Monthly Archives: February 2021

Pasta for dinner!

Luther subscribes to Doctor Wine, an Italian wine and food site. Often I will find, in my inbox, a recipe he has forwarded that he has decided I should make. Every now and then I decide to make one and yesterday I did. This one was called Busiate al pesto di pistacchio e salmone affumicato or Pasta with pistachio pesto and smoked salmon.

Busiate is a fat long shaped pasta. It is made by wrapping maccheroni around a stem of a plant called Busa which grows in Sicily. This makes it a long twist of pasta. The pasta is a special shape from Trapani province on the west coast. It is traditionally served with a pesto made of almonds, pecorino cheese, garlic and olive oil.

I didn’t have Busiate so I used a fat spaghetti noodle. I have since found I can get the Busiate from Eataly. I will probably order some. Here’s the finished product. It was very tasty.

If anyone wants to try it the recipe is in the pull down menu [Recipes] at the top of the page. Also at the bottom of this page.
Italian sentence for today. “Ho mangiato bene!” In English, “I have eaten well!”. Pronounced — oh man-gee-ah-toe ben-ay! You can say this after you’ve eaten in a restaurant and it will make them happy.🙂
Stay safe all my friends! 🌈

Busiate con pesto di pistacchi e salmone affumicato
Serves 2
250 grams Busiate or fat spaghetti (about 8 ounces)
200 grams pistachios shelled and peeled (7 ounces)
50 grams olive oil (1/4 cup)
100 grams smoked salmon (3.5 ounces)
50 grams pistachios chopped (1.75 ounces)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Olive oil
Blend the pistachios with extra virgin olive oil and a little tepid water to obtain a soft cream. Adjust the salt. (I used an immersion blender to make the pesto.) Set aside.

Chop the smoked salmon, leaving 2 whole slices aside for decoration. Set aside.

Cook pasta in abundant, well salted water. Cook until barely al dente. Save a cup of the pasta water and put the drained pasta in a big roomy pan. Add pesto and chopped salmon. Toss over heat, adding some pasta water (not too much at first) to make a nice sauce in which to finish cooking the pasta. Add more water as necessary. When the water is absorbed and the sauce looks creamy, serve with the decorative salmon strips, the chopped pistachios and the grated lemon peel on top. Garnish with good olive oil.

Here we go again…Zona Rossa

As of today we are again Zona Rossa, or Red Zone. All of the province of Perugia went Red today from the previous Orange. This is nothing like the full lockdown we had last year. We have freedom to walk or run alone and we can both go shopping for food together. Last year we could not.

We will be Red for two weeks. Then they will re-assess. In reading the restrictions I don’t really see a whole lot different from the Orange restrictions. It doesn’t matter much for us since we routinely stay home except for essentials. The only thing is I just checked to see if our new Permessi di Soggiorno cards are ready – I check every week – and yep, now they are ready. The problem is we can’t travel to pick them up. I don’t think it would be deemed an emergency.
If you’ve been following this blog awhile you may remember back in our first lockdown, last spring, I did a post about my little, sad lemon tree. (Read original post) It is a very crooked little tree with a twisted trunk. I outlined how I was going to restrict its growth to one side then keep the new branches and any fruit over the base of the crooked trunk to help balance it over the center of gravity and keep it from tipping over. 😁 I had my share of Doubting Thomas’ last year…I am happy to report my plan worked. Take a look at it now and at how the fruit is over the pot. I am enjoying the fresh lemons!

And just playing around with my other new lens…yes, I bought two new lenses.

Well time for my Italian sentence. “il mio albero di limone ha sette limoni” in English, “my lemon tree has seven lemons”. Pronounced…eel meo al-bear-oh dee lee-moan-ay ah set-tay lee-moan-ee.

Hang in everyone…we are hunkered down in Umbria. Andrà tutto bene 🌈

Another regional dinner

Last Friday you may remember we had a dinner courtesy of Calagrana showcasing the Piedmonte region. This week we had a dinner showcasing the Marchese region. It was supremely tasty and a warming winter meal. Here is the menu. We did opt for the wine pairing this time and it was perfect.

Sentence for today “è proprio come la primavera oggi” or “it is just like spring today”. Pronounced Ay pro-pree-o come-ay la pree-mah-vara ohg-gee.
Stay safe everyone! Andrà tutto bene 🌈


A little thing I just realized…this is the first time in my adult life that I don’t know who is playing in the Super Bowl. And I just read that this coming Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday 😏. It is also the next super-spreader event…some advice, Don’t organize a party at home. Don’t go to a Super Bowl party.
It’s time to update on our Covid situation and also talk about the future of travel to and from Italy. The emergency declaration which allows the government to make quick decisions about Covid issues has been extended until mid-April and it will probably be extended again.

Most of Italy has been rated Zone Yellow. Unfortunately we here in Umbria are Zone Orange, threatening to tip over into Zone Red. We have a steady increase of cases. This morning I read two cases of the new Brazilian strain of the virus were found here. I also heard the worst numbers are in the Perugia province of Umbria. In Umbertide we have a very famous rehabilitation center, Prosperious. Turns out there are 26 cases just in that center alone! It has necessitated the close of our hospital.

Speaking of hospitals, the big medical center university hospital in Perugia, Sibillini, is being hammered. There was a photo with a line of ambulances waiting at the Pronto Socorso (emergency). They have closed it except for Covid and emergencies. They are not allowing any visitors. This is particularly hard on Italians as they expect to practically live in the hospital with their family or friends.

Vaccines. We have heard our age group has been pushed to no sooner than April. They are still vaccinating over 80 year olds and health workers. We visited our doctor today and she says they have no idea what is happening with the vaccine. So we wait. I read an interesting article in the Washington Post about what people who HAVE been vaccinated should be able to do, and not do. The biggest issue seems to be the new strains which are loose practically everywhere now. The UK, South African, and Brazilian strains. No one knows if the vaccine people are getting now, will be protection against the new strains. And no one knows if a person who has been vaccinated can still carry the virus and infect others. This means people who are vaccinated can feel a bit safer themselves against catching it or getting very ill if they do, but they still need to wear masks etc to protect others. Because of the uncertainty I think they still recommend against traveling even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Travel. The EU, and Italy, have no plans to loosen the travel restrictions. In fact things are tightening up even more. The Italian government updates its rules and restrictions about every 2 weeks. And they don’t try to predict any farther into the future than that. So there’s no way to tell when the travel ban will be lifted. My guess is not until most Italians have gotten the vaccine and we have gotten the disease under control here. We are far from that right now. They don’t predict the third group of people (under 60) to be vaccinated until October or November at the earliest. I don’t think 2021 will be the year tourists return to Italy. 🙁
Today I decided to make a old recipe I’ve been making for years. Rosemary flatbread. I ordered some dry yeast on Amazon because the stuff you get here is very unpredictable. This is just like the Fleischmans I used to get in the States. So to try it out, I made…flatbread! It was thicker than my previous loaves because I don’t have my big cast iron pan here. Still it was tasty.

Sentence in Italian “Il tempo non è freddo questa settimana” in English, “The weather is not cold this week”. Pronounced – eel temp-o non A fred-doh quest-ah set-tee-mahn-ah.

Stay safe. Don’t go to a super bowl party! Andrà tutto bene 🌈