I kept a memory related to food for almost every vacation I did. In some cases, it is connected to the purchase, in others to the preparation, or, finally, to the tasting.
Recently, I asked my husband to share three-holiday food memories, excluding Sunday and Christmas lunches. Then I, too, answered the same question. We found we had one and a half memories in common.
We both remember the cake for the birthday party of Raoul Casadei, the king of Romagnolo ballroom dancing.
You are finding this tale in the mid-August newsletter dedicated to something that in Italy is considered an event, the Ferragosto lunch (are you subscribed? You can do so HERE).
Il mezzo ricordo riguarda il viaggio di nozze che facemmo in una splendida Costiera Amalfitana fuori stagione. Stesso contesto ma cibo diverso.
The half memory is about our honeymoon. We took it to a beautiful Amalfi Coast out of season. Even if it is the same scenery, the food we remember is different.
For him, the pizza al taglio from the little store near our hotel in Amalfi. The best he ever ate, he says. My flashback takes me back to a small trattoria whose name I don’t remember. I appreciated the sumptuous, greasy, and enveloping sauce of the pasta al pomodoro I ate there. As it should always be and rarely is. In fact, pasta al pomodoro and pasta in bianco, with Parmigiano and butter, are among the easiest and, for that matter, the most difficult recipes to make.
Our unique gastronomic memories take us on separate journeys to the lives we lived before meeting each other. I would love to take you there.
An Italian Summer
On July 11, 1982, I had been at the beach since mid-June.
At that time, as soon as the school year ended, we children went to the Riviera romagnola with grandma. Parents used to arrive during weekends until the August vacation would allow the family to be reunited.
That was such an unforgivable year for each Italian. The summer of 1982 was the World Cup played in Spain. With each match, hope and good cheer increased.
It was a summer full of joy, or at least I remember it that way.
The final was at 8 p.m. on July 11.
The event was extraordinary, especially in a country where football is almost a national obsession. Thus, loved ones and acquaintances started to arrive already since the late afternoon.
My parents planned to have dinner on our porch before the game started. The television took place at the head of the table, remarking its importance.
For Grandma, it meant planning a dinner party for nearly twenty people. Today, no doubt, we would order pizzas to go. But at that time, she called some women romagnole to help her with the preparation, which began in the days before.
Tuna tortelli and an unforgettable evening
I don’t remember the whole menu, keep a distinct memory of the tuna tortelli hailed as one of Sara’s (my maternal grandmother) wonders.
Having to make a large amount of pasta, he decided on tortelli, which are, among fresh-filled pasta, one of the fastest to prepare (just like ravioli and spoja lorda)
The intuition was the filling composed of tuna and boiled potatoes.
It is easy to prepare and manage. It does not stick to the fingers like the ricotta one in tortelloni. Then Nonna paired the pasta with a tasty tomato and olives sauce that, accomplice to the summer, everyone loved it.
We were sitting at the table by 7 p.m. The men preferred silence while playing the game. During the match break, they nervously consumed ice cream.
The result is history.
Italy defeated West Germany at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid. The joy of Pertini, beloved President of the Italian Republic, was the fuse that ignited one enormous roar of delight that, like the arms in the hola, similarly passed from house to house.
I have fond memories of those days. I remember the celebrations, the joyful atmosphere of the following days, and the disappointment of the Germans who still frequented the Riviera in large numbers. However, what stands out the most to me is my grandmother’s tortelli.
Buona cucina, Monica
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Tuna tortelli with tasty olive sauce
Pasta dough ingredients
normal eggs, 2
00 flour, 200g
drained tuna in olive oil, 300 g
one boiled potato, 100 g
capers, 1 teaspoon
Ingredients for the sauce
tomato sauce, 200g
pitted black olives, 80g
taggiasca olives, 80g
olive oil, salt to taste
- Prepare the filling for the tortelli by mixing the drained tuna with boiled potato and capers. Grind in a blender with some olive oil to make a smooth cream. Let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes/one hour.
- Place the flour on a wooden surface and put the eggs in the center.
Mix with the help of a fork until large crumbs form. Then, continue kneading with your hands until the dough is soft but not sticky. Put the dough to rest, wrapping in plastic for at least 30 minutes.
- When the dough has rested, roll it out thinly, arrange the filling on top of the rectangle with the help of a spoon. Close quickly and cut the tortelli with a pasta wheel or knife. Let the filled pastry dry for 30 minutes.
- Now go on to prepare the sauce. In a pan put extra virgin olive oil, tomato sauce, water and salt. Add sliced pitted black olives and whole taggiasche olives.
- Let the sauce thicken. And, if you like, add chopped parsley or chili pepper.
- To prepare the tortelli, first cook them in the salted boiling water. Once they are done, use a slotted spoon to drain the pasta and transfer it to the sauce pot. Alternatively, you can arrange the sauce on each plate and place the tortelli on top after cooking.