Greetings, friend of Magnifico!
I’m Giulia, and I live in New York. As you can imagine, for over a month we’ve been literally “locked at home.” I’ve had to partially adapt my habits to create a new routine. In this dramatic global situation we cannot escape the rules with which we are rightly required to comply.
So let us discover ourselves, give time to the passions we have always had, and the new ones we can finally try out. For example, I’ve discovered yoga. I definitely love it, and enjoying the activity every day has helped me to feel better and more relaxed. Last week, during a yoga session on my terrace at home, I also enjoyed a beautiful pink sunset: it was awesome!
In general, I’ve tried to maintain my routine: as always, I get up at sunrise, I take an hour for myself with a good workout or stretching session, and then I eat breakfast with my favorite American coffee and chocolate oatmeal pancakes. Having a long breakfast at home is a habit that I had missed a lot. After breakfast, I start the working day. My room has partly become my office. Working all day keeps me busy and makes the day go by fast. In the evening, and above all during the weekend I dedicate myself to the kitchen: yesterday, for example, I made excellent sesame bread with Redoro Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil; the house gave off a delicious aroma. I’m rediscovering the passion for the first courses, like rice or pasta, which I often neglect during the busy weeks: the black rice of Tenuta Margherita with shrimp and zucchini is the new favorite dish at home. In addition, last week we tried the eliche (spiral-shaped pasta) from Pasta Cuomo with three kinds of cherry tomatoes: organic Agromonte Passata, Cœlsanus Dried Tomatoes, and fresh tomatoes. Wow! The taste was incredible.
Often my thoughts go overseas, to my family, my friends, my Italy, so affected by this terrible virus. Yet I know that together we can fight it.
Let us treasure these days at home, and support as best we can our beautiful Italy and the premium quality products it has to offer!
Greetings from Washington, D.C.’s cherry blossoms.
Though this year hardly anyone was able to enjoyed the full experience of the magnificent blooming trees in the Capital, I am not going to complain. I know that I have been privileged to have some freedom of movement, more than that of my beloved family and friends back in Italy. Here in Washington I can still enjoy being outdoors and taking a daily walk. This is a huge treat, as I am otherwise spending my quarantine in my small apartment. Like many of you, I began this period with a lot of big resolutions in my mind: clear my thoughts, focus my goals, reconsider my choices. (And in my case, try to lose some weight.) Spoiler alert: none of this is happening right now! I am just trying to dust off my spoon! I’ve never been a great or sophisticated “home-chef.” I have always preferred to eat. I love, I mean, really love, food but I have neither passion, patience, or inclination to cook. Before moving to the US, I had a brief “inspired” moment when I really adored cooking pasta. I just liked the idea of making pastas, some of them weirdly shaped, for my family and friends. Well, I am trying to do it again! And for this I turn to Magnifico and its pantry of wonders. If you, like me, are not the next Massimo Bottura, you can still put together a delicious and absolutely high-quality plate of pasta for you and your friends. All you need to do is browse Magnifico’s selection of pasta, tomato sauce, and extra-virgin olive oil. I genuinely enjoy making this simple pasta. My absolute favorite is paccheri alla ’nduja. You will need a box of paccheri, the short, tube-shaped pasta typical of the Campania region of southern Italy: my brand of choice is always Pasta Cuomo from Gragnano, one of the capital cities of Italian pasta. some tomato sauce (go for Agromonte’s Passata of Cherry Tomatoes: it is a jewel). You will also need some high-quality extra virgin olive oil. My favorite is Peranzana, from the Apulia region, produced by Agricola Piano. My last touch is ’nduja. I love this spicy cured and spreadable sausage from Calabria. (I could eat it every single day.) It is a little difficult to find here in the US, but I have a secret supplier! While your paccheri are boiling to the proper al dente consistency, put in a large pan olive oil, onion and some ’nduja, add the cherry tomato passata, salt it, and let it cook for 15 minutes. When your pasta is almost ready, drain it and let it cook for a couple of minutes in the pan with your spicy sauce. When the paccheri are ready I’ll have broken yet again my promise to cut carbohydrates, at least for today!
Quarantine, day 36
It’s been more than a month since I’ve worn boots or a pair of jeans. I have three track suits, and I alternate them. I am spending my quarantine in Sardinia, my Italian island home. It is almost summer here, so finally I can use light t-shirts every day.
I work in New York City, but I was on vacation back home when the United States instituted its travel ban with Europe. Though I’ve been stuck here, I don’t regret the idea of staying in Italy, because I now have the chance to spend time with my family, something that I miss since I live abroad.
Mine is a very traditional Italian family, so we spend a lot of our time cooking. Pasta above all, for lunch rather than dinner, and with many different kinds of sauce: tomato; pesto; zucchini and shrimp (one of my favorite); carbonara; or tomato, eggplant, and ricotta. If I wake up early we make tagliatelle, or gnocchi, which we make from scratch, starting with flour and eggs. If we don’t have much time we carefully choose a commercial brand of pasta. Last week for example, I followed some advice from our Magnifico experts and I tried spaghetti made by Agricola Piano, and rigatoni made by Pasta Cuomo. There is no difference between them and the best pasta made by Italian grandmothers. Amazing.
Something that I’ve been proud to learn during this quarantine is how to make ravioli by hand. It takes a lot of time to work the flour. We made them with fresh pecorino cheese, and the sauce was a simple tomato sauce (I love the Agromonte’s Cherry Tomato Passata).
If we cook in the morning, I spend the afternoon working a bit and talking on the phone with family and friends. When I find the energy (not so often, unfortunately) I also work out. I don’t watch much tv, but I love to read and write, and I spend a lot of my time writing. It is both my job and my passion.