My boyfriend is flying in to Bologna to visit me over spring break. He is on a plane as I’m writing this and will land in 13 hours. I am enormously excited. There was a snow storm that delayed his flight by two days, which was disappointing, because now we only get to spend a week together instead of ten whole days, but it’s a way better than not getting to see him at all.
I’m not all that domestic or a good host, but I love to cook and I’m really excited to spend this time with him. There’s a pancetta-wrapped pork loin marinating with garlic and spices in the oven for tomorrow night. I stole the recipe from Giada de Laurentiis (who, to answer your question, is, in fact, the grand-daughter of famed Italian director and good friend and frequent collaborator of David Lynch, Dino de Laurentiis). I may also do an apple fennel stuffing and garlic mashed or oven roasted potatoes (they’re really big on the latter here; I just began to grasp the secret of making them–patience!), but who really knows? 2.5 kilos of pork. 100 grams of cured Italian bacon. It’ll be a grand ol’ time.
One thing about Italy (well, Bologna, at least) that I’ve noticed is that you have to know where to go as far as specialty products. I can walk just a few blocks from my house and get pancetta or prosciutto. I can’t necessary walk a few blocks from my house and get 5.5 pounds of pork. I never would’ve thought of pork loin as a “specialty product” in the states, but over here, not all macellerie are treated equally.
I’m not sure if we’ll travel or not. We were talking about going to Florence (that’s what the euro note was about), but that may or may not happen. Our time was cut a bit short with the weather and, to be honest, I really don’t want to be anywhere near a train station right now. I’ll be crying tears of joy the second he touches ground at Guglielmo Marconi.
I’ve been cleaning like a madwoman (cleaning is a thing I do best while in a frenzy), so I’m about to go scrub the bleach off my skin in the shower before trying to scrub the hard-water stains off the glass (there is a ton of calcium in the water here), but I wanted to reflect a bit on the things we absolutely have to do and see in Bologna.
First off, Buddy the Elf was wrong. Sure, candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup are principal food groups, but he missed one: gelato. I need to take il mio fidanzato to get gelato. And then, maybe gelato caldo. And then, maybe cioccolato caldo. If we have a chilly day. Or not. It’s just really good.
Also, classic Bolognesi piatti: tagliatelle al ragù or tortellini/tortelloni.
And Sangiovese. There’s this place called Cesari that has fantastic food and incredible Sangiovese. The thing about San Giovese is that it’s a fairly inexpensive wine–which is why I like it–but it tends to be a bit piccante. This one, however, was incredibly smooth. When I told him how much I liked it, he looked very pleased and proud and told me his father made it. I nearly burst into tears. I wanted to be proud with him. Only in Italy. Anyway, they produce all sorts of wines and I bought a Sangiovese so the Brenton and I could share a bit of Bologna while he’s here.
I recently bought a mattarello, which is a sort of rolling pin, but without the nested handles. After going to the agriculturismo with the BCSP group and learning to make tagliatelle, I wanted to be able to take that experience with me and make pasta. I’m hoping Brent and I can make pasta together when he’s here–and if not, when we’re back in the States–so he can experience that bit of Italy with me.
Then, I want him to see the major city sights with me.
The monuments and churches. Like, Le Due Torri and the red brick buildings and La Fontana del Nettuno and the Piazza Maggiore.
I want to take him around around il centro storico.
I’m really excited to show him the city.