This past week my Italian heritage has consumed our family food preparation. Summer is ending along with the production of the staple vegetables in everyone's gardens. I have been blessed the past several days with lots of eggplant, basil, parsley, oregano and lots of different peppers from our garden and thanks to Aunt Rosalie a big bag of Roma tomatoes. So when life gives you goodies like these you can't help but cook Italian!
The past several days have been spent filling the house with the aroma of me making fresh pesto sauce with the basil, parsley and garlic I grew, a big pot of Pasta E Fagoiloi (pasta bean soup) and a big batch of Caponata (Italian Eggplant appetizer.) I also cooked down the remaining tomatoes which were then transformed into my homemade pasta sauce.
One thing so many people overlook is the simplicity of Italian cooking, whether it is the hearty meals of the north or the delectable seafood plates that have made Sicily famous. Authentic Italian cooking is made of simple ingredients that are on hand and cooked with love. Don't get me wrong I can make an impressive fancy meal and it too would be "Italian" but in my honest opinion the meals that are my favorite comfort foods are made up of a little of this and a little of that. If you can embrace the idea of using what you have in your refrigerator, freezer, pantry and back yard garden to make a meal without the need to follow a recipe, I promise that you will never go hungry and will end up eating the best meals ever.
I was blessed growing up with an Italian mother and grandmother who not only loved to cook, they loved to spend time teaching me how to cook. I may have gone to school for formal chef training but it is my childhood experiences that I fall back on every time I'm in the kitchen, whether I am cooking for my family or for a large group of people. I guess that is why I am proud to have Aquilino as my middle name and have many friends, family and even the occasional stranger consider me a...
I will be sure to post pictures of the food throughout the week - feel free to let me know in the comment section if you have any questions about the preparation of the dishes!