Buonasera my people!

So, a lot of things have been happening all around the globe: delightful friends have been getting married, other friends are raising the most adorable of children, and I’ve been all windswept in everything great about life. But I’ve gotten behind on sharing tidbits of our Italian life with you and for that, I’m sorry. Today will compensate for this patch of absence as we delve into matters related to the kitchen.

Our Italian kitchen has many things: gas burners (oh man I LOVE being reunited with gas burners), a copper faucet, and one of the most adorable dish hanging devices to be seen. It’s also missing a few things, namely a full- sized refrigerator, an oven, and a freezer.

our Italian cucina
our Italian cucina

So at first I was wondering, in a very large way, how I was possibly going to live without these things. How am I going to bake? How many days worth of groceries can I fit into a refrigerator the same size as the one I had in college (which was mostly filled with pub cheese and condiments)? Where’s the extra counter space? And then, the answers came, quite clearly:

  1. I’m not going to bake because we live near a zillion bakeries. Why would someone bake when they can buy a treat for 1 euro? Also, can I really bake like an Italian? No. Let’s not try and go out for a pastry instead.
  2. I can actually fit at least five days worth of groceries into our mini fridge with a few liter- sized bottles of water stacked in there on top of it all (well not on top because that would probably crush my eggs but you know what I mean). I shop more frequently because we don’t have a freezer but that means we’re always eating fresh food which is…amazing.
  3. There is no extra counter space. And sometimes this lack of space is a bit frustrating, most especially when I’m cutting anything that can roll (onions, carrots, celery) and it does so, into the sink. But hey, we’re in Italy. And cooking in a tiny kitchen is all part of the adventure.

This question & answer session leads us to my next point: I love to cook. That mama dukes of mine, Denise, is one heck of a chef, and I grew up fairly consistently serving as a sous chef watching the love and chemistry that can go into food. It was only a matter of time before I got antsy to have my role promoted and then…I moved out of my parents house. And now I’m the master chef! Ha, well, sort of. I haven’t managed to inflict any wounds where stitches would be required so we’re still on the winning side of food.

And now we’ve come full circle to our original topic of cooking without an oven and what the heck that’s like. I’ve discovered over the past year and 2 some months that a lot of recipes can be modified to be made on your stove top. And those that can’t, we just go out for. This next comment is going to sound super corny but I also feel way more creative and inspired here with food. It’s probably the lack of full time job, access to interesting ingredients at all times, and a husband who gets just as excited as I do about dinner.

Or maybe a love of food is just in the water.

Either way, I thought it might be interesting to our delightful readers to feature a week’s worth of recipes using only a stove, all typically made in 30 minutes or under unless there’s a lot of chopping involved, or simmering, or if I have to stop to translate some ingredients or instructions. Buon Appetito!

#1: ricotta & spinach stuffed squash blossoms with salad (balsamic drizzle) and pasta pomodoro
#1: ricotta & spinach stuffed squash blossoms with salad (balsamic drizzle) and pasta pomodoro
#2: poached chicken in a white wine broth with spinach, onions, carrots & garlic
#2: poached chicken in a white wine broth with spinach, onions, carrots & garlic
#3: fresh tomato basil soup with ricotta & spinach tortellini
#3: fresh tomato basil soup with ricotta & spinach tortellini
#4: onion & garlic mushrooms & broccoli over basmati rice with stracchino cheese
#5: lentils, potatoes & spinach with sauteed tomatoes in a tomato broth
#6: Green inspired pasta: tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion in a lemony sauce with radicchio ravioli
#7: simple browned chicken with lemony string beans & garlic mash

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