lunedì 28 febbraio 2011

Living and working in Italy

Italy Visa Information

Citizens of full European (EFTA, EEA) Member Countries are able to live and work in Italy without a visa or work permit.Non EU nationals wishing to live and work in Italy must apply for a work permit or Italy Working Holiday Visa. Work permits must be applied for by the employer. Italy is a member of the Schengen countries. The 15 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. With a Schengen visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.

Nationals of some other countries can visit Italy for up to three months without