Few things are as satisfying as learning a new language or a new recipe. But I have learned to double my satisfaction by doing both at once.
This first started a few years ago on my first visit to Sicily.
I will confess here and now that I hate writing postcards. Not that I don't love my friends and family. But I hate the limited space on a postcard and my poor penmanship. (OK, so how is it have no trouble tweeting?) So when we went into a small shop in Caccamo, Sicily, I steered clear of the postcards and wandered to the magazine section when this idea hit me: Wouldn't it be cool to practice my Italian and Italian cooking by translating recipes? It was! I have since gone on to doing the same with Brazilian cooking by going to online cooking sites and translating the recipes from Portuguese. In no time at all I have learned to recognize ingredients and measurements.
The following recipe is from last Monday's show and one that I made after arriving home from that first trip to Sicily. It was from the Idee Pasta magazine shown in the photo.
Tagliatelle with Butternut Squash
1 pound butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
5 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
4 ounces prociutto, julienned
8 ounces fresh tagliatelle
2/3 cup heavy cream
Clean, peel and deseed squash and cut into half-inch cubes.
Heat oil in pan and saute onion and garlic.
Add parsley and saute a few minutes longer.
Add squash and cook a few minutes.
Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir. Stir in stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add prociutto and cook for a few minutes.
Cook pasta until al dente, add to sauce along with cream and briefly cook, stirring to coat the pasta. Remove to a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve with parmesan or pecorino cheese.