“Si mangia e si mangia bene,” which roughly translates to “You eat and eat well.” While visiting Italy, I realized the blessings of the 5 ingredient wonders of the world. Fresh simple foods made simply.
With Italian cooking, there is no fussing about in the kitchen with prepping lots of exotic ingredients and spices. Actually, very few Ingredients are used in Italian dishes and the ones that are used are very simple, fresh and made with love. Keep on reading to find out how to simplify your life and get a delicious dinner on the table is less than 15 minutes flat…
While walking through the cobbled stone streets of Italy, I felt the magic. It is the simple and carefree life. People stop to smell the roses and smile. Life is about quality not quantity. It has a very calming effect on everyone and everything in the city.
Today’s society has put many pressures on us such as high stress professions, family needs and commitments. Sometimes, we just need to put things back into perspective and simplify our lives. Sometimes less really is better. The more you have the more complicated things become and you lose site of what you were doing in the first place.
Food, believe it or not, or the preparation of it can be seen in the same way. In the end, it is not about the fancy expensive ingredients you used or how long it took you to prepare it. Life is about making the people you love both happy and nourished. At the end of day, it is about life balance and spending more time with the ones you love while enjoying some great food together.
I also was inspired by the simple and peaceful comfort of walking into the Doumo while visiting Siena. The lighting was dim and even though it had many visitors they were quiet and respectful. I only heard the sound of the pews squeak as people say down to pray and give their respects. I could smell the light delicate scent of the candles lit for those that we love and remember. I felt the cool breeze and the muffled echo of my footsteps as I walked down the Aisle and look up at the serene dome above.
I bet most of you might think that the most memorable view of the doumo in Siena is the library?
Or maybe a walk up the altar while looking at the stunning ceiling.
For me, the most intriguing part of the Siena Doumo, was the simple beauty that lies right under our feet.
Did you know that there are over 56 etched and inlaid marble panels that were designed by at least 40 leading artists on the floor of the Doumo in Siena. The floor is completely inlaid with pictorial pavings, inlaid with different colored marbles. However today, most of which are covered to protect them but a few are left open for us to view.
As I walked down a small path leading to our Hotel Athena in Siena, I watched in awe as an elderly gentleman was hand painting his pottery. It was beautiful and something triggered a spark in me. I realized these painting on his pottery were a replication of some of the works on the floor of the Doumo in Siena. Bam’s Kitchen now has a beautiful hand painted olive oil dispenser and pasta plate to remember our lovely time in Siena and especially the beautiful floors in the Doumo. (Thank you Mr. Anonymous!)
I was inspired to find simplicity in my life on my return home. I consulted one of my favorite Italian chefs ChgoJohn from http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/ for a delicious and simple recipe that is sure to please everyone in the family. If you have not visited ChgoJohn’s family recipes cooking website, delay no more. He takes beautiful simple quality ingredients and makes some lovely Italian culinary masterpieces. John really takes the complexity out of cooking and his instructions are very easy to follow on his blog. ChgoJohn really has a passion for cooking and he spreads that excitement and vitality wherever he visits.I explained to ChgoJohn that I had this delicious breadcrumb pasta in Italy. I asked for his suggestions on making something that my teenage boys would like, so that I could recreate this at home.
A big thank you to ChgoJohn and his e-mail recipe as it was a huge hit with my teenage boys.( My hungry teenagers went back for seconds and third helpings, so I assume that gives this dish at least a 5 star rating) My Rainbow Breadcrumb Pasta took me less than 15 minutes to prepare using only about 5 or 6 ingredients. Please keep on reading to hear more about ChgoJohn’s simple dish that will put a smile on anyone who sits down at your table to dine.
Rainbow Breadcrumb Pasta
Recipe from ChgoJohn at The Bartolini Kitchen with a few adaptations
( http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2011/09/28/spaghetti-aglio-e-olio/ and some e-mail exchanges)
Recipe serves 4 adults or 1 hungry teenager
- 1 pound pasta (I used Rainbow Bow tie pasta I purchased in Italy, only because my boys have been begging me to make something with them from the moment we returned)
- 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 3 – 6 cloves of garlic thinly diced
- 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
- 1/2-2/3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs ( Seasoned breadcrumbs are difficult to find here in HK so I made my own homemade breadcrumbs and seasoned them with a lovely mixed dry Italian seasoning that I purchased while in Italy- it has dried slices of garlic, oregano, basil, dried onion, salt, pepper and dried red pepper flakes)
- reserved pasta water
- chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- 4 tablespoons of dry seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- drizzle of fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)