I was in the grocery store staring at a wall of 10 different types of butter. Dana had again run off to go get a store employee to help me find the ingredient I was looking for. I needed "burro sensa salle" (butter without salt) for the chocolate cupcakes she, Elena and I were baking that afternoon. After looking for 5 minutes I had given up on finding it by myself, so we had again called the very patient store employee to our aid. It turns out in Italy, all butter is without salt unless expressly stated otherwise (I need to learn to read the list of ingredients better) which is the opposite of the U.S., we like our food salty! This process was repeated again with buttermilk and baking soda (which it turns out don't exist here). I struggle with cooking here because I have a hard time with English to Italian translations of ingredient names, and I'm very literal with recipes (which doesn't work so well when the measurements are different and not all of the ingredients can be found here!). However, what I love about grocery shopping here is that all the ingredients are so fresh and appear to be far less processed than their American counterparts (you can't beat Italian meats and cheeses!).
Anna had gone away for the weekend so it was just Dana, Elena, Alexandra and I. Saturday we had gone to the seaside, made a pasta dish with a tomato and speck sauce and made a music video (which will never see the light of day). Sunday was our baking and cooking day. The plan was for chocolate cupcakes and fresh pasta with Bolognese sauce. Despite the substituted ingredients and a temporary problem with the oven, the cupcakes were quite a success with the girls. The fresh pasta however was a completely different matter.
|Me still somewhat optimistic|
After three hours of struggle, I again rolled the pasta dough back into a ball, and covered head to toe in flour, dropped it on the table in frustration. No matter how much flour we had added (and believe me the girls had added plenty, they loved adding flour, much more than the recipe called for) the ball of dough stuck to the table every time we tried to roll it out. This final attempt took with it the last of my patience and so I sighed "I give up". The Bolognese sauce was absolutely delicious and meaty but was eaten with store bought dried penne.
|Fresh pasta with tomatoes and peas|
The next day, Monday, I decided to make one final attempt on my own, as the saying goes, on Sunday, there had been "too many cooks in the kitchen". I rolled out the dough somewhat successfully and after letting it dry, now attempted to slice it into noodles; for my troubles I got a log of clumped together dough. About 45 minutes later and with only half the dough edible, I had a plateful of misshapen, individually cut noodles, which I cooked with a tomato, thyme and pea sauce. Too bad it turns out the girls don't like thyme.
Other than the cooking fiascoes, the last few days have been quiet. I have taken to walking by the seaside in the afternoons and stopping for a gelato and coffee at what are now my usual gelataria and cafe. However, with tomorrow being Halloween in the states (it isn't as big here), I plan to go to a Halloween/Autumn market in the afternoon in Pesaro and then possibly Corinaldo at night for their big village Halloween party!