Friday, September 25, 2015

VeganMoFo Day 25: All Italian, All the Time / Tutto Italiano, Per Sempre

Today's MoFo Prompt: "Share Your Favorite Cuisine"

Does it really surprise anyone that my favorite cuisine is Italian food? Already this mofo month I've made pizzas and tomato tarts and eggplant parm and pasta, and so on and so forth. I'm not of Italian heritage, but Italy is very dear to my heart. I first fell in love with Italy at age 16. I spent my junior year of college there, I've gone back many times. I even speak passable Italian. Whenever I ad-lib in the kitchen, I fall back on Italian flavors because I understand them the best and I feel very at home in that flavor range.

So, to celebrate my affection for the glories of Italian food, which are nearly infinite, I invited my parents over for some Italian yums.

First I made a batch of bruschetta, which is a family favorite. I sprayed my bread slices with olive oil and then grilled them lightly on the grill. Next, I took a raw garlic clove and rubbed it on the toasted bread, and then sprinkled on a little salt. This is how I learned to do it from my friend Veronica's father. I was 18 or 19 then, visiting two friends who I had met when they were exchange students in Santa Cruz. Veronica's family took me with them on their family vacation to the seaside near Pisa. It was really great. We ate a lot of pizza and bruschetta, which was also great.

The dinner I prepared:
Bruschetta mixture, Puttenaio (Prostitute's Stew -- mmmm),
and Cannellini Beans with Sauteed Kale

The Bruschetta was just an ad-lib sorta thing, but the other two recipes were from Bryanna Clark Grogan's excellent book "Nonna's Italian Kitchen." Here's something I love about the flavors of Italian food - even two new-to-me recipes like these two will be instant favorites. You just can't go wrong with beans, fresh veggies, and simple herbs for seasoning.

all plated up

That Puttenaio is really just a bunch of veggies (including surprise potatoes!) cooked down into a glorious flavor-blend and texture-blend. Somehow it's very hearty and filling and substantive. The greens and kale dish came together in a jiffy and was a great combo with the other two dishes. I don't frequently make multi-dish dinners, but when I do, I love to have a variety of colors and textures and flavors. The stew was dense and rich and thick. The bruschetta were crispy with bright colors and the bright acid tang of fresh tomatoes, plus the smoky char of the grilled bread. And the kale & beans dish was deep green, a little earthy, with perfectly cooked greens that still had a little bite to them. Even for 3 dishes, this meal came together quickly and with ease.

Also, I got to use my special retro turquoise and gold Pyrex dinner plates. Yeah!


  1. Amey, the food you make always looks perfect! This looks so inviting, and wonderful <3

  2. Yum, how delicious and how incredible it must have been to spend a year there in college. I've only been once for a couple of weeks, but i do have my own little piece of Italy - one of my housemates is Italian and is working here as a gelati maker - half their flavours are vegan and he always keeps us stocked up with flavours like pineapple and lime and valrhona chocolate...mmmmm��

  3. I would love to stay in Italy for a good deal of time living like a local in the countryside somewhere. I've only ever been to Venice for about five days and loved it, hanging around the fresh produce markets and just taking it easy. Italian food is awesome :D

  4. Italian cuisine is so good. Your meal seemed great.


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