It’s good to have friends with food trends … or is it because we like our food that we become friends in the first place?
Whatever … let me introduce you to three of them.
(A) Entry number one is Liz. She has an Italo-Australian background and her home cooking ranks very close to the level of a professional cook, I would say. It was her idea last week to organise a potluck dinner, asking people to bring any Italian regional dish of their choice. She was going to concentrate on Calabria, from where her family originally hailed.
(B) Entry number two is Chef Alessandro Ferracci. I mentioned him and his wife and fellow chef Sabina in another post:
(C) Entry number three is Pierfrancesco. Again, I had already mentioned him two years ago in another post:
Pierfrancesco runs an insurance company, I suppose that’s what you would call his ‘job’ … but he also has a yen for hunting wild boar and truffles, a trend we all applaud and encourage. His contribution to our potluck dinner the other night was …. truffles, that he had foraged himself.
Here was one of them. Here was a paste of truffle in olive oil … again all Pierfrancesco’s doing. And here are Alessandro, the chef, on the left and an eagerly expectant Pierfrancesco on the right. If you look closely at the clock on the wall … you will see that it was coming up to 10 30 p.m.
We had already eaten our way through two other kinds of pasta that Liz had prepared: one with aubergines in a tomato sauce and the other with sausage and artichokes. And before that we had also systematically munched on countless appetizers: a large cheese platter, a selection of cured meats from the Salumeria Grisanti that friends visiting from Canada had bought in Parma the day before (including culatello di zibello) as well as a fine 24 month old parmesan, freselle with tomatoes, courgette flower fritters, aubergine fritters, nduja sausage spread on bread, potato puffs and tomato puffs, a selection of cured meats from Calabria, olives, small onions cooked with sugar and vinegar and … All this to say that we had had more than plenty to eat before it was announced to us that a pasta with a truffle sauce would now be served! And were we daunted at all? Nah, we are made of sterner stuff …
I actually helped in the preparation of the pasta with the truffle sauce: I was assigned the highly tricky job of spooning the truffle paste into the saucepan a little at a time, instructed accordingly by Alessandro. So there are no photos of that veeeery important contribution of mine (sigh) … but what follow are photos of how the recipe looked in its finishing stages:
Pierfrancesco keeping an eye on the preparations, sipping his wine. Liz and Alessandro smiling … You have to be fit and strong to be able to toss this much pasta! And there it was — gorgeous! And was there any pasta left over, considering how much we had already eaten?
But I do think that we are all on a diet today …
This potluck dinner was a real winner!