Many of us dream of living abroad in a country rich in history, art, culture, beauty, and amazing food. Personally, my ideal day as an expat includes drinking strong cups of coffee, eating simple regional cuisine, indulging in wine, and then repeating that cycle three times a day (four if I can get away with it). Throw in museum hopping, shopping, sightseeing, and lots of napping and I’m happy. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to begrudge Deborah Mele, an American who lives in Umbria, Italy, for six months of the year. On her blog, Italian Food Forever, she shares recipes from her Italian life that make me wish dreams were anything but.
I served this simple yet flavourful Spaghetti with Chile Shrimps & Tomatoes for lunch on a sunny Saturday afternoon. It was a lazy day and my husband and I took our time over lunch, talking about small stuff and discussing the meal. That’s the kind of leisurely day it was. I love olive oil sauces with pasta, and the garlic and chilis work perfectly with the tomatoes.
For all of the recipes featured on IFF, you can create a shopping list or add to your own recipe box. I don’t know about you, but when I’m surfing for recipes, literally drooling over my keyboard, I’m in “the zone.” I like that everything I’m interested in is neatly compiled in one spot for later perusal. I discovered this recipe for Pork Chops in Balsamic Vinegar when I was in “the zone.” I’m so glad balsamic vinegar has proven to be more than a food trend; it is so versatile and can elevate any dish from the middle of the road. I recommend serving these over garlic-mashed potatoes.
“I hope to inspire everyone to try new recipes, and to fully experience the joy of Italian cuisine.”
One of my favourite Italian foods is the panini, particularly one with salami, arugula, mozzarella, and roasted red peppers fused together between slices of warm ciabatta. Incredible. Since I made this Chunky Olive Spread, though, I think there might be a new star on the menu. Salty from the olives and capers (yes!!), balanced by roasted red peppers, and kicked up with a dash of chili flakes, it makes a great spread for sandwiches. I spread it in my panini with roasted vegetables, just like Deborah suggested, and I could see why she fell in love with it in a panini bar in Milan years ago.
All pics via Italian Food Forever