Cena di Domenica

Let me start by saying that this title might be grammatically incorrect.  Surprisingly, being in Italy has yielded little opportunity to learn Italian.  However, I might leave fluent in French.  Today I spent the majority of the day reading reports in French, who knew I still can read it… but google translate helps… On to Sunday… Domenica!

A new tradition has started.  Well, at least, I hope it’ll catch on.  Inspired by the Biscotti Queen and her family, the grad students and I have decided to start a Sunday Dinner tradition.

My roommate and I both love to cook.  So it sorta works out.  Plus, he’s Sicilian and doesn’t fool around.

Now this wasn’t your average Sunday Dinner.  It started around 3:00pm and ended around 8:00pm, and it was amazing.

It started with an unorthodox, antipasti.  Not meats.  Instead, cream puffs.

Nancy and I love sugar and she stopped at a bakery before arriving.  They were amazing! Some were filled with lemon cream and others with a chocolate cream.

To die for.  So while Nancy and I munched on cream puffs and waited for the others to arrive, Joe started making primo piatto.

Once Lis, Kyla and her friend Giuseppe arrived.  We were ready.

Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare

Delicious!

After some sitting and chatting, I made secondo piatto.  It ended up being some strange version of saltimbocca. Thinly pounded chicken breast, rolled with prosciutto and sage, cooked in a butter wine sauce.

Not bad.  For contorno, rosemary roasted potatoes.

 

Nancy and Lis both brought dessert.  However, I only remembered to photograph what Nancy brought (other than the cream puffs):

Some sort of delicious crostata! I was pleased.

After dessert and coffee, we were sufficiently full and basically ready for the night to be over.

Next time, I want to make primo and leave the meat making to someone who knows what he’s doing.

Valentine’s Day

Forget the pink and red.

Today has been all about green.

Pasta e fagoli con pesto e rucola

Translation: Pasta with cannelini beans and pesto with arugula

It was delicious, but honestly, it’s been a rough day.

I really wanted gelato.  Not far from my house is a gelateria… why not?

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Roma, Roma, Roma

Apparently, soccer football is a big deal around these parts.  So when some fellow interns asked if I wanted to go to a soccer football game, I couldn’t say no.

Roma vs. Napoli

Sounded great!  Then I found out we were sitting in the “fan section” and I was overly worried, because everyone told me the Roma fans are CRAZYYYYYY.

 

In reality, it wasn’t bad.  Not nearly as much shoving and hooligan-ing as I imagined.  But that probably had to do with the fact that Roma lost and did not score once.  Boo.

But I had fun with some new friends, a new scarf and some Birra.

I promise I'm not actually drunk. This is just a bad (but the only) photo of me

 

For next time, I’ll make sure I’ve learned all the words to this song:

 

 

Pasta alla Puttanesca

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I’ve never been a big fan of pasta.

It just was never that exciting.  UNLucky for me, I’m spending the next few months in the land of pasta.

But as the saying goes… When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

So I’m trying, and here’s my experiment.  Pasta alla Puttanesca, which I guess literally means “whore style pasta.” It’s not a Roman recipe originally, and I like to think I’m not a whore, but why not give it a shot.  While I’ve never been a big fan of pasta, I’ve always loved sauce (or “gravy” as they call it on The Sopranos) and more importantly I love olives.

I have no idea if this recipe is anywhere nearing authentic, but I read the basic ingredients of Pasta alla Puttanesca, took a quick trip to the grocery store and came up with this:

To be honest, it was delicious. And to be even more honest, I didn’t measure these things.  So these are estimates of how much I used.  If you give it a try, add stuff and keep tasting and adding more until you like the flavor.  After all, who cares about authenticity if it doesn’t taste good to you? (At least in your own home)

Puttanesca (ish) Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced (apparently the original version doesn’t include onions)
2 gloves of garlic, minced
2 cups tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried basil
1 cup sliced olives
3 tbsp capers
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful of fresh italian parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a large pot, add onions and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add tomato puree, tomato paste, basil, olives, capers, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes, then stir in parsley.  Simmer for another 15 minutes or so, really the longer you simmer it the better.  If your sauce is too thick, add a bit of water.

Serve over pasta and enjoy!

And enjoy I did, standing at my window, admiring the view

Off to Florence for the weekend!  Be back with pictures!

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

Food and the Pope

This weekend was full of food.  All delicious of course.

Friday night dinner with Nancy and my apartmentmate, Joe.

I had Rigatoni al Agnello

and Artichokes

I ate meat.  It was delicious.  I don’t really feel bad.  I have no intention of turning into a carnivore but I love lamb.  And honestly, when in Rome…

Then the next day, Nancy

Kyla

and I walked around Trastevere.  It was lovely!  Great view!

