Forza Italia, when you can’t travel to Italy, bring Italy to you

These are unusual times we are living in to say the least……… 

As I write this, we are sheltered in place in San Francisco due to the Corona Virus.  Schools are closed and so during the week my husband and I are working remotely and entertaining our almost 5 year old the best we can while trying to be productive and meet our hours and goals at our respective jobs.  We survived week one of working remotely while being sheltered in place only to make it to the weekend and realize now what? 

Everything is closed, the only places that are open are grocery stores and many out of stock of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wipes and most foods.  We wanted and needed to differentiate the weekend from the week for both us and our toddler but how? The outdoors is fortunately still available it’s Springtime and the weather is good so we tried to sleep as late as we could (in case you are wondering, that’s 8am when you have a toddler)  We managed to go for a hike both Saturday and Sunday.  Hiking allowed us to enjoy nature clear our heads and get some exercise but that still left a lot of time to kill to entertain our son until bedtime. 

During the week we are using Khan Academy, ABC Mouse and many other online tools to keep our son engaged and learning so we can work .  We are also doing  arts and crafts and other fun activities but we wanted the weekend to be different and distinguishable. Yesterday other than making a trip to the grocery store and getting out for a hike we decided to primarily relax and take it easy.  Today I came up with an idea, if a food wine and travel blogger is unable to travel what else can she do but try to bring the experience of another place to her and her family………..

We are Italian by heritage and have family still living there.  Right now things in Italy are pretty dire so in honor of our heritage and our family, we decided to pay tribute to Italy by making pasta.

The recipe for pasta is very easy. Take 2 cups of flour and a bit of salt mix them together, put them in a mound in a bowl or on the counter, make a well in the middle ie a nice little hole for the eggs and then whisk them into the flour until a dough is formed.  You might need to add some olive oil or water to help the dough come together.  Once it does, roll the dough into a ball place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap at least 30 minutes.  Then cut into slices and put thru a pasta maker to make whatever kind of noodle you want to make. 

My toddler loved helping me with this part, especially hand cranking to cut the pasta.  I have an old school metal pasta maker made in Italy.  If you have one pull it out.  If you don’t, please consider supporting an Italian or local business and have one shipped to you.  It takes a lot of time to make pasta by hand but when sheltered in place, time is something we all have a lot of, especially on the weekend.  You have to cut the dough into strips and then crank each piece thru 8 times from setting 8 to setting 1. Each time you put it thru, fold it in half and then put it back thru so it gets thinner and thinner.  You can then use the cutter to get the noodles in what ever shape or cut you desire, we did spaghetti and fettuccine.

We played Pavarotti while we made our pasta for the full Italian experience and tonight we will enjoy our pasta with a nice Italian wine.   Tasting rooms are all closed in California so consider going online to buy from a small local producer. For some producers they only way they sell their wines is online or at the winery.  Or when you go to the Grocery Store to buy essentials, buy an Italian varietal to complement your homemade pasta.  I am from Piedemonte so am partial to Barbera or Dolcetto but San Giovese, Chianti, Zinfandel, will all complement your pasta well. Add pesto which you can buy in jar or make a marinara by stewing tomatoes, garlic onions and peppers and to make it more hearty add sausage or meatballs.

Pull out a map or go online so your kids can see where Italy is on the map.  Read about what Italy is known for, fashion, food, opera, architecture.  
Just because you can’t go to a place does not mean you can’t learn about it and experience some of what it has to offer.

I hope this post has inspired you to try and experience another country and its food music and culture.  My toddler, my husband and I are all excited for dinner tonight.

Forza Italia! We are thinking of you and hoping that others around the world can and will learn form your experience, shelter in place and take the threat of Corona Virus seriously!

Buon Appetito & Alla Buon Salut!   

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