My Central Italy: from “dream” to reality

When did My Central Italy adventure start? Well … I think, back in 2001, while I was living in Los Angeles, California . I had moved to the City of Angels from Hanover, New Hampshire, where I had worked for Dartmouth College and the Rassias Foundation as a Visiting Faculty, teaching Italian and French languages and cultures, very intensively, for a couple of years. In Los Angeles I was still a teacher of Italian, but also, and actually mainly, a PhD Student in Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.

Moving west, my Italian partner of the time and I had decided to settle in the beautiful and quiet environment of Pacific Palisades – between Santa Monica and Malibu – far from the chaotic and warmer downtown LA, and close to the ocean and the fancy residences of Sunset Boulevard. Over time (I lived in LA for about 3 years) we made new friends and were invited to barbecues and parties. As both my partner and I were good cooks, one day we thought it might be nice and fun to bring the ingredients to make a “risotto” Italian style rather than to buy the usual bottle of wine. This initiative was very appreciated, to the point that from that evening on we never brought a bottle of wine again when invited.

As we didn’t make a lot of money with my fellowship and his salary, my partner and I thought we might transform the “cooking-for-friends-experience” in a “part-time-profession”. That’s how the two of us started organizing  “Italian dinners” for money. We used to arrive at the “event house” with all our pans, ingredients, sauces, ready to cook in front of whoever wanted to assist and ask questions. During the meal – which we also served – and later, during dessert/coffee time, we were invited to chat about Italy, Italian politics (!!!!) and more. We soon realized we were considered the actual “special guests” of those evenings! And that simply because, while cooking, we naturally performed a totally spontaneous “Italian style show”, sometimes through the tone of our voices, or through our natural expressive gesticulation.

To make a long story short, when in 2005 I decided to come back to Central Italy, I asked myself which kind of job I would like to do. Thinking back to my American years, I felt extremely satisfied and rewarded from both the professional and human point of view. I continuously asked myself: “What can I do here in Italy that would better what I have achieved and done in the US?” The answer came gradually. It took four more years of thoughts, work experience, and some failures, but in the end, in 2009, My Central Italy was finally born.

And …that’s what My Central Italy is: it is MY WAY of showing and sharing “FROM THE INSIDE” the country, the culture, the language, and the flavours I was born in and that have nourished me for most of my life.

Aiming at stimulating your “appetite” for My Central Italy, here is one of my recent successful menus:

Appetizers:

  • Crostino  with Mushrooms: toasted unsalted bread topped with chopped mixed mushrooms;
  • Crostino  with Sweet Peppers: toasted unsalted bread toppedwith mashed sweet peppers;
  • Bed and Breakfast Italy risottoFried Potato Mini-sandwiches Stuffed with Prosciutto Produced in Central Italy.

“First” Main Course:

  • Pasta e Ceci: soup with  “maltagliati” and chickpeas.

“Second” Main Course:

  • Wild Boar Stew.

Side Dishes:

  • Mashed Potatoes – My Central Italy Style;
  • Pan-Fried Spinach Flavoured with Butter and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Dessert:

  • Crostata: homemade cream or jam tart.

Wines:

  • a selection of local wines: 2 whites; 2 reds and dessert wine.

For the recipes of this menu and more, click here.