La Certosa di Padula

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la-certosa-di-padula-facciataIn August, I attended the Association of Italian Canadian Writers (AICW) 16th biennial conference ‘Italian Canadian Literature: Departures, Journeys, Destinations’ where I read my first short story in public.  38 speakers, AICW members and friends came from across Canada, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom.  The conference presentations were amazing and an anthology will be published next year.

View from Conference Room

View from Conference Room

The conference was held in Padula (Salerno, Campania) at La Certosa di Padula, a Carthusian Monastery built in 1306 and added onto over the next 450 years. Dedicated to San Lorenzo, the style is mostly Baroque and it is the largest monastery in Italia. Chiostro Grande is the largest cloister in the world, surrounded by 84 columns.  The place is huge with a total of 320 rooms! In 1998, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano and the archeological sites of Paestum and Velia.  I have now been to all of them except Velia.padulachiostro

The Certosa site is made up of spaces for contemplation -the cloisters, library and chapels, and spaces for work -the kitchen, cantina, laundry, stables and gardens.padulafrescocloister

While I was there, due to restoration work the upper floor was not accessible. This meant I was not able to see the monks’ cells or take the white marble scala elittico to the large biblioteca (library) which has a Maiolica tile floor from Vietri sul Mare and 2000 remaining manuscripts. I was also not able to see the last construction added to the site in 1799, the famous Scalone Elicoidale –an ornate double ramped, double helix shaped staircase in an octagonal tower with 8 large open windows overlooking a garden.  The Scalone spirals incorporating the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Section, which I find fascinating.  It connects the upper floor to the Chiostro Grande and was used by the cloistered monaci for their passeggiata settimanale –weekly walk. Being a lover of staircases, books and libraries, the closure was disappointing, but luckily there was still a lot left to see. padulasanlorenzoMost of the chapels are Baroque and very ornate, with the largest collection of Scagliola work found anywhere. Scagliola (sca·LYOH·lah) is a technique for painting stucco columns, sculptures, and other architectural features to look like inlays in marble and semi-precious stones, such as madre di perla. Those monaci were frugal and talented!  Now I know what to call the areas of my house that I have painted to look like Carrara marble!padulacucina2

The Monastery kitchen, renovated in 1742, could have been the perfect setting for ‘Masterchef: Medieval edition’. It is brightened by yellow and green Maiolica tiles which look completely out of place.  The colours were chosen to keep the flies away- at least that is what the guard told me!  padulacucinaThe most striking feature in the cucina is an enormous cappa or hood, on a furnace with an antique boiler and a base covered in maiolica tiles.  The inside of the cappa is blackened from hundreds of years of use.  Stone work tables are in place and on the back wall is a large fresco, painted in 1650, obscured by time and smoke.  This part of the cucina with its barrel vaulted ceiling used to be a rectory before the 1742 reno. The cucina has its own cloister and small garden, with the cantina and laundries next to it.

Chi lava i piatti?

Chi lava i piatti?

The monaci ate frugal, meatless meals in solitude in their cells, except during special occasions. The refettorio (rectory) hall with 61 stalls carved of walnut wood is where they sat at meal times on feast days and during Lent.  The 1749 fresco is of Le Nozze di CanarefettorioOccasionally the cucina was used to prepare rich meals for visits by important guests, most famously the one organized for Emperor Carlo V on his return from Tunisia in 1535.  The monaci prepared him a frittata with 1,000 eggs.  My first night in Padula, August 10th, was the annual Festa della Frittata di Mille Uova, recreating this event. The modern contraption used to make the frittata was made in 1996 and looks like a colossal pizzelle iron that flips over and rolls across a massive fire pit!  Unfortunately we don’t know what the monaci used to make their frittata.

Frittatta di mille uova making contraption!

Frittatta di mille uova making contraption!

