Monday, August 9, 2010

FROM ROME TO OUR TABLE: we find joy in the simple goodness of food

Summer Bounty!
This basket is heading right to our kitchen.

On a very warm, late spring evening in Rome we were at a dinner party. The primi course was pasta with pesto. The hostess declared on this warm evening,
"summer has begun and dinner must include fresh pesto". With that a plate of perfectly prepared pasta with pesto was served. (By the way, the pesto was a beautiful green color, not the blackened version too often seen).
Our hostess then urged us to drizzle the olive oil from her olives, grown in her grove in Tuscany, on to the pasta.
Well, of course!
The secondo was a carmelized chicken breast served with the best sauteed zucchini we ever ate!
I must get that recipe and grow that variety of zucchini!

In our garden we grow many heirloom and Italian vegetables. Costata Romanesco is a zucchini, and yes, is a favorite in the garden his summer. I know zucchini has a bad reputation, it can be watery and squeeky to the bite. There is a saying that in the summer if you have to buy zucchini you don't have any friends! At the workplace and at the sides of roads overflowing baskets of zucchini with a "free" sign attached can be found. This season in our vegetable garden zucchini takes the prize! Unlike those dreaded zucchini that people freely shower upon us every
August, Costata Romanesco is different; it is an Italian
variety, ribbed, thin skinned with a 'nutty' flavor and silky texture. The other great thing is it's beautiful flowers and the attractive leaves on the plant itself.

from a dinner party in Rome

Small Italian type zucchini / about 3-4 small zucchini for 4 people
Olive Oil (best quality/EVOO)
Salt & fresh ground pepper

Start with small zucchini (Italian type if possible)
slice thin about 1 /16 inch
Heat a saute pan, add olive oil , enough to coat the bottom
Add butter, a tablespoon or two depending on quantity of zucchini.
Let butter melt and begin to sizzle.
Add slices of zucchini, let cook until they are soft , but not mushy. (do not brown)
Add additional olive oil as needed
Season with ample salt and pepper and serve

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