Ragu Category

(food)porn ed. 2012 – Part 2

An EDD-ters Tour of Italy – La Finale e arrivederci!

One bullet train later, I had to blink several times before it sank in that we were back where our culinary tour de forza began. One afternoon and night left in this magical country.

What can I say? I was bummed!

We decided to visit Piazza Navona on our last afternoon in Rome. The air was slightly cool and damp, and a creeping melancholy gave me quite a chill. Good thing there were plenty of roasted chestnut vendors about to fill the air with nutty sweetness.

So the big question now was where to have our final meal? Where could we find the culinary closure we’d need to sustain us for the long journey home?

Like divine inspiration from Neptune himself, a craving for fettucine al tartufo d’Andrea aroused my appetite. Trattoria d’Andrea – homey, delicious, comforting, authentic – answered the call.

In the meantime, it was impossible not to grab a snack at a small pizzeria on our way back to the hotel. Homemade pork sausage and straight-up tomato basil between chewy, lightly cheesy, crispy pizza dough. How can something so simple be so darn unbelievable!

At Trattoria d’Andrea, we started with antipasto vegetale – eggplant, zucchini, cipollini onions – generously flavored with garlic, tomato and breadcrumbs. The antipasto italiana was fresh and comfortingly salty sweet.

Although the house fettucini was my must-have dish, Jordan opted for the ravioli bolognese. Slightly tart and meaty ragu on chewy cheese-stuffed pillows.

By excellent fortune, before my truffle fettucini arrived, they mistakenly brought a fettucine con porcini by accident. Oh no! What to do?

Andrea also recommended a especiale di pollo which was a braised chicken with tomatoes. Fall-off-the bone tenderness in a sweet, sumptuous sauce. Beautiful.

It was such a wonderful meal and it encapsulated so much of the soulful impact Italy has had on me. The country appreciates people, art, food, and simply life itself. And this philosophy is intermingled with all my memories.

I’m so glad I was able to share some of my fondest memories with you all, and I hope they inspire you to visit Italy as well! I know I’ll be back!

But for now…

Arrivederci!

An EDD-ter’s Tour of Italy – Bologna

Historically a hotbed for free thinking and modern intellectual ideals, Bologna hasn’t changed much in many ways. Its young energetic inhabitants continuously pump a frenetic energy through this dynamic city, and its unique orange brick and terracotta architecture provide a kind of parchment upon which a living history is written day to day.

We spent the morning walking around the neighborhoods surrounding the Piazza Maggiore, but as we only had time for a quick stop before having to head out to Venice, we set our sights on finding a great place for a bowl of spaghetti bolognese.

Trattoria di Pietro is a small unassuming restaurant that feels comfortingly claustrophobic like your grandma’s house while at the same time, macho and masculine like an old school mafioso hangout. Was it the stuffed wild boar at the front of the restaurant or the table of four well dressed gentleman sharing a huge platter of grilled meats? Shrug. Either way, we knew were in for a no-nonsense rustic hearty meal.

Spaghetti bolognese
This dish deserves the fame it’s garnered across the world. Simple, rustic, hearty, bursting with flavor, and perfectly executed.

Stinco di maiale alla Pietro
As if the pasta wasn’t filling enough, I could not resist the roasted pork hocks and potatoes. This is definitely one of my favorite parts of the pig and these wise guys were well seasoned, roasted with juniper, and as tender as just-baked cake.

The only problem was trying to finish everything on my plate and convince my waistband it could stretch a bit farther; and not fall asleep on the drive to Venice.

Although, either way, it would be a beautiful death.

Next up: On the Venice-front