Ciao Bella!

italianWith the beginning of a new month, we are switching topics to Italy and all things Italian.  Of course, one of the things I love most about Italy (beyond its rich and ancient culture) is the food!  Italian food is probably the easiest to prepare and make.  Granted, some of the recipes I found in a recipe book I picked up in Florence, Italy (pictured) have you making the pasta from scratch!  Yeah…like who has time for that?!?!

I have an Italian market at the corner of my block…I can just buy the ingredients!

If you’re like most people, a plate of pasta is complete comfort food!  Believe it or not, nothing says comfort food to me like a plate of spaghetti with meat sauce.  In Italy, I discovered a different way of enjoying spaghetti with meat sauce.  I was introduced to tagliatelle alla bolognese.  It was a different kind of pasta noodle with the meat sauce I loved.  I scoured Florence for the noodles so I could bring them home.  I tried to conserve them as much as I could because I had no idea where I could find them.  Three months after my trip to Italy, an Italian market opened up and they carried every single ingredient I could possibly need in order to make all of the Italian dishes I fell in love with while I was in Italy.  All of the products were direct from Italy, so major score on my part.  {Thank you Roman gods!}

To start off this month’s topic, I made a plate of Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino (simply: spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes).  It’s a very tasty and easy dish to make.  I don’t think you get any more basic than this dish.

I like to make a huge pot of this dish as a basic meal.  During the week, I’ll add different things to it to complement a dish or make it a little heartier.

For last night’s dinner, I added shaved parmesan, peas and spinach (technically to sneak in some veggies).  It was so delicious!

One thing I learned after I came back from Italy: how to make pasta.  As in, read the directions on the side of the box to see how many minutes you should boil the pasta.  Don’t guess.  Just time it.  I’ve found that the time on the side of the box makes perfect pasta every single time.

As for what’s up for this weekend, I plan on making hamburgers for the 4th of July (something I never make) and then for dinner having a plate of Spaghetti alla puttanesca (another favorite delicious and easy dish to make).  Later this weekend, I’ll hit up the farmer’s market to pick up some eggplant, tomatoes and basil for another very simple recipe that one of the local farmers gave to me (his family recipe for eggplant parmesan).

Also on the menu (and to prep for meals for the week), I’ll be making zuppa toscana, linguine with clams (although, I may have that for dinner on the 4th instead of the puttanesca) and a crockpot version of pasta with ragu.  Recipes will be forthcoming on Monday.

This weekend, I’ll also be sharing pictures from my trek across Italy, as well as little tidbits about each city I visited.  My trek began in Venice and went as far south as Positano and then back up to Milan and Verona.  I have to say I learned a lot of things on this venture.  It became a bit of a spiritual journey, but we won’t be discussing any of that.

So stay tuned for this month’s adventure through the Italian culture.



About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth is the voice behind