If it weren’t for my sister-in-law, Olivanna — Zia O to my girls — I’d starve to death. Well, almost.
She’s wined and dined me for years. Normally, I find myself at la tavola on any given Sunday for pranzo (lunch) sampling her delicious, mouth-watering dishes typical of the Vicenza province — part of the Veneto region of northeastern Italy — and, on occasion, beyond the “county line.”
A walking, breathing culinary encyclopedia, Zia O is the “queen of the kitchen” for our extended family tree.
Whether on the cooktop, the oven, the cutting board, etc., Zia O’s always conjuring up something new and exciting to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. And, this Sunday was no exception.
She called: Let’s do lunch. So, I drove right up.
Olivanna did all the heavy lifting, and I just sat there feasting like a king. No, way better!
Here’s what Zia O prepped:
First course: Homemade parsley ravioli filled with potato and mortadella, bathed in melted butter and pistachio nuts.
Second course: Roasted chicken wrapped in pancetta (bacon); new potatoes; baby spring peas sautéed in onions and parsley; and, cooked catalogna (chicory) and verze (savory cabbage) winter greens.
Dessert: Forest berry mousse semifreddo (semi-frozen) cake, market-fresh Clementine Mandarin oranges and Bartlett pears, and caffè doppio macchiato (frothy double shot of espresso coffee).
Wine pairing: Pinot Nero, a superb DOC grape from Cantina Maculan in Breganze.
If anyone was meant to be totally at home in the kitchen, it is, without a doubt, Zia O. And, if anyone was meant to go around with a knife and fork in hand, it’s me.
©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images
La dolce vita – and you are living it! Almost 6 am here in the states but I could eat any or all of the above right now.
MG — I take no credit. Zia O does all the work. I’m one lucky fella, that’s for sure.
Can I come over for a meal?? They always sound and look so delicious! I wish I had a family member like Zia O!
I think everyone deserves to have a Zia O somewhere on the family tree. Thanks for the note,
Tom, Olivanna has always amazed me with her easy style and delicious recipes. She inspired me many years ago when they still lived in Ottawa to get into fresh pasta making and so I bought a machine and the rest is history. I’ll have to call her today and get some recipes from her, my mouth is watering. Happy eating and Happy New Year. It will be a wonderful one for you and your little (growing) family.
Donna — Zia O could make boiling water taste good. 🙂
Really, you are one fortunate recipient of her culinary expertise. Yummy just does not cover your descriptions and images.
Thanks, Sally. And, yes, I thank my lucky stars every time she calls as says, “Let’s do lunch.”
Fabulous! Everyone needs a Zia O in their lives. What a star! Orna
Orna — Are you not a Zia O to someone? 🙂
Indeed I am! Quick of you to spot that. 🙂
Well, your name (both ends) begins with an O, and if you’re an auntie, too, then you’re also a Zia O. See you domani alle 10.00 in piu.
I’d love to know more about the butter/pistachio “sauce” for the ravioli. Does she toast the nuts, etc? Would she share the recipe…or the general idea, if she doesn’t have a recipe? It would be a great addition to the walnut sauce recipe I use for mine, one that came from the Italian grandmother of Loretta Paganini, who runs a wonderful cooking school and culinary institute in the Cleveland area. (If any of your readers are interested in Loretta’s sauce, which always gets repeat requests, it’s here: http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/06/26/after-youve-made-ravioli-make-the-ravioli/.)
Janet — I’ll ask Zia O to give me the recipe and I’ll pass it along, or, better yet, have her make it again and I’ll photograph the steps, then, of course, partake of the finished product. 🙂
You are killing me with this Tom
That was not my intent mon ami. 🙂
I want a Sunday with Zia!!!! 😕
Pay me a visit and I’ll make it happen. 🙂
My mouth is watering! 🙂
As it should be. 🙂
I am late in reading this – like by a week. But eat your heart out, sweetheart, we are having hot dogs, deli cole slaw and beer in front of the TV as we watch the Packer fans freeze their buns off.
Pat — You’re not on the clock to read my blogs, just whenever you get around to it. Good FB grub you’re enjoying. Go Pacers!