“Buon appetito alla salute” Enjoy your meal in good health! Ever wonder why or did you know that Italians, native to Italy, live long and live happy, healthy lives? I’m Italian American and I’ve been fortunate to travel back to my roots many times to visit and spend time with a part of my family that never immigrated to America. Their life style is very different then ours. The secret to Italians “abundanzza” healthy living, is their diet, their lifestyle and how they appreciate food and cooking. The love of local grown fruits and vegetables, the grapes made to wine, olive trees and olive oils, just the way they eat. And, they’ve been doing it for centuries with out government interference, telling them how to eat or what to eat and what’s good or not good. They just know how to do it. Keywords to know: “Salute, Buon Appitito, Abundanzza, La Dolce Far Niente”, Amore” [Translations: “In good health, Have a good meal, Abundance, The sweetness of doing nothing, Love”]
My family in Italy taught me how to appreciate the simple things, fresh grown fruits, vegetables, the fresh herbs, the pastas, the sparkling water, spending time in the kitchen and around the dinner table.
I have prepared the Penne Pasta Di Amore that translates “Penne Pasta of Love”. It tastes great and will keep you young and vibrant. You might call it vegetarian, I call it Italian. My family originates from the region of Piedmonte which is the north western part of Italy just below the Italian Alps and borders with France and Switzerland. Very close to the Mediterranean Sea. Maybe that’s why some call it the “Mediterranean Diet”? I call it Italian. Here’s the recipe, Buon Appetito!!
Penne Pasta Di Amore:
(Dinner for two)
- 1/2 lb dry penne pasta
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 6 oz fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 bunch fresh scallions cut 1/4 inch long
- 1 small vine ripe tomato largely diced
- handful fresh spinach (stems removed)
- 2 oz diced roast red pepper (garnish)
- 2 cups tomato sauce (Fresh made is best, but you can substitute your favorite. I use an Italian imported)
- 1/4 cup Italian Chianti
- 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon dry basil (to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 5 or 6 leaves of fresh basil (large chopped)
- Fresh Grated Reggio Parmesan Cheese (Optional, but if you do grate it large)
- Cook the penne pasta to a little more than al dente (Al dente is firm to the bite). Drain and rinse with cool water and set aside.
- In a large saute pan on a low heat, saute the chopped garlic in the olive oil
- When the garlic is about halfway cooked add the tomato sauce
- As the tomato sauce starts to come to a simmer add the diced tomato, mushrooms and scallions.
- Let simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes and then stir in the Italian Chianti.
- Simmer for an additional minute or two and then add the dry oregano and dry basil
- Stir in the fresh spinach and fresh basil. and let simmer uncovered for another 5-8 minutes.
- Using a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cooked, drained penne pasta into the mixing bowl
- Ladle the sauce into the mixing bowl with the penne pasta and carefully mix or toss until the all pasta is well coated with the sauce.
- Plate the tossed pasta and sauce and garnish with the roasted red peppers, a sprig of fresh basil and the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Viola!! Dinner for two!!
- Warning: Sudden overwhelming urge to romance the person your eating with may occur. Be prepared for Romance and Love.