I'm not Italian by blood. But I am Italian by osmosis.
You see, I'm adopted. And my adoptive parents, who picked me up at the orphanage when I was a tiny six weeks old, are Italian on one side and English on the other. I have to say that the Italian side was much stronger and more gregarious than the English side, thus I feel more Italian than English.
My dad's parents are 100% Italian, both from Calabria, down in the "toe'' of Italy. Have you ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Well, my family's gatherings and weddings were eerily similar. Just call them My Big Fat Italian Weddings and you've got the idea.
Yesterday my dad flew down to visit us at my sister's house and it has been a cooking and eating frenzy since he arrived. Last night I made spaghetti all'Amatriciana for dinner, then this morning the meatballs were being mixed up by 9 a.m., with the final few finishing up their cooking about 11 a.m.
Just in time for brunch. Which consisted of meatballs in sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan, and bread.
It was heaven.
my oldest nephew, mixing up the meatball mix
brunch - meatballs with bread to soak up the sauce
After a third of the meatballs had been eaten and we were all regretting that we had enjoyed so many at our stomach's expense, my dad spied a pile of baking potatoes and decided that we should make cavatelli. Cavatelli is the Calabrian dialect for gnocchi. It is something that I grew up eating on holidays and visits to my grandparent's house. It was always a special treat and my grandma taught me how to make her cavatelli many years ago, but since then I've never taken the time to make it.
Today I had the opportunity.
Three generations of us, with grandma constantly being consulted on the phone, all made a huge batch of cavatelli.
dad making the dough
my sister and oldest niece making pasta
the dough before it is formed into the correct shape
my youngest niece learning how to make the pasta
the rolled out cavatelli
the cooked cavatelli with sauce
I feel very lucky to have grown up with both my Italian and my English parents. But I must admit, the food from the Italian side is much, much better!