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Thomas Jefferson..Monticello..inspired by Italy

Posted in Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Holidays, La Dolce Vita, recipes, the Mediterranean diet, Travel & customs, Uncategorized, and Upcoming Appearances



COPYRIGHT 2010, Maria Liberati/art of living PrimaMedia,Inc

As we are enjoying our evening meal alfresco with fireworks bursting below us…patriotic thoughts of one of my favorite signers of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson….he was so inspired by his travels to Italy that he gave a Tuscan winemaker some land contiguous to Monticello to cultivate. He also hired many vintners from Italy to cultivate his gardens..he illegally  ‘smuggled’ rice in his coat pockets on one trip back from Italy and he also carefully researched the olive production in Italy and recommended their cultivation to acquaintances in South Carolina.

So inspired by the works of architect Andrea Palladio that he consulted his books as bibles for the construction of Monticello.   Palladio was an admirer of ancient Rome as was Jefferson and he said that   “Roman taste, genius and magnificence excite ideas”

Also inspired by the Italian language ,he taught it to himself while a student at William and Mary but he made sure it was included in the languages studied at the University of Virginia in 1764.

While Ambassador to France he toured much of Italy-especially the north and spent some time finding out how Parmigiano-Reggiano was produced,he even looked for a machine to make macaroni to bring back to the US..

One of Jefferson’s favorite wines was a Montepulciano.So who would have thought that this pasta dish served with a Montepulciano could be considered patriotic? it is if you are  celebrating the Fourth with Jefferson in mind!

Pasta with Fresh Zucchini


pasta with zucchini

2 ounces ricotta

2 cups white flour

1 ½ cups cold water

pinch of salt and pepper to taste

2 zucchini

10 cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons plain tomato sauce


Place flour on wooden board and shape into a well. Place water and salt in center of wekk. Blend by hand and work the dough till smooth and well blended. Let rest for 2 hours covered with a clean towel.

Divide pasta ball into 4 portions. Roll out each portion on well floured board. Cut into noodles that are ½ inch thick with the help of a pasta machine or by hand.

Cut each noodle into smaller strips. Sprinkle with flour, let sit.

Place olive oil in saute pan with the zucchini that has been cut into quarters. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Place in tomatoes that have been cut in quarters with the plain tomato sauce. Let simmer together for 5 minutes. Add in salt as desired. Turn off heat.

Boil water ion pasta pot. Place in fresh pasta, cook for 2 -4 minutes (taste after 3 minutes do not overcook). Drain. Place in saute pan with zucchini, toss, serve with grated dried ricotta

In honor of our founding fathers, serve with a Montepulciano and don’t forget the fireworks

For more recipes get your copy of the book selected as the Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition.

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Sept 9-12 ,see you at the Hudson Valley Wine Festival in Rhinebeck, NY


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