Saturday, October 11, 2008

Comfort Food and Cioccolato de Amaro

The day was spent in the gardens of the riche and
the super duper riche! We wandered through the
Boboli Gardens with it's terraces, fountains, big heads and large marble discs and enjoy the quiet and the amazing views. After days pounding the uneven pavers of Florence, the pea gravel pathways climbing over a mountain that you don't even see from the streets of the city was a respite from racing Vespas, the milleu of taxis and their horns and the uber- narrow sidewalks.
(Not that I don't love every little detail about Italy, honking horns included, it was just a nice break!)
There is a new private garden that has been added to the Boboli tour and while it is very elegant you can truly see the difference between what was once a private garden for some very, very comfortable Fiorentines compared to the acres of gardens, the miles of arbored walkways and the collection of statues that the regal owners of the Boboli created over the last millenia plus. And the views not bad from either place!
This photo shows Bruneschelli's gorgeous dome, I'm actually hoping to get a chance to walk to the top of it later next week. I post a photo of the reverse view of the Boboli from there!
(I have NO idea what that underline means or where it came from, huh?)
The weather has been magical, we've enjoyed the bluest possible skies and comfortable temperatures. Tonight after dinner, we walked to the piazza at Santa Spirito to find a gelato place we had read about.... oh my! I had a small cup with 3 flavors, limone, currant and the Cioccolato di Amaro which simply mean Dark Bittersweet Chocolate and how! It almost looked like licorice in the gelato case, but it was like eating truffle centers - like the best dark truffle centers you've ever tasted. It was fantastic!
And the Limone and Currant were exceptional as well, but I'll be going back for the Amaro!!
Dinner - which was enjoyed by all before the late night walk for Gelato was my favorite comfort food - Pasta Carbonara made with Egg Fettuccine, fresh basil, Marconi peppers, capers and lots of shallots.
Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dentè, drain, toss with some olive oil and cracked pepper. Cover and set aside.
Sautè the shallots in a bit of olive oil in a very hot pan. Add 2 cups of julienned peppers, cook until tender, add 4 oz. shredded Proscuitto ham, 2 T. of capers and just toss to evenly warm.
Put the pasta pan back on the
burner, add 1/2 c. cream and 3 whipped eggs. Add the peppers and proscuitto and toss until the eggs are cooked. Serve with lots of fresh chopped basil and grated Pecorino Romano. Serve with crusty bread and extra olive oil of course and save room for a little gelato!

This giant disc of silky smooth marble in the Boboli gardens called to us from across the way while we were walking through a magical forest.
I felt SO GOOD to lay back against that cool marble!!

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