Ahh the Italian countryside..beautiful and so rustic, quiet. But work still goes on… I have been getting so many emails from colleagues, assistants and more telling me how they wish they were here with me in Italy. Recently an ezine from Austarlia decided to catch up with me to ask me what life is like living in rural parts of Italy. Here is the interview:
But coming to Italy at least for me is another place I work at. Just because I am in Italy does not mean I am lounging on the beach on the Riviera or doing the fashionable ‘passegiata’ everyday on the Via Veneto.
I am well connected by internet, internet phone, portable office and fax. I am also doing some work on our farms here- that may mean assisting with picking the fruits and vegetables,conserving them and preparing them into dishes as well as continuing to experiment with them in developing new recipes.
Of course I would rather work out of my office here and be able to look out my window and see a view of the mountains of Abruzzo, it is inspiring.
Living rurally also has its’ benefits though of making it easy to pick up local produce and locally produced products. pecorino produced here in Abruzzo is one of my favorite cheese but the process of making cheese from the sheep milk produced here is really unfortunately a dying art. So it is difficult to find this cheese from this region anywhere else.
But my recipe for today is one that contains pecorino cheese but the pecorino cheese that is easier to find in the rest of the world. It is a pecorino romano-which has a sharper taste. This dish like all traditional Italian dishes is simple but delicious, healthy for you and has some historic significance since it is connected to Pecorino Romano cheese which is an artisan process that dates back to the medieval times in Rome and Lazio.
Here is one of my favorite pasta dishes. It makes for the best and simplest combinations of cheese and pasta you can find.:
Cacio & Pepe
*1 lb of spaghetti (made from durum wheat)
*1/2 cup pecorino romana cheese freshly grated
*dash of freshly ground black pepper
*Extra Virgin Oilve Oil
Cook the past in lightly salted water. The cheese you will be using is salty so in this case you only want to lightly salt the water and don’t want to give the pasta an overly salty taste. It will disrupt the balance of the taste combination of the pecorino and spaghetti. Cook spaghetti for time indicated.
Drain pasta, but reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water. In a bowl add some of the reserved cooking water (a little at a time ) to the grated pecorino cheese. Stir till you get a smooth sauce and cheese is melted. Toss in the pasta. Top with a dash of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and your dish is ready. Please serve hot!
For more recipes and tips get your copy of the best selling book at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at http://www.marialiberati.com