It was cold and rainy, “perfect for lentils,” Maria said, as I peeked my head into the kitchen to see what she was preparing this time. I agreed and watched her assemble our second course - fresh latticini from Minervino, a neighboring town with exceptional cheeses. ("Because they only use good cow's milk!" Pino interjects.) Three beauftiful orbs of mozzarella occupied one dish while a dome of ricotta sat atop another. Then there was the stracciatella, with its creamy, stringy, rich goodness that makes my knees weak.
Pino usually wonders aloud why I’m not drinking wine with the meal, “The cold water is bad for you! Drink wine!” but of course I don’t tell him it’s because Manu and I split a bottle the night before.
After lunch and a gorgeous nap on the couch with Barbara, we awoke to the smell of coffee gurgling on the stove. C’ bella veit. (In dialect, “Nice life.”)
Barbara had fun with my new camera and after every shot would say, “Definitely put this one on the blog.” or, “You better not put this one on the blog!” Here are some.
Maria in her balcony garden
Wash lentils with cold water. Place them in a pot and cover them with an abundant amount of cold water. Cook over a high flame and when it starts to boil add two or three cherry tomatoes chopped in half, a good sprinkling of parsley, three cloves of garlic still with the skin on (Maria says, “with their clothes on”). Let that cook for about an hour on low and cover. Stir every now and then. Add your salt at the end when the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. Maria likes her lentils over rice but you can also serve them over a small pasta like ditalini. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle crushed red pepper over each bowl.