“Mangia, mangia!” “eat, eat!” Italians never seem to have enough food in their bellies!
Have you ever been invited for lunch by an Italian family?
An Italian mamma will never leave you alone until you have eaten at least double of what you need.
Then when you see a cheeky smile on her face then you will know that she is happy with how much she managed to feed you. Now you can sit back and relax, she will leave you alone!
Having grown up on large portions of food one of the things I first noticed when I moved to the UK is how much less food people eat at family dinners compared to an Italian family. I mean, we do really pig out but then I suppose we don’t snack afterwards until the next meal. After breakfast it is 2 square meals a day and that’s all.
What I love about an Italian mamma is that she never thinks it is too much hard work preparing a meal from scratch.
Here she is cleaning radicchio, Italian chicory. My dad brings her buckets from the field to clean up. They seem to go through mountains of radicchio through the winter!
Radicchio has a tougher and frankly more interesting texture than ordinary salad. This purple and green radicchio is a winter crop which needs to be tough to endure the cold winter months. Whenever I go to Italy I always take some back with me in my luggage.. I’d rather take that than fancy clothes, make- up and jewellery! As it is so fresh it lasts at least 2 weeks in the fridge.
Last time I visited we had a big family gathering. First, to get our tastebuds ready, we kicked off (as always) with a a good chilled glass of prosecco.
Always with food of course, never drink without it! And what could be better than Italian San Daniele or Parma ham rolled up on a big chunky and crumbly breadstick. We prefer San Daniele ham as it is produced just 40 minutes away from my hometown.
We quickly moved onto the antipasto: bresaola (air-dried salted lean beef) with arugola and parmesan cheese with a drizzle of olive oil.
Then a classic “mamma’s lasagna” soon followed. This is mum’s speciality, she makes the best lasagna in the world!
I always manage more than a slice!
Sometimes we also have “minestrina” or broth with little pasta or “pastina” during the cold winter months.
My mum is very good at spezzatino: Italian beef stew slowly cooked with tomato sauce.. so tender you can cut it with a breadstick! This is what we had after our first course or “primo”.
At last her homemade pumpkin cake with sultanas! The pumpkin was homegrown of course!
My sister was in charge of the dessert: a fab panna cotta with fruit of the forest. I must say this was delicious!
On this occasion we were treated with some “pasticcini”which were bought at the local patisserie shop.
We had these with a good boiling hot Italian coffee! Not sure I could have possibly fit in anymore food!!