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Pasta Norma, Ischia & Elizabeth

Posted in Caro Diario.(dear diary..), Share the Joy!, Travel & customs, Uncategorized, and upcoming books


share the joy

This week, Nunzio Addabbo, a  talented,retired writer who you can find more about
at :, and    shares this beautiful and touching story with us. Many Thanks to Nunzio for sharing, this sad, but endearing story..

Soon after my beloved wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer, she picked Italy for her final holiday. If she wanted it to be the moon, I’d figure some way to get us there. We made reservations and flew to Rome. Italy is beautiful in May and we toured much of the country the first three weeks from the magnificent Amalfi Coast to the Leaning Tower, ending up for our final week on one of Italy’s best kept secrets— the island of Ischia which is famous for its thermal baths and hot “fumaroles” along its sandy beaches. After stopping, shopping and eating gourmet meals at every city and village around the island, we made several stops at the gorgeous Poseidon Gardens, where Elizabeth underwent inhalation therapy, sulfuric mud-packs and massages, giving her hopes of recovery. The highlight of Ischia was our visit to Maronti Beach after breakfast. We rented a large umbrella and two beach chairs just under the Lido Nettuno Restaurant, where we would have lunch . I buried Elizabeth in the hot sand over a “fumarole.” Because Ischia is a volcanic island, fumaroles are warm to hot sulfur fumes rising out of the sand. Elizabeth slept soundly for three hours, until a waiter brought us a menu. Elizabeth an eponymous recipe historian, looked at the menu and chose PASTA a la NORMA. She needed to know the origin of this recipe and since I’m also a recipe historian and speak the Neapolitan dialect, I obtained the story from Chef Mario. The dish was named after the opera NORMA by composer Vincenzo Bellini, his greatest opera. This dish is prepared with San Marzano tomatoes, bucatini pasta and other fresh ingredients; and is truly unforgettable. My unforgettable Elizabeth died in my arms on December 16, 2003.


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