Along the way we stopped for lunch.

Pomodori e mozzarella

In America we have ketchup and mustard in packets on every table.  In Italy, they have olive oil and balsamic vinegar in packets.

A much better choice if you ask me.

Later that night, we had a gathering at our apartment.

Lots of cheese!  and wine…

Delicious!

Then this morning, Nancy and I headed to the Vatican with the intention of going to the Vatican Museum (since it’s free the last Sunday of every month).

Instead, we hung out with the Pope

There he is!

After some more walking around and lunch, I headed home and took a nap.   I woke up with a sore throat.

Please don’t let me get sick!  My internship needs to start ASAP!

Figuring Things Out

So I’ve been in Rome 4 days.  But here are a few things I’ve learned.

1.  Supermarkets are expensive.  Fruits and Vegetables are much cheaper at the market at San Giovanni di Dio.

All this fruit for less than 2€!  Plus some sort of weird cabbage/kale looking thing and a lovely eggplant.

2.  Don’t try to walk home from San Giovanni di Dio without consulting a map.  I got lost, blisters ensued, I ended up just getting on the tram after an Italian woman gave me directions and scolded me for getting lost.

3.  Walk like you know where you’re going and people think you actually you know where you’re going.  I’ve been asked for directions at least 5 times in the past 3 days, to which I reply “Io non parlo italiano.”  Then they look at me disappointed and walk away.

4.  Crossing any of streets in the rotunda

in front of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele

is scary as hell!  You kinda just have to walk whenever there’s the slightest gap between cars and hope the on-coming traffic stops.   Certainly not as pleasant as seen in Roman Holiday:

I feel like when I comfortably cross that street, I’ll know I’m comfortable in Rome.

5.  Today I went to get a medical certificate.  Because I can walk quickly, the doctor knew I was fit to start my internship.  Great!

6. How to use public transportation.  Well, sorta, I got the tram down.  Next, the bus…

7.  Coffee first thing in the morning is amazing.

I broke down and bought a coffeemaker (moka) at the market yesterday.  12.50€ I’ll take it!

Things I still need to figure out:

1.  How the heck do you make it from 1-2pm lunch to 9-10pm dinner without gnawing  your arm off?

2.  How to pronounce things in Italian.    Daniele, we may have to have a video chat date so you can teach me how to properly say guanciale.  Yes, I have carbonara and amatriciana on the brain!

3.  How to actually speak Italian.  Work in progress.

Toaster

Who doesn’t love toast?

Luckily, I have a toaster in my apartment.

Looks normal right?  Well I spent the better part of 10 minutes figuring out how it works.  I pushed down, pulled, turned nobs.  Finally I figured out how easy it is.  Slip the toast in, turn the dial and when it’s done, pull it out.

I could have sworn I bought some jam, but apparently I didn’t.  So instead I had cheese on my toast with a side of yogurt and green tea. I don’t know if I was just hungry, but this cheese tasted amazing!

Strangely enough we don’t have a coffee maker.  As much as I love coffee, this just means I have to go to a bar/caffe to get coffee.  I’ll survive.

After a getting ready and going to the Cornell in Rome campus to print some internship stuff, I decided to wander.

I walked around aimlessly, and it was great.

After a while, I picked up some lunch:

and sat in a piazza to enjoy.

Great view, right?

The did some more wandering.

 

Finally, when a borderline creepy Italian man hit on me, I decided I was tired and headed home.

Now, I’m going to do more internship prep to see how soon I can start!

 

In Rome!

A lot has happened in the past few weeks.

Sunday, January 16th, 1:00pm: Leave Ithaca

Monday, January 17th, 4:30pm:  Left NYC for Florida.

Tuesday, January 18th, 12:30pm: Arrive in Orlando.  My brother and I drove all night, we made it pretty fast.

Thursday, January 20th, 11:00am: Drive down to South Florida.

Saturday, January 22nd, 2:00pm: My cousin got married!  The wedding was lovely!

Monday, January 24th, 11:15am: Leave Miami to Newark.

Monday, January 24th, 5:30pm: Newark to Rome.

Tuesday, January 25th, 7:50am: Land in Rome, gather luggage, pay 65 Euro to get to my apartment.

Living Room

Kitchen (with a washing machine in it)

Bathroom (with a bidet)

 

My bedroom (with one occupant, two beds and a big mess to unpack)

Tuesday, January 25th, 10:00am: Plug in my surge protector and the power went out.  My apartmentmate must hate me.

Tuesday, January 25th, 11:00am: Long nap.  Then wander around to find groceries.

I paid 15 Euro for 6 eggs, 2 yogurts, 1 loaf of bread, a block of cheese, a jar of strawberry jam, a premade salad, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  I have no idea if that’s a lot.

Off to my first class!