“What are we going to eat for lunch, for dinner, tomorrow, this weekend…?”
Growing up, conversation revolved around, and days were planned around, meals. Mom worked a lot, she slept very little. Outside of her day job, she was the cook, the driver, the cleaner and she was my number one fan. She never missed a ballet nor horseback riding lesson. She was always there to explain sentence diagrams to me, all while putting a home cooked, balanced meal on the table. It was healthy Italian-American cooking. I thought it was just normal. Mom, I hope that you’re reading this. You were, and are, Superwoman and a super woman.
At lunch and dinner
Vegetables always had a place at the table. From salads and broccoli to mustard greens and spinach. Grains were present too. From fresh bread to rice, pasta and couscous. Friday was home made pizza day, and during Lent, it was fish cake day. Sundays were gravy day. The pot full of sauce and meats simmered away for hours before we sat down to dig in. The entire house smelled of fried meatballs, sweetness, and love. Mom, again, you were, and are, Superwoman who instead of sleeping extra hours, woke up to fill our home with love. Mom, like Casa Mia Tours, believes #foodislove and it is, isn’t it?
My favorite dishes were ‘poor’ in ingredients and full of simple, authentic flavors. Beans and escarole top my list followed by lentils with pasta, lentils with spinach, and lentil soup. Thinking about Ma’s bean and potato stew drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil makes me salivate, smile and tear up. I may have been a strange child. I have always been drawn to bitter greens and any legume/bean/pulse.
Cooking tells my life story from childhood to adulthood
What I cook and eat is driven by seasons, cravings, and feelings that I long for in that moment. Casa Mia just celebrated one year of online experiences. YES 1 year!!! The lessons I taught and teach bring much joy to me personally and I hope that I give joy to the people who cook and raise a glass with me. And so, last year, I taught many traditional Italian dishes like meatballs, Neapolitan ragù, and Sicilian buccellati. In 2021, I will teach some oldies but goodies, however what I am most looking forward to is sharing my evolving kitchen with you. It tells my story of searching for my Neapolitan and Sicilian roots mixed with seasonality, health consciousness, and Italian-Americaness.
I’m kicking off this series with two fresh, vegetarian pasta recipes, one new and one traditional: maltagliati & lentils on Thursday, April 22 and sweet potato & chickpea gnocchi with walnut arugula pesto on Sunday, May 23. I hope to see you there.