The last week of July was spent with so much walking I felt like I lost 5 kilos as I go…then again, it was also spent eating here and there that the kilos lost came back too soon! And where did our itchy feet took us, you might ask? Hubby and I went to five cities in a one-week stretch and drank history along with art, old architecture, cars, Vespas and heat in sunny, sophisticated, busy Italy.
Among the cities we’ve seen, Florence – dubbed as the Athens of the Middle Ages impressed me the most. Being on the streets walked upon by the artists responsible for the Renaissance, I had a good feeling I might be able to write my own book while there (lol). Seeing the spots Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks trailed made Inferno a much more tangible story for us both.
Morning walks -I just love the empty streets, the cool breeze and that distinct scent that only those certain times of the day bring…no matter which city. The nostalgia, the cobblestones and the foggy horizon makes up for a perfect mood.
Though we are walking buddies, hubby and I would spend some hours apart sightseeing by ourselves, taking photos of what we would see. I ended up exploring the streets leading to Il Duomo while hubby went over to the side of Ponte Vecchio. And just like in any city, I did another thing I enjoy most: people-watching. Shooting scenes (and crowd), Florence’s old-world architecture and charm – here and there, it took me a full two hours.
Within those two hours, I had another quest – find an appropriate restaurant perhaps and get a taste of the region’s take on pasta, a wee bit. Ahh, writing about the food experience while travelling is another thing I love to do! It’s like having a chunk of locality – relishing a cuisine that a particular city is known for. So walk I did and of course a number of trattoria, ristorante, gelateria and pizzeria abound. Italy’s rich food culture can be perceived literally in the open- the streets. There’s garlic, pungent and welcome-y sauteed in olive oil, lemony fresh peels just off the board and you’ll catch some fresh basil blending along the busy kitchen rush!
Just a stone’s throw away from the Il Duomo I found a restaurant with a hidden garden – a perfect spot to have a quiet lunch amidst the busy, touristy streets. Well, the garden was very quiet, so eat, I did. That’s at Little David (I’ Daviddino) at Via de’ Martelli.
My first choice up the menu is anything with salmon and caviar – I have always been fond of fish on pasta (can’t remember how many times I’ve reiterated this) that I have often featured dishes to cook with salmon in this blog. The offering on the menu is farfalle with white sauce, so I had that.
I’m not a big eater so I was ok with the serving but others might say it wouldn’t suffice a hungry tummy or someone who did a walkathon – under the Tuscan sun. And who would complain about al dente pasta, rich thick sauce, salmon bits and caviar bursting wonderfully into a yummy spoonful? Not me. You might argue that I should have also gotten a Bistecca Fiorentina or Ribollita…well, hubby called just when I was finishing and said we would be eating dinner at a lovely restaurant he saw – so we did have those for dinner but let’s save them for another post.
Far from forgetting the flavors and scents, I’ve made a similar dish at home recently. This time, I could generously topple a plateful with lots of caviar…
And here’s what you need:
half a kilo Farfalle (bow-tie pasta, cooked per package directions)
¾ cups butter
2 cups whipping cream
½ kilo smoked salmon, sliced to pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a sauce pan, melt butter and add cream. Stir constantly and bring to a boil.
2. Lower heat and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
3. Add salmon, parsley, salt and pepper (caviar could make it for salt though). Simmer a bit and remove from heat.
4. Pour over pasta and toss gently.
5. Serve, top with a spoonful of caviar or how much you like and garnish with more parsley. There, one hearty meal to remember the Italian coast by.