I’m so excited to be back in New York for my Fall visit! There is nothing like Autumn in New York for me as I like to walk through the many Parks and see the vignettes of trees in different stages of color. With a chill in the air I start to think of the nights that I miss so much with the smell of Chestnuts at so many vendor stands. Yes, food always plays a big part in all my reasons for wanting to move back up North! ;) It's always about the food and the seasons in which they coincide. I was thinking last night perhaps an apple cinnamon Martini would be great for the Fall! ;) It is still a little early in the month, but I did catch a few trees changing color in Riverside Park on Saturday as I was on my way to Pier i café. The picture above is one of them!
Actually the exciting part of my story today is that I was on my way to meet my “new” Cousin Debbie! She and her Husband Mark had been on Ancestry.com and connected on our Family tree. It’s really a small world as they say as our Great Grandfathers were Brothers. At any rate she contacted another cousin Louann who I’ve known from my childhood and Louann suggested Debbie contact me as well. She did, and through our emails we decided to meet up when I came to New York this trip. I arrived on Friday night and this past Saturday we met and spent a lovely afternoon and evening sharing Family stories and getting to know each other. She lives in New Jersey and like me has a Daughter that lives in Manhattan. When we met I was taken by her resemblance to my Dad and his family. I found myself studying her mannerisms to see if not only looks pass on but also personalities traits. She did remind me of my Dad once again as she is very organized! Although I am my Fathers Daughter that is one gene I didn’t get! ;) It was a beautiful afternoon by the Hudson and as we talked about our families, I was thinking of our ancestors and how happy they must be as well! Below are a few pictures of us. We're now looking forward to having more of our extended family members meet and share in our journey of a new generation !
Above shows the beautiful town of Amatrice before and after the Earthquake that hit on August 24th. At this time of year when we begin to enjoy the Fall Season and then the Holidays approaching, my thoughts are of the people of Amatrice, Italy. I am praying today for the people of Amatrice and all the other Towns devasted by this powerful Earthquake.
Amatrice is about an hour away from Rome by car. When we were in Italy two years ago we had decided to take the train from Rome to Naples and then the Water Taxi to Sorrento. We thought on our next visit we would drive from Rome and visit Amatrice then. I wanted to visit this town not only to taste their famous Pasta, but to have the chance to meet the locals and learn the legend of this tasty dish! Like many regions throughout Italy,Villages celebrate with Festivals that center around a particular recipe.
Amatrice would have celebrated its 50th Anniversay of Spaghetti all"Amatriciana this year on the weekend of August 28th! The devastation by this Earthquake and its 6.2 magnitude will forever be remembered. A town almost completely destroyed in the middle of the night. I'm hoping if we all remember and keep them in our prayers, the survivors will be blessed with the strength to rebuild and once again celebrate and honor the people lost.
The first time I tasted Spaghetti all"Amatriciana was in New York City in the early 80"s. My husband Rocco and I were going to see a show in the Theatre district and stopped for an early dinner in a little Trattoria on Eighth Ave. The funny thing is as Im writing this Post I don't recall the show we saw that night but will forever remember this particular Pasta Dish! ;) It was a small restaurant very nicely decorated using copper pots alongside of colorful dishes on the walls. The wait staff was so friendly greeting and thanking us in Italian which always adds a special touch to the moment. At any rate we were enjoying a glass of wine when the pasta was served and as the waiter put it in front of me I was so surprised to see it being presented in a black iron frying pan. My husband and I both had ordered it and we each had our own frying pan. It really was a unique presentation and clevor as well. They also put down a white dish and the waiter spooned some onto the plate and the rest kept warm in the pan that retains the heat. Between the presentation and the fabulous flavor it has been one of our favorite dishes for years. I use pancetta as its harder to find Guanciale (pork jowl or cheek) unless I'm in New York. Sometimes I make it with Fresh tomatoes and it's equally delicious. The secret is not to have the pasta swimming in sauce rather clinging with the olive oil being the adhesive that brings it all together. You always cook the pasta al dente and it will not soften in the frying pan while its being served.
