s the time to use condiments to flavor the broth. Do not exaggerate with any of them.

After half an hour of toiling at the kitchen, we have our peasant soup. You can add a little dollop of rich parmesan cheese to counter the slight sourness of the Moringa. Voilà! Bon apétit!

 

We hope that our readers, and especially our beloved Chrissie, will be satisfied with this result.

Note. The expression in Castilian language at the top of the page means: “Between soup and love, the first one is the best.”

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

A hearty soup is the best defense against body invaders

Dear friends and fellow bloggers:

Good morning. On our family table (especially on the Italian branch) a dish of soup was always present, usually for consumption at the end of the meal for digestion purposes. When our grandmother or mother laid it on the table, we judiciously picked up the spoon and started eating it in silence. No complaints. No controversies. No fuzz.

We all grew up healthily and are now very grateful for the healthy eating habits that they instilled in all of us. We just prepared this peasant’s soup of casarecce pasta ( a smaller version of the fucilli) potatoes, veggies and corn.  As  a permissive allowance to our decadent spirits, we dropped a dollop of Parmesan cheese on top of it to jazz it all up.

A nutritious soup is the best culinary defense against any of the foreign invaders that threaten our bodies. As a physician we know that , besides the critically important drugs and procedures that Modern Medicine has to offer, a good diet is still of paramount importance to help the convalescence of sick patients and to ward off infections.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.