Polenta . part viii . almond polenta cake

. Sweet polenta ideas from Biagio d’Angelo . 

Polenta is the new yellow and my Marostica memories 

You might been to the small town of Marostica, one of the most fascinating and romantic places in the Veneto, famous for it’s real-life chess game event. Back in my university days I had the luck to actually live there. It was here that I became friends with Claudio, a true artist and art critic, who decided to Economics to make his family happy, despite his aesthetic heart. Many years have passed since then, but I it is with Claudio that reminisce, sharing the marvelous memories of our university days.

Claudio tells me that although many are familiar with his home town, I lived the life of a “prince” with the place. Allow me explain what he meant. When I was a student, I was unable to travel home to Sicily very often to stay with my parents, so I spent many a grateful weekend at Claudio’s parents’ house. It was here that I enjoyed holidays and late nights, where Daniela cut my hair, where I made my first meringue and ate nonna Maria’s crêpes. . . .Much later, when I broke my arm and couldn’t stay alone in my apartment in Venice, I sought refuge once again to Marostica, where Claudio’s parents and sister welcomed me like a son.

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Risi e bisi

 

Green peas on flowered platesShelling peas is a kitchen ritual characteristic of spring. Peas in their pods remind me of neatly planted rows of seeds in the vegetable garden. Homemade risotto made with fresh green peas is my favorite dish. The simple combination of rice and peas is called “risi e bisi” in the Veneto. This risotto is especially well-known in the beautiful cities of Vicenza, Verona and Venice.

I await the arrival of fresh peas at the farmers market. When I see them arranged tidily in wooden crates, I snap a pod and taste the raw peas. If the peas are sweet, smooth and bright green,  I take handfuls of them home to make risotto.

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