Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cooking with Simona

Simona demonstrating how to fold the egg whites into the sugar and yolk mixture for our tiramisu

Getting the basil ready to make pesto

Kendra--tagliatelle pasta maker extraordinaire!

Rotolini di zucchinie ricotta --thin strips of courgette marinated in olive oil and oregano, then rolled with a mixture of fresh ricotta cheese, basil, toasted pine nuts and lemon juice, with a drizzle of wonderful balsamic vinegar

Kendra preparing the stuffed zucchini flowers to deep fry in a light batter (see  below for finished product)

View of Umbrian countryside from Simona's patio

Finishing touches to the tagliatlelle with pesto and grilled cherry tomatoes

Simona's home (wood burning oven up the stairs)

Simona Fabrizio, Kendra and Cathy--after our dinner together
Everyone who loves food and comes to Italy should be as fortunate as we were today. Simona Fabrizio, a gracious host and superb cook, invited us into her charming country home for a cooking lesson.

She and her husband Nick bought a run down house in the countryside several years ago and have laboriously and lovingly transformed it into a wonderful and welcoming home. The couple share share their home and yards with an elderly dog (who turned up uninvited at their door several years ago and has become a part of the family)--along with two cats, some chickens and a goat. Along with a vegetable garden, they produce grapes and olives. When the grapes and olives are ready, they are taken to commercial facilities to be turned into splendid olive oil and delicious wine. Simona joked that once--and only once--she and Nick attempted to make their own wine, with disastrous results. "It was terrible," she joked.

Simona picked the three of us up at the bottom of the funicular in Orvieto and drove us to her home to begin the cooking lesson about 10:00 o'clock. Under her careful and patient guidance, we produced four delicious, authentic dishes: rotolini de zucchini e ricotta, lightly deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with bocconcini balls and anchovies, home made pasta with fresh pesto  sauce, and indescribably good tiramisu. As we cooked, we sampled a crisp asti spumante wine from the area. With our memorable meal we had a pleasant locally produced white wine.

Simona is a delightful lady who shares amusing stories about her experiences and is very interested in other people. Charming and friendly, she put us at ease and created a marvellous, unforgettable day.

We cannot wait to try out the dishes when we get back to Saskatchewan.

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