In 1802, the monaci had to abandon La Certosa, and Napoleonic troops took away any treasures that were cartable. They returned a few years later, but abandoned La Certosa for the last time in 1866.  20 years later, it was declared a national monument. During the 2 World Wars the complex was mostly abandoned, being used briefly as a prison camp, and as a children’s holiday camp.  Padula received funds for restoration in 1982.view-from-hotel-certosa

Padula is a very nice town of 5,000. Getting there without your own car is extremely difficult.  Padula is on the A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria road, exit Buonabitacolo.  The closest train station is Sapri on the Cilento coast. There are a couple of buses a day from Napoli, which make stops in every town along the way. Although very out of the way, Padula is worth the detour!  The drive there from Paestum was stunning.  Admission to La Certosa di Padula is €4 for adults. Make sure you have at least 4 hours to visit. There are 2 very nice, affordable hotels in Padula, Grand Hotel Certosa and Villa Cosilinum. padula

Buon Viaggio!

L’Elefantino di Bernini

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berninielefantinoLast week, one of my favourite monuments in Roma was vandalized.  Gianlorenzo Bernini’s Elefantino had one of his zanne (tusks) broken off by unidentified vandals.  I think I called them ‘stronzi maleducati’ in my instagram post.  I was being polite.  A Spanish couple found the broken piece and reported it to the authorities.  The ‘stone surgeons’ have reattached the zanna (ZAHN·nah) and reinforced it with wooden splints.  A nice €2000 bit of plastic surgery. The process is shown in this video.  Along with everyone in Roma, I’m so glad my favourite little pachyderm is on the mend that I had to write a post about him.Elefantino

In 1665, the Dominican friars of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva found a 5.5 m Egyptian Obelisk while working in their garden.  It is one of 13 in Roma.  For some reason, Pope Alexander VII decided to install it in the Piazza outside the church, Piazza della Minerva. To design a base to support the obelisk, he had architects put in their proposals for the commission.  One of the Dominican friars, Domenico Paglia put in a horrendous proposal which involved mounting the obelisk on 6 small hills, with a dog at each corner.  The 6 hills are part of the Pope’s family coat of arms, and dogs the symbol of the Dominicans, referring to their fidelity.  The word Dominican comes from ‘Dominis canis’ meaning dogs of the Lord.piazzadellaminerva

Luckily, the Pope chose Bernini’s proposal to mount the obelisk on the back of an elephant, a symbol of strength.  Bernini was inspired by a woodcut in a 1499 book by Francesco Colonna.  Padre Paglia was very unhappy that his design was not chosen.  He convinced the Pope that Bernini’s design was flawed and would not be supportive unless a cube was sculpted under the elephant’s belly to support the obelisk.elefantino2

Bernini did not like this suggestion.  He wanted his elephant to stand on its four legs, but he had no choice in the matter.  He tried to hide the extra marble by adding an ornate, floor length gualdrappa or saddle blanket on the elephant’s back.  This had the effect of making him look pudgy and stout like a baby elephant rather than strong and fierce.  When the statue was installed in 1667, Romans referred to it as ‘Il Porcino della Minerva’ or ‘Minerva’s piglet’ because it had the dimensions of a maialetto more than an elephant.  This eventually morphed into ‘Pulcino’ or ‘Purcino’ which means chick in italiano and in dialetto Romano. Most monuments in Roma have a nickname.

Bernini did get revenge on Padre Paglia.  There is a reason Elefantino’s head is turned away from the church with a cute mischievous grin.  Bernini had the statue placed with its rear facing the Dominican monastery.  His muscles seem tensed and his tail is shifted to the left, exposing his bum as if he is about to drop a load!  Bernini was also protesting the way Galileo was treated here, where he was interrogated by the Inquisition in 1633. I don’t know if the second point is true or just Leggenda Metropolitana dell’ 700 – 17th Century urban legend!

View from the roof of Grande Hotel de la Minerve across the street. The black open door is the Dominican Headquarters.

