Clean Out the Fridge Chicken Pasta–Don’t Look for This Dish in Italy

Over the years, I’ve taught a number of Italian cooking classes, one more enjoyable than the last and no doubt I’ve learned as much as anyone in the groups. A few minutes are always spent discussing the basic courses of an Italian meal while listening to a stellar Italian opera aria or two, though we rarely have time to make them all, more’s the pity. Having traveled to Italy a number of times, I learned it was no secret Italians themselves only have time for such luxurious repasts during special family get-togethers, Sundays, or holidays — much like Americans. In Naples, a tour guide confided to me, “We love just pasta for lunch; it’s a favorite. Or pizza!” It was cool hearing that.

Here in the states, pasta is rarely a first course (“primi”), which it is for that special Italian meal:

Primo / Primi or primo piatto / primi piatti – first plate/s, usually pasta or risotto; you could also have a “bis di primi” or “tris di primi”, where they give you a small portion of two or three different types of pasta so you can sample.

ITALY Magazine

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INSTANT POT: Tuscan White Beans with Sausage, Chicken, and Greens

I hope you had time between last week and this to make all my salads. Well, maybe you at least printed off a few recipes and are thinking in terms of trying one or two.

—  our front yard vaguely winterish

If not, could be you’re freezing cold and ready for a fast hot meal of beans and meat in the Instant Pot (Did you get one for Christmas?), which of course could be done in a Dutch oven, a slow cooker, or in a B-flat pot on the stove top should you so choose.

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Polpettone from JERUSALEM

Of course the first thing was to figure out how to pronounce the name of the dish. Here’s my best try:

poll-peh-TONE-ee

Then there was making it sound as if it were something to eat and not me yelling to get TONY to come in for dinner or take out the garbage. Hmph.  A tiny of furrow of the brows and then a barely-there right shoulder only shrug as I said this luscious word…. and I nearly sounded Italian. Well, to me, anyway. Continue reading