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Healthful Dishes, More Helpful Drugs

After my night in Rome, I headed to Fossacesia. As I wrote in my last post, I’d arrived in Italy feeling pretty crummy. By the time I got to the house I was really laid low, so I whipped up some quick, salutary dishes.

Cime di rapa, aka broccoli rabe, simultaneously sautéed and boiled in olive oil and water with garlic, hot pepper, and salt was a forkful of nirvana. I hate to be one of those people who’ll say that every food tastes better in Italy (I can already see my sister Sheila aggressively rolling her eyes), but the truth is it’s often true. (Peanuts are one exception that jumps to mind.) The cime di rapa we get in Abruzzo usually comes from the region of Puglia and makes the stuff I get in New York seem like it’s been broccoli rabe-d of flavor. Moreover, you don’t need to chew it for 30 minutes.

I always hope a healthy dose of hot pepper will help burn a bug out of me. Accordingly, I made a rough arrabbiata by throwing oil, water, onion, piccadilly tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and dried hot peppers into a pot for 10 minutes and then tossing them with penne. Nailed it.

Dinner was a simple vellutata (albeit a less than velvety one) concocted of the Italian version of soup starter (mixed cabbage-y greens, onion, carrots), more onions, garlic, a couple of potatoes, Romanesco broccoli, and hot pepper powder -- all stirred in oil, then boiled in water with some powdered veg broth. When all the ingredients were tender, I hit the whole thing with an immersion blender and finished it with the requisite drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of hot pepper flakes. It, too, was delicious. (Calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.)

But the day was a reminder that I really need a dishwasher. I feel like I can spend any given day at the house shopping for groceries, preparing a meal, cleaning up after the meal, then starting all over again for the next meal. That’s not a lifestyle made for modern times.

Meanwhile, Antonio procured for me some antibiotics that nobody in the States seemed to want to give me. They worked a miracle almost overnight, which was fortunate, because this trip was to be devoted to meeting in person some expats I’d found via facebook groups. I really didn’t want to miss that.

Two days later, I was right as rain and off to make new friends.

I also made a point of stocking pharmacy reinforcements before I left Italian soil.

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