View from the roof of Grande Hotel de la Minerve across the street. The black open door is the Dominican Headquarters.

elefantino3Piazza della Minerva is right behind the Pantheon.  L’Elefantino was also included in my post ‘Un giorno a Roma’. Ciao, Cristina

Italian Street Food Cookbook

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Italian Street Food by Paola BacchiaItalian Street Food: Recipes from Italy’s Bars and Hidden Laneways is finally available, and I just received my copy!  Some of you may remember in February I had the pleasure of being a ‘recipe tester’ for Paola Bacchia of Italy on my Mind for this book. I tested the recipe for Fiadoni Abbruzzesi which were squisito.  I have made them several times now and can’t wait to try more of the recipes.Fiadoni Abruzzesi

A country’s street food is usually reflective of its ‘real’ food…what people actually eat.  Paola draws on her own experiences growing up in an Italian family, and also her frequent ‘on site’ experiences travelling the back streets of Italian cities.  Many of the recipes are similar to things I grew up eating too.  Besides the yummy and genuine recipes, the book is visually stunning.  Most of the photos were taken by Paola.  The cover is not a teaser-the inside is just as beautiful.  Each recipe also comes with a story about the history of the food and Paola’s personal experience with where she tasted it. I know some of you are drooling and jealous reading this, but you can order your own copy from Amazon.

Paola is Italoaustraliana, living in Melbourne and her roots are in the Veneto and Istria.  She teaches cooking classes in Melbourne and is a guest instructor at the  Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicilia.  Her blog was voted best food blog twice in the ITALY magazine blog awards.  Cool fact-Paola was also a contestant on Masterchef Australia! Buon Appetito, Cristina

Muscitaglia

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muscitaglia2016

Muscitaglia (moo•shee•TAH•lyah) is a traditional dish served on November 1st in Orsara di Puglia. It probably dates back from the ancient Greeks and Byzantines. Muscitaglia, in both Greek and Latin is made up of the words mosto (wine must) and talia (grain). The ingredients include boiled grain and vino cotto, which is actually mosto cotto- boiled down grape must which becomes a thick, sweet liquid. Pomegranate seeds and walnut pieces are also added when available. These  ingredients are simple and symbolic of fertility and abundance, but also of honour and respect for the dead.

November 1st is the night of Tutti i Santi (All Saints), a night which provides the opportunity to reconnect and pay respects to deceased loved ones.  My post on the ancient festival Fucacoste e Cocce Priatorje which takes place in Orsara di Puglia has more information on the traditions and festivities.

Muscitaglia

Muscitaglia

Watch the video ‘#quinonèhalloween’ featuring recently deceased Zi’ Gaetan talking about Fucacoste e Cocce Priatorje and its significance.   I’m sure a few homes in Orsara will put out a chair tonight for Zi’ Gaetan so he can rest on his way to Paradiso.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W5RD0-9H-A

Read about tonight’s festa (in Italiano) on the Comune di Orsara di Puglia website.  For more about Orsara di Puglia, check out ‘Benvenuti ad Orsara di Puglia’.  Ci vediamo alla festa!  Cristinamuscitaglia3

Polignano a Mare

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spiaggia-lama-monachile-polignanoPolignano a Mare sits atop limestone cliffs on the Adriatic coast just south of Bari.  From the white-washed Centro Storico with narrow, winding cobblestone streets, the crystal clear water, and 3 terrazze with views of the sea, everywhere you look, there are panorami mozzafiato (pah·noh·RAH·mee moz∙zah∙FYAH∙toh)-breathtaking views.  There is even a restaurant in a grotta, one of the caves overlooking the sea, the Grotta Palazzese.  Polignano was the ancient Greek city of Neapolis, founded in the 4th Century BC.  It was prosperous under the Romans too, because Ponte Lama Monachile, the Roman bridge, is right on the ancient Via Traiana.  This was an extension of Via Appia, going from Beneventum (Benevento) to Brundisium (Brindisi) by a shorter route. There was a monastery nearby and the name of the bridge literally means ‘monastic monk’.  Sounds a bit redundant, although better than the other possibility ‘monastic blade’.polignano-a-mare-ponte

