Cooking in Southern Italy begins with wonderfully fresh ingredients which are available on street corners every morning of the week. Olives? Berries? Pomodori? Basilico? You want it? You got it. I have a pretty good sense of flavors but I have the American affliction of “More is Better”.
So Many of the dishes here in Calabria are simple yet brimming with flavor.
When I was walking in Diamante a woman stood beneath all of the balconies of drying peppers.
She was standing in her doorway slicing a small melanzana with a large knife. I looked interested and she invited me in. She diced the unpeeled eggplant and placed it in hot oil until it browned.
Just skim the small pieces of eggplant from the oil and place them in the pomodoro. Add oregano or basil. Ecco!
A fellow shopper at market showed me the best
eggplant to buy and shared instructions for what I would call eggplant parmesan. Not so complicated as my recipe books and delicious with added zucchini, fresh tomates, buffalo mozzarella and a bit of pecorino.
I am so in love with the ingredients available in Calabria that I have to add some photos below. The richness of color, texture and flavor is enough to create fine dining without trying.
But we must have pasta. There is no describing the satisfying texture of the pasta here. From the homemade spaetzl served by our neighbor to the pappardelle in the local taverna, it can’t be equalled. On the very last morning, after having stuffed our bags with fusilli to take home, our loving landlady interrupted our packing for a lesson. We were given instructions and the proper tools to recreate this at home.