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.
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.
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