Italian Food – Traveling From Home

Walking the cobble stoned streets of a small Italian village, we pass through a waft of fresh cooked herbs, and hear the clink of wine glasses. We follow our noses to the inside of a small restaurant and take a seat. We’re surrounded by locals, sharing the cuisine of their ancestors.

We can blink our eyes and are off visiting our favorite places in the world. While in quarantine during the Coronavirus pandemic, Kelsey and I are finding creative ways to travel from home. One of the easiest ways for us is to use our noses and taste buds to take us to dreamy travel destinations. A similar curiosity and passion for exploring can be captured in the kitchen.

Today we decided to “visit” Italy, the food capital of the world. We also enjoy the cooking process (an excuse to have more wine) and tonight we will be making three Italian dishes. Join us on on our food trip to northern Italy.

Caprese Salad

Fresh cut basil from our garden
Caprese salad

Just mozzarella, tomotoes, basil, and a splash of balsamic on top and you have a Caprese Salad. Created by a patriotic Italian (the layered colors represent their flag: 🇮🇹) the raw ingredients do the talking here. Pick a high quality cheese, opt for tomatoes from a farmers market if possible, and grab fresh basil – Kelsey was excited to pick some from our herb garden!

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Seasoning the focaccia with sliced rosemary
Fresh focaccia from the oven

This is the smell that will make your mouth water and is a staple on the Italian dinner table. You take simple dough, spread it thin onto a pan, cover it with olive oil, poke indentations, and sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary (fresh not dried). When it’s done baking it’s thin, crispy, and makes the house smell amazing. Here’s a simple recipe I’ve been loving from Oh Sweet Basil’s blog.

Gnocchi Pasta

Rolling the gnocchi
Gnocchi – fresh from the butter/sage skillet

Made popular by northern Italians who have a climate better suited for growing potatoes than wheat – we have gnocchi! Chewy little pillows of joy, this is one of the easier pastas to make from scratch. You mix boiled potatoes, eggs, flour and spices in a bowl, roll out the dough, slice into little squares, roll on a fork, boil, then pan fry with butter and sage. This is a fun one for date night because it’s so hands on. This video from Tasty breaks it down nicely.

Photo we took while in Florence last year

We are only limited by our imaginations. Thank you for traveling with us to Italy, try your own variation of these items, grab a bottle of bold Chianti and enjoy – Buon Appetito.