Home cooking - in Italy

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

For some people, travel means eating out for every meal. And although we did eat out a fair amount while in Codroipo, we also spent quite a few dinners around the family dinner table eating homemade dishes, including ones made by yours truly. I was happy for the chance to cook for people important to me - because isn't cooking an expression of love?

One night I did a ravioli and ragu sauce. Ragu is an umbrella term for a meat sauce or meat stew served over pasta. There is some debate about the interchangeability of the terms ragu and bolognese, or bolognese being a type of ragu, but for most Americans both words refer to a meat sauce with minced vegetables, tomatoes, wine, broth, and a touch of creme. Regardless, this is a hearty dish full of flavor and pretty simple to pull together.

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
Ravioli with homemade ragu

Pasta carbonara is one of my favorites. It's another dinner that is easy to whip up - ham, eggs, and cheese combined into creamy, comforting goodness. And although it seems like a very Italian creation, many believe its origins are more New York Italian than Italy Italian.

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
Pasta carbonara

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
Carbonara in the works - pasta, ham, cheese, and egg. It's like a breakfast pasta!

But I didn't confine myself to just Italian dishes! Panang curry is a rich and creamy sauce perfect for creating a tender chicken and rice dish. Sometimes spicy, it also pairs well with veggies like carrots and beans, which we had on hand from the backyard garden.

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
Panang curry with chicken and mixed grain rice

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
The panang with long beans and carrots from the garden

I was busy and inspired that night - we also had ginseng chicken soup! Known around the (Asian) world as the perfect soup to eat during the hot steamy days of summer, ginseng soup claims many health benefits, too - reducing inflammation, aiding the immune system, and increasing energy levels.

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
Ginseng chicken soup

On the last night we were in Codroipo, I also chose to cook something more Malaysian than Italian. Pongteh sauce relies primarily on fermented soy bean paste plus garlic and soy sauce. The chicken and potatoes can all be simmered together in the sauce, giving you plenty of time to make the noodles (or rice) and spend time with your family.

Treasure Coast fresh pasta
Chicken and potatoes with pongteh sauce and glass noodles

Dessert is usually last on the menu so I'm finishing up this post with . . . tiramisu! Tiramisu translates from Italian as "cheer me up." How perfect is that? Who wouldn't be happier with a slice of homemade tiramisu in front of them?

Ready to tackle tiramisu

Tiramisu is one of those desserts that looks and sounds impressive but is not actually all that difficult to make. It's simply layers of sponge cake, coffee, mascarpone, whipped sugar and eggs, cocoa, and sometimes brandy or liqueur. Making tiramisu is more like architecture than actual baking.

This might not be pasta but I'm still going to learn how to make this. And eat it!

And just look how it came out! I've mastered this quintessential Italian dessert! Now I just need a clever way to turn this into a fresh pasta dish . . . .

Tiramisu! Made by me! With help from an excellent teacher.

Having the chance to putter around in the kitchen, making both Italian and Malaysian staples, learning a few tricks and new recipes - these were all among the most satisfying aspects of our time in Codroipo.

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