Alessandro's mother is from Italy and his father is from Iran.
They are an amazingly non-american family and we were delighted to stay with them for the weekend. This is their home, for visual affect.
Vilma cooked for us all weekend. It was the most authentic italian cooking I've ever had. It was very delicious. The espresso, the wine... sigh.
Italian food has a poor reputation in the United States I think. Olive Garden, Carrabbas, Pizza Hut... there are so many poor imitations of italian cooking that we come to think of Italian as spaghetti with sauce from a jar. Plus, most of the United States is on a high protein low carbohydrate diet and people tend to assume pasta will make them fat. A giant lie I might interject.
The meal that I simply must tell you about was Saturday night. Vilma made Lasagna for us. She made the noodles. She made the sauce. This was no ten minute boil and bake deal. She started cooking when we left in the morning and dinner was still warming in the oven when we returned. The pasta was so thin and light, it was like baklava but with meat and tomato sauce instead of honey and nuts. It was so delicious. As we sat down to eat Vilma looked at the plate
and said with a laugh, "This is it? I cook all day and it looks so small." I wonder if that's why we avoid Italian cooking, it is so simple that it looks like less. The taste was nothing less than any big showy meal. Maybe us Americans should let food taste good and stop worrying about making it art on a plate or low carb.
and yes, just to make you all a little jealous that shiny aluminum pan is the lasagna that Vilma sent us home with. That is dinner tonight and Chris and I are more than a little excited.