polignano-a-mare-spiaggia2Beneath the bridge is Spiaggia Lama Monachile, a small ‘spiaggia libera’ or public beach, with blue-green crystalline water and small white pebbles called ciottoli (cheeot·TOH· lee). I climbed up on some rocks and could have just sat there all day feeling the wind in my hair and sun on my face. Near the water, I noticed a constant movement of people coming and going from a cave.  I was curious and walked over to try and see what was there.  It just looked dark.  A very nice older local gentleman saw me trying to peer in.  He came over and offered me his arm and said he would accompany me.  It was a ‘cave tunnel’ that had about 1 foot of water.  The other end was very windy and opened to the next cove.  We could see cliffs and the surf crashing onto the rocks, sending water over us.  It was incredibly beautiful, but of course I did not have my camera.  My escort told me that he lives in Polignano and comes to the spiaggia every day of the year!

The man in the white hat with his arm outstretched is the 'gentiluomo'.

The man in the white hat with his arm outstretched is the ‘gentiluomo’.

polignano-spiaggia-3When I took a dip  in the water, the waves were so big I was thrown into a seated position and lost one of my flip flops, known in Italia as infraditi (in·fra·DEE·tee). The spiaggia is too rocky to walk barefoot.  I retrieved my infradito and was immediately felled by another powerful wave, taking the other infradito off my foot.  This went on for a few more waves, and eventually my infradito was too far out.  Luckily a nice ragazzo retrieved it for me.  I returned to my heavenly place on the rocks, to find that my cugina had taken my camera and photographed of every stage of my ordeal with the infraditi!  Grazie Maria!polignano-a-mare-spiaggia

The town is a steep walk up the stairs beside Ponte Lama Monachile. The Centro Storico is entered via l’ Arco Marchesale, an old Roman gate. There is an interesting area called Vicolo della Poesia, with poetry written on staircases, walls and doorways. vicolo-della-poesia This ‘graffiti’ is signed ‘Guido Il Flâneur’. Guido is a poet, although the ‘graffiti’ is not his own poetry.  He left his job in Bari and moved to Polignano to pursue a writing career 32 years ago.  ‘Flâneur’ is an 18th Century term for french gentlemen who strolled the streets sharing their passion for literature. Apparently Guido goes for a swim every day, year round!  Hmmm, this sounds familiar.  I found a poor-quality foto of Guido online, and I think he may be the gentiluomo who escorted me through the cave tunnel!vicolo-della-poesia2

Polignano a Mare’s most famous citizen is Domenico Modugno, who shot to fame in 1958 when his song ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu’ (you probably know it as Volare) won the Festival di San Remo, then represented Italia in the Eurovision song contest.  In a piazza on the other side of the bridge is a statue of Modugno, with his arms stretched out like he is ready to take flight over Polignano. Our parking ran out before we could walk to the other side, so I’ll have to go back to visit Domenico.

An interesting building-it looks like it was once a church, but now there is a bar on the ground level!

An interesting building-it looks like it was once a church, but now there is a bar on the ground level!

In the right third of the photois Grotta Palazzese, where you can see 3 white posts of the railing.

In the right third of the photois Grotta Palazzese, where you can see 3 white posts of the railing.

I really enjoyed the day in Polignano a Mare, and so did my camera! It was not as crowded as I expected on a weekday in early August and the spiaggia was just perfect. The only thing I found kind of annoying was the amount of English signage in the Centro Storico, which is not typical for a town in Puglia.polignano-a-mare-loggiapolignanomuro

Polignano a Mare is easy to get to, as it is on Strada Statale 16 (SS 16) the main coastal road. It is also very easy to get to without a car, since it is on the Adriatic train route from Bari to Lecce.  From Bari, Polignano is a 20 min train ride and from the train station the Centro Storico is a 10 min walk.ponte-lama-monachile

