I am not always good at my job, like today for instance. The group went off to Deruta with Lois as they nearly always do on a Monday, but the truth is, they were supposed to be in Assisi where Marco was patiently waiting for them. I had everything written down, exactly as it should have been, but I never looked at what I wrote, and so off they went to Deruta. I have a fantastic job, traveling to Italy, cooking with some of the best ingredients that the earth has to offer, spending the week with people who make me laugh, who love to eat and and learn, and my heart beats and lives. Then they leave. It as if the ocean has left the shore, and then a new group comes that same night and I tell you if you don’t write things down on your hand it is a challenge to remember your name even. I am not positive this group knows I am Faye. I may have told them Celeste or Rocky. I can cook, I can teach, but separation, transition, not so much.
Andiamo avanti. Keep going. Make something simple like asparagus roasted in the oven with an olive oil that you treasure and a little sea salt. The temperature should be 400 degrees, and keep them just until they are beginning to sear a little and are still bright green. Toast or grill your bread with nothing on it, and when it comes out from the oven, rub it with the cut side of a raw piece of garlic, sprinkle with salt, drizzle with olive oil, and over the asparagus, squeeze a bit of lemon juice. Rest them on the bruschetta, and over that a few chunks of sweet gorgonzola. If you have some torn basil to put on top, it only gets better.
Or, if you have made this already this week, because now of course I am convinced that my whole and entire memory has left now, then have a pasta instead of olive oil, heated in the pan, lots of chopped garlic, heated through only until just going golden, finely chopped basil, thrown in after the garlic golden, and a few red pepper flakes. When the pasta is al dente, drain well, reserve a few drops of the pasta water, and drop the pasta into the oil. Toss to combine, season with salt, a bit of lemon zest, and grated
Parmigiano Reggiano, or don’t grate on any cheese at all and eat the cheese on the side.