Simply Italian

September 3, 2010 § 3 Comments

One year ago my husband and I were celebrating our 15 year wedding anniversary in Tuscany.  What I remember the most, besides being with my hubby of course, was the AMAZING food.  Really amazing food.  Starting with breakfast.

A grilled piece of bread, a spoonful of pesto sauce and a fried egg on top.  I would never fry my egg in olive oil at home.  I use cooking spray to save on calories.  But let me tell you, the oil makes for a crispy edge.  The pesto sauce that we bought at the grocery store was a simple and tasty addition.

Then there was the chocolate filled croissants from dinner the previous night.  They came to our table straight from the oven at 1 am.  There is nothing like a fresh and flaky croissant, except for one filled with chocolate.

LUNCH

Seriously.  This sandwich was on whole grain bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato and olive oil.  And I wasn’t able to get a picture of the fagioli soup.  Tomato base with lots of cannellini beans and garlic and a crisp glass of white wine. Perfect.

What made this salad so special was the corn and tomato combination.  Fresh and simple.  And when the server took my order, she didn’t offer me a list of dressing choices.  In fact there was no choice.  She just brought me a carafe of balsamic vinegar and one of olive oil.  Who wants to cover up this flavor with creamy ranch dressing?

Ahh, prosciutto.  Salty, creamy just perfect for this opened faced sandwich or any sandwich for that matter.

PIZZA

Ok here is where I confess that I am a pizza snob.  Wait let me rephrase that, I am particular about the kind of pizza I like.  Pretty simple really.  Thin crust, tomato sauce – no sugar, mozzarella cheese.  I found so many pizzas that met this criteria.  But this one was by far the best.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture and I am not a huge fan of sausage.  But the memory of this pizza lingers on.

DINNER

So many unbelievable dinners.  The time we went to the seafood restaurant in Livorno and sat with the chef and talked politics.  We had a whole fish cooked with chopped vegetables and potatoes.  Then there was the steak from the restaurant in town.  My husband and I have stayed away from red meat for almost two years but I had to try this dish when it came out.  There was the manta ray and squid too, maybe something I don’t really want to remember.

But the ones that I do want to remember are the most delicate gnocchis in a 3 cheese sauce.  They were little pillows of potato that melted in your mouth.

The Volcano salad with ham, carmelized onion and dijon mustard.  Salty, sweet and tangy.  Yumm. Oh and there are more gnocchis too.

And the tuna with crispy leeks.  I don’t really remember the taste of the tuna but I dream about those crispy leeks.  Divine.

DESSERT

A peach tart.  Enough said.

And of course gelato.  I stuck with the hazelnut but Bobby tried some interesting flavors.  We even did a taste test of two places in one day.  Although we are enjoying trying out the gelato places that are popping up around us, nothing compares to the original.

COFFEE

In little white cups. With hearts in the foam.  Just a smidge of sugar.  It’s funny that we would have a cup after almost every meal.  And here at home I’ve had maybe one cappuccino all year.  It must be the atmosphere.  I even enjoyed the thick, strong coffee we would make back at the house we were staying in.

So for this coming week, and in celebration of our anniversary, I will be adding of few of these recipes into my menu.  I want to bring back the simple flavors and remember those things that we loved.  I’ll be sharing my recipes here.  Till then.

Salute

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