Buon Viaggio, Cristina

Paestum

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tempiodinettuno2The first time I saw Paestum I was 11 years old. Even then, I was an archeology and mythology nerd and was fascinated by the wonders of this place.  It took many years, but I finally went back to Paestum this year! It was every bit as enchanting as it was then-maybe even more!paestumforum

Paestum was founded around 600 BC by Greek colonists from Sybaris, a Greek colony in Calabria. They named it Poseidonia, after Poseidon, Greek God of the sea. Poseidonia became a prosperous trade center in Magna Grecia, the Greek colonies in Southern Italia. They even minted their own coins.  The Lucanians took over around 390 BC and called it Paistom.  In 273 BC, the Romans conquered, Latinized the name to Paestum, and constructed more buildings. Paestum was partially damaged by an earthquake after the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.  In the 5th Century AD with Christianity came a Paleochristian church and a Bishop.  Deforestation and other factors led to conditions that brought malaria.  The malaria plus Saracen attacks caused the abandonment of Paestum by 877 AD.  The inhabitants retreated to higher ground at Capaccio, 6 km away.  Overgrown by forest and buried by swamps, Paestum remained hidden and forgotten for almost 900 years. In 1748, the temples were rediscovered by road builders, who apparently kept ploughing right through.la-basilica

Paestum is in a quiet, idyllic setting in the countryside, surrounded by farmland. 3 well-preserved majestic Greek temples rise up out of the plain. La Basilica is the oldest of the temples, built in 550 BC and is actually a temple to Hera.  18th century archeologists mistakenly identified it as a Roman building used as a meeting place.

La Basilica

La Basilica

Right next to it, the Tempio di Nettuno (Neptune is the Roman equivalent of Poseidon) resembles the Parthenon.  It was built in 460 BC and is the best preserved Doric temple outside of Greece.  It is almost intact, with only the roof and a bit of the inside missing. You can actually walk inside both of these temples!

Tempio di Nettuno

Tempio di Nettuno

A bit farther away from the other 2 temples is the Tempio di Cerere (Temple of Ceres/ Demeter) which was actually a temple to Athena.  18th Century archeologists must have been very confused. It was built in 500 BC and the architecture is part Doric, part Ionic. At some point, it was used as a church and has 3 medieval tombs in the floor.  The inside of this temple is not accessible.

Tempio di Cerere

Tempio di Cerere

The remains of the ancient city also include a Roman Forum, paved streets, the foundations of public buildings and many residential Roman houses, an amphitheater, and a swimming pool/gymnasium. Walking through the overgrown areas provides some of the best views and glimpses of some mosaic floors.  paestumforum2The city walls, almost 5 km long, are mostly intact with 24 towers and 4 gates.  Only 20% of the site has been excavated.  80% of Paestum is still buried under agricultural land, most of it privately owned. A road cuts the site in 2 and has a few restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, a small piazza, the Paleochristian church, an information center, and the museum.  The amphitheater is only half exposed as the road was enlarged in the 1930’s and buried the east half of it!paestummatrimonio

The Museo Nazionale contains all of the items found in tombs in and around Paestum and the Metopes from a temple 9 km away. There are also Giovanni Piranesi’s etchings of the site, printed in 1778. The most amazing thing in the museum was on loan and I did not get to see it!  It is the 470 BC Tomba del Tuffatore, tomb of the diver, a fresco painted on the underside of a tomb which portrays a young man in mid-air diving off a cliff into water.  It is thought to portray the harmonious passage from life to death.paestumtempiodinettuno

The Archeological site of Paestum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Cilento coast, Vallo di Diano National Park, the archeological site of Velia and the Certosa di Padula.   Today, Paestum is a Frazione or hamlet of Capaccio in the province of Salerno.  It is accessible by bus or local train from Salerno (30 minutes), but the best way to get there is by car.  The drive is spectacular and it is worth going out of the way for.  Even on a ‘busy’ summer day, the site is not crowded.  Staying the night is a great idea, as you can visit the ruins just before sunset.  A combination ticket to the site and museum is €9.

