As we ride on the train this morning returning to our apartment in Rome, it is fun to reminisce about our favorite parts of Tuscany. First of all, our hosts, Pierro and Polly Bronzi, were fantastic. They provided us with a private, comfortable place to stay, fed us fantastic food and treated us like royalty!!!!
One of my favorite meals was a beef stew that Piero’s mother used to make for him. It is very simple…….first you take chunks of beef and brown them slightly in olive oil. Then you add about a cup of red wine and salt and pepper and cook the wine down slightly. Then add a bit of tomato sauce/paste (mostly for color) and enough water to cover the beef as well as potatoes that you will add later. Simmer for about an hour and then add potato chunks. Simmer another 30 to 60 minutes and serve!!! She served it with fresh green beans…..FABULOUS!!!!
For lunch one day, she served stuffed tortellini (filled with mozzarella and spinach) that she had purchased at the butcher shop. To serve them, she simply sautéed a small bunch of fresh sage in a bit of butter, drizzled a small amount into a bowl, added 3 tortellini, drizzled with a bit more butter, added 2 more tortellini and then topped with fresh grated parmesan. It was also wonderful…..
I think that the thing I have learned here is that real Italian cooking is not about heavy sauces but rather about simple meals with few ingredients and LOTS of fresh cheese!!!!!
We have enjoyed visiting in a few of the nearby villages (Montespertoli was their village), and going into the butcher shop, the bakery and even the pharmacy (where I had to buy an antihistamine). It was fun watch Piero as he talked to all of the locals, even yelling “ciao” out the window to one man as we sped past. It is obvious that he and Polly are a respected part of this community and we were able to ride along on their coattails!!
We enjoyed sleeping on a wool mattress!!! We were told that every few years someone comes out and opens up the mattress and re-fluffs the wool.
We enjoyed interacting with Romolo (short for Romulus….his brother was Remus) , their cat who bears an uncanny resemblance to our cat, Paws……
This has been a wonderful opportunity to simply relax and there hasn’t been much of that going on in our lives in the last few months!!!! So, we head back to the hustle and bustle of Rome….rested, relaxed and ready for our next adventure!!