Friday, May 8, 2009

That's Amore!

There are few things in this world I love to eat more than Italian food. Okay, in the past I have admitted to a mild Mexican food addiction, and you know while on my frequent walks a handful of almonds are never far from reach. But when in comes to down-home, comfort foods, my mouth salivates to the savory aroma of garlic and onions sautéing in olive oil, soon to be joined by crushed tomatoes, maybe some black olives or eggplant, all served over my favorite pasta. Makes me want to break out into song:

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

Hey, Dean Martin couldn't have put it any better himself. Amore means "love" in Italian, and who doesn't love pizza? Spaghetti? Ravioli? Meatballs? (I'll take mine veggie-style, thank you). And, of course, that all-time classic: lasagna! I was raised on tomato sauce and pasta, enjoyed one variation or another of it every week, but for special occasions there was nothing like my mom’s lasagna. Whenever I visit my family Back East, the first question out of my mother's mouth is:

Mom: Michael, do you want me to make you anything special?
Mike: What do you think, Ma?
Mom: Huh?
Mike: You know.
Mom: Oh, yes…what?
Mike: Ma! Your lasagna! What else?
Mom: Oh, you like my lasagna, do you?
Mike: Come on, Ma, of course!
Mom: You sure?
Mike: Ma…
Mom: Huh?
Mike: Never mind…
Mom: I'll make two.

And she does. My mouth is watering at the thought. What do you have to say about that, huh, Dean?

"When the stars make you drool just like pasta fagioli, that's amore!

Everything's amore with this guy. The real question you may be asking yourself is: What is pasta fagioli? This video may help:


You may have noticed after viewing that video that Italian food, besides tasting delicious, can also be healthy for you. My pasta fagioli recipe is loaded with vegetable protein (24g) and is high in fiber (20g). And when you use low-sodium beans and tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, along with whole grain pasta, it can be a healthy meal option. Especially when you make your own marinara sauce. What's that? Don't know how to make marinara sauce? Here's another video that will help:


Looks like all that's left to do is add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese and dig in. What's that? Dean has one last thing to say?

"Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Napoli, that's amore!"

No matter what language you say it in, I love Italian food! And when prepared right, it is not only one of the tastiest foods on earth, but also one of the healthiest.

Until next time…