Lockdown in Rome day 61

Sage and Parmigiano-Reggiano popcorn and a big Campari spritz for aperitivo. Because Saturday and we have a lot of sage in our garden. The popcorn was delicious. I went heavy on the sage.

I made pasta alla Genovese for dinner, a signature dish of Naples, not Genoa, even if its name literally means in the style of Genoa. Although, it probably wasn’t invented in Naples but in Palermo, Sicily in the 16th century, in what was at the time the Kingdom of Naples, by some entrepreneurial Genovese onion farmers and sailors who apparently planted the onions in Sicily and sold them in the port city of Naples where they were a big hit with sailors looking for food that would both travel well and prevent scurvy. Complicated. But it’s a tasty and classic sauce of onions, beef, herbs, and wine.

Also, who cares if its pedigree is a bit of a mess. It’s basically only found in Naples now and it’s delicious. It’s one of those super simple sauces that requires just one finicky ingredient usually in short supply, your time. It needs a lot of chopping and likes to simmer good and slow and long. But yep, we’ve got time in boatloads these days.

Unrelated, yesterday, I ordered books for my mother for Mother’s Day from Bartleby’s Books in Wilmington, Vermont. The order was magically completed in less than an hour and I received a thank you email from an actual person along with a confirmation that they would drive the books over to my mother’s house before 10 AM the very next day — for free. Who needs Amazon prime when we’ve got Vermonters?

I always make a point of stopping by Bartleby’s when I’m in the States. It’s a great bookstore and the cookbook and food writing sections are especially strong. My mom received two books, “Dirt”, the fun new book by Bill Buford about learning to cook in France which I am halfway through myself, and the new biography, “Pelosi” by Molly Ball.

Today’s lockdown menu: An egg on rye toast for breakfast. A lite version of eggplant parmigiana, (grilled not fried) for lunch. A Campari spritz and sage and Parmigiano-Reggiano popcorn for aperitivo. Pasta alla Genovese for dinner with a bottle of wine made from the native Sicilian grape, Nocera. Roberto also made a torta rustica (vegetable pie) just for fun. With two hobby cooks stuck at home, we have way too much food and are out of control.

Eat well. Stay safe. Support small businesses — I’d say local, but I ordered the books for my mom in Vermont from Italy 😉 I have multiple local locations…

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