Once again a simple meal and moment I will never forget with the surprise of a frying pan! Now remember I'm a foodie maybe some people would think serving in a frying pan is less than acceptable ...! :)
With that said I'm hopeful that after reading this you will keep the folks all over Italy in your Prayers for them to rebuild and restore their towns. Our hearts are especially rooting for the people of Amatrice hit so hard that they can come back for generations to come and savor the tradition of Spaghetti all'Amatriciana.
Recipe for Spaghetti all'Amatriciana
4 to 8 oz chopped pancetta or guaniciale, onions, garlic (opitional),red pepper,crushed tomatoes, Pecorino Romano cheese, Bucatini or Spaghetti or even Linguine. I keep my pancetta in the freezer as it easier to chop or slice. Adding red or white wine with the tomatoes is great too, just remember you need at least 25 minutes for the wine to cook out and blend with the tomatoes. Actually when I use fresh tomatoes I use about 4 oz red wine as it deepens the color of the sauce and creates a great balance with the olive and onions to coat your pasta.
Put a little olive oil in a frying pan just to coat and add Pancetta or Guanciale and then cook over low heat till lightly browned. If you have rendered too much fat remove some and save a few tablespoons of pancetta for garnish. Next add onions and garlic (optional) the red pepper and cook till transluecent. Add Crushed tomatoes and cook about 35-45 minutes stirring occasionally on a low flame. Cook your Pasta al dente and toss in pan with sauce. Serve with pecorino cheese and top with reserved pancetta . Add extra red pepper or cheese as desired.
I love all Seasons.........yet I think Fall is the prettiest! Although it has been the hottest summer I can remember since moving to Florida, I'm ready with Ghosts, Witches and Pumpkins to create the festive attitude only Fall brings. With "Any" (Im desperate) chill to the air Im pleased and immediately think soup on the stove and mulled cider in the late afternoons. I love the days as they get shorter as in the dark it looks cooler! ;) I put around lots of fresh smelling apple and mulled cider candles drape garlands of leaves and pretend I hear the whistling wind blowing them off the trees. Ok so I once again assessed the situation in Florida and booked my annual Fall trip and Carol's Halloween Party and fly out Oct 14th. I will roam Central Park and take in the color of the trees and listen to the Musicians playing (reminding me of the street players in Italy), sip cider and hopefully breath in some cool crisp air. I am so so fortunate to have Stephanie (myDaughter) living in the City who takes me in!
One of my favorite things about the City is the many Cultures of Food it offers. Instead of eating an entire meal in one restaurant , many times we enjoy grazing along the way with appetizers from different neighborhoods. Walking from the East Village over to China Town and Little Italy is one route we have enjoyed. From Indian cuisine to Ukrainian to China Town for my favorite Soup Dumplings, to approaching Little Italy where we stop at Banh Mi Saigon Bakery where we split our favorite pork sandwich. Keep in mind we are spliting one item so we're not really overeating;) or at least thats what I convince myself of! A cannoli and espresso at our favorite Pastry shop Cafe Pallermo and a visit with Ernie at E. Rossi and Company gift shop on Grand Street and then we're off walking briskly to the subway to burn some of those calories.
Another pastime I enjoy is shopping the Farmers markets and buying those special finds like Korean Sweet potatoes and fresh greens and crisp apples. I love filling my green market bag and talking with all the vendors. They are always eager to discuss ways to enjoy their produce for which they are so proud of. Artisans of food are the best! For me the access of public transportation rather than driving and parking etc are so inviting with urban living. I know there are drawbacks but for me it is what I truly enjoy. Window shopping, people watching and then back to the apartment to create a tasty meal. A simple day on a visit to see Stephanie but so many wonderful memories have been made with our City excursions.!
Welcome to Britalia Way! Thanks for stopping by. Please join me as I share with you a series about food, people and experiences that are special to me. English and Italian traditions are so enticing and were the inspiration for creating Britalia Way!
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