Buon Viaggio, Cristina

Santa Maria di Siponto~ Art reconstructs time

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santamariadisiponto1Santa Maria di Siponto is just off the SS 89 Garganica highway, 3km from Manfredonia. The church was built in 1117 over an existing early Christian structure.  The architectural style is Romanica Pugliese, Pugliese Romanesque with Byzantine and Islamic influences evident in its pure, simple lines and geometric patterns.  The building is unusual as it is square and there are 2 independent churches; the upper church and the crypt below, with an external staircase.santamariadisiponto5

To the left of the church is the Parco Archeologico di Santa Maria di Siponto. Until March 2016, this consisted of the ruins of a Paleochristian basilica (250 AD) with a semi-circular apse and mosaic pavement, and the partially excavated remains of Ancient Roman Sipontium.  Now the space once occupied by the basilica has been transformed into a magnificent sculpture titled ‘Dove l’arte riconstruisce il tempo’ which means ‘Where art reconstructs time’. The permanent installation took 3 months to construct and is built right onto the foundations of the archeological remains.santamariadisiponto2

The installation/sculpture is made of layers of wire mesh that overlap and intersect, interpreting and reclaiming the space and volume once occupied by a structure that no longer exists. The lightness and transparency of the material makes it look like a hologram of the original church…it is there, but it is no longer there. The site is also illuminated at night, creating a ‘ghostly’ effect.  Contemporary art and archeology intersect to form a link with the past. 14 m high and weighing 6,000 kg, this is probably the largest structure in the world made entirely of wire mesh.santamariadisiponto6

I have been to Santa Maria di Siponto many times since I was a child. I am a total archeology nerd, and I was excited to see this construction breathing new life into this small archeological site, relatively unknown outside of Puglia. It feels like the basilica has been resurrected from the ruins.  I have not seen anything like this before and it is already a distinctive landmark, especially since it is visible from the highway. In 5 months it has already brought 100,000 visitors to the site and contributed to the local economy.

The artist, Edoardo Tresoldi, a 29 year old set designer and sculptor in Roma, is known for his monumental metallic wire mesh sculptures, integrating into their surroundings.  His website is still under construction.  He must be too busy making great art!santamariadisiponto4Santa Maria di Siponto is definitely worth a visit.  If you have plans to visit the Gargano area, especially Monte Sant’ Angelo, San Giovanni Rotondo, Manfredonia or Mattinata, it is fairly close by. It is definitely easiest to get there with your own vehicle, although it is possible to get to Foggia, then Manfredonia by train or bus and then taxi to the site. Buon Viaggio, Cristina

Passata di Pomodoro

This weekend was my family’s annual passata di pomodoro canning fest. For those of you interested in seeing the process, I’m reposting ‘Passata di Pomodoro’. Ciao, Cristina

Un po' di pepe

Passata di pomodoro
Every year my family gets together to make ‘la salsa’, or passata di pomodoro. Everyone participates, even the nipotini. It is a 2 day event and we are all tired today, as we made about 180 litres of salsa/passata! Some of the tomatoes came from our gardens, but most of them were purchased.

Pomodori ready to be washed Pomodori ready to be washed

Pomodori from the garden Pomodori from the garden

La pentola per i pomodori-a really big pot to cook the tomatoes! La pentola per i pomodori-a really big pot to cook the tomatoes!

The ripe pomodori are washed, then cooked in a really big pot until soft. Then they are drained in baskets lined with cloth. If they aren’t drained well, then the passata will be too watery.  To make’pomodori pelati'(peeled tomatoes) instead of passata, the skin is removed by hand and the whole pomodori are put in jars.

Cooked pomodori drained in baskets lined with cloth Cooked pomodori drained in baskets lined with cloth

Passata refers to ‘passed’ through a sieve, a passapomodoro, or an electric machine to…

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Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

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Pasta all'AmatricianaMy last post was about the terremoto in Italia and I listed ways you can help with earthquake relief.  One of these ways was to order Pasta all’Amatriciana at one of the many restaurants participating to raise money for the Croce Rossa Italiana.  I realized that not everyone will have a restaurant in their area participating, so I am posting a recipe, just in case anyone wants to host their own small fundraiser. August 27-28 would have been the Spaghetti all’Amatriciana festa in Amatrice.  Amatriciana

Pasta all’Amatriciana-also known as Pasta alla Matriciana in dialetto Romano, is made with guanciale (cured pork cheek), Pecorino Romano, and pomodoro (tomato).  Peperoncino is often added.  Pasta all’Amatriciana originated from Pasta alla Gricia, made with guanciale and pecorino.  It is basically Pasta Carbonara without the eggs. Shepherds near Amatrice carried the simple ingredients with them into the fields.  The pomodoro had not been brought to Europe yet.  In Amatrice, they started making the sauce with pomodoro once it had been introduced.  When Amatriciani moved from the outlaying areas to Roma, the sauce became popular, and is now considered a staple of Cucina Romana.  In Roma, Amatriciana is made with bucatini, which are spaghetti with a hole down the middle, or rigatoni, but in Amatrice, it is only made with spaghetti! Making Amatriciana

Spaghetti all’Amatriciana

100g guanciale (pancetta can be used if guanciale not available)

350g passata di pomodoro, or pelati (peeled tomatoes)-about 1 500ml canning jar

15g (1 tsp) extra virgin olive oil

White wine (optional)

Peperoncino-fresh chili pepper to taste

75g Pecorino Romano, grated

320g spaghetti or bucatini (80g per person)

Cut guanciale into strips or cubes. In a frying pan, cook guanciale in the olive oil.  When the white part becomes transparent, add a half glass of white wine.  This is optional, but i’ll bet those shepherds always had vino handy! Let it evaporate, then add tomatoes and pepper.  While this is simmering, cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted water.  Cook for 1 minute less than the time it says on the box! Drain well then add to the pan and toss in the sauce.  Serve with a generous amount of Pecorino Romano.  Serves 4. Buon Appetito!Amatriciana

Terremoto in Italia~How to help

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Vigili del Fuoco in Amatrice-Winnipeg Free Press

Vigili del Fuoco in Amatrice-Winnipeg Free Press

Una preghiera per le vittime del terremoto.  A few days ago, a devastating terremoto-earthquake struck central Italia.  Today aftershocks continue to damage buildings and roads. The ancient villages of Amatrice, Accumuli, Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto now look like part of Dante’s Inferno.  Pescara del Tronto has been totally destroyed, with only 5 buildings left standing.  The death toll is 267 and rising, countless others are still missing, and thousands left displaced and homeless.  Since the Unification of Italia in 1861, there have been 35 major terremoti, and 86 smaller ones.

What can you do to help:

The Croce Rosse Italiana-Italian Red Cross has a page set up (in Italian) for the earthquake rescue efforts.  To donate in international currencies a fund has been set up by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). I used this one myself and it was molto facile!

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) has a donation page set up for earthquake relief.

Save the Children has launched a response in Amatrice, setting up a child-friendly space, a safe and protected environment where children and young people can receive support from trained staff and participate in various activities. This will allow them to play, socialize, learn, and express themselves as they recover from trauma.

Order Pasta all’Amatriciana!  Italian ristoranti all over Italia and around the world are donating €2 per plate of pasta all’Amatriciana to the Italian Red Cross for relief in Amatrice.  This fund raising initiative started by Italian blogger Paolo Campana had 700 restaurants signed up within a few hours. For the month of September, La Piazza Dario Ristorante Italiano in Vancouver will be donating $5 per order of Spaghetti all’Amatriciana to the Croce Rossa Italiana.

Amatriciana

Pasta all’Amatriciana originated from shepherds in the area around Amatrice.

In Roma and across Italia, you can donate blood, and there are donation points set up to donate non-perishable food, blankets, clothing and flashlights.

Last, but definitely not least, pray for survivors! Ciao, Cristina

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