I was dreaming and hoping to get to experience something really authentic while here in Italy. Its harder than it seems, even while spending many months here. We never quite tuned in with daily life here, the biggest challenge is adapting to the different times Italians, like the French and Spanish eat. Primarily, a big long lunch, and a late dinner. We often wanted to go out to dinner only to find that we were ready to eat much earlier than Italians even think about eating dinner.
I suppose we do plenty of authentic things, we shop where the locals shop, we attended some real local events and festivals, we have eaten pretty much exclusively Italian food while here. But, I wanted to understand how they live, and taste how they really eat at home.
So, while there were times that living in the country here felt a little isolating and lonely especially during the winter months... I am really glad we were able to get to know the Gatto family and will treasure the many shared afternoons, conversations and friendly exchanges. They couldn't be nicer!
I was thrilled when they suggested we could have a woodfired pizza lunch here and it made a perfect farewell to our time here.
First, making the pizza dough with Nonna. I will share the secret recipe!
For 1 batch of dough = enough to feed 4 people (this dough was made to rise in the fridge overnight)
- 1 kilo of flour type '0' here is best for bread and pizza. (In America she suggests the flour brand Manitoba)
- 1 package of yeast (7 grams)
Mix the flour and yeast in a large bowl
- 400 ml Milk (any type you have...)
- 400 ml water (room temp is fine)
Mix milk and water and pour slowly into flour/yeast gently folding together to mix. No need to overmix...
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Mix oil in halfway through mixing of flour and liquid
- 2 tablespoons salt
Mix salt in last
Knead for a few minutes. It didn't take long to knead and become the right consistency...
**** Nonna likes to knead in some lard at the end, other family members don't like it.
She then came over to start the fire, the day before the pizza party. Took quite a bit of tending to and lots of branches.
Finally, time to make the pizza! New types of pizza, I'd never tried before, all delicious.
Potato and rosemary, onions (cooked before in milk and butter) topped with sage, zucchini and anchovies, zucchini alone and one with only a cream cheese, wasn't called this here but tasted very similar.
For the red sauce pizzas, a kids favorite... hotdog and mozzarella and margherita.
And, in the oven they go! She said the traditional way is to cook on the stone, but they don't have the proper tools for this. I like the pan cooked though, with a little lard or oil, gives it a bit crispier crust. All were yumm, the favorite was the onion and sage.
No formalities. Monica's sister carried a tray around and everyone ate as they pleased.
We made a big fruit salad and veggie salad (Brooke's specialty with arugula, cherry tomatoes, olives, basil or rosemary, orange slices, oil and balsamic.
The kids slid down the hill and then did some drawing together at the table.
Dessert was a traditional cake they made with layers of different creams with a soft cake and red liquor. Super yumm. Our chocolate chip peanut butter cookies were a hit as well.
It was a really nice afternoon, the Gatto family is really much like ours, aside from some language barriers... felt like we were really in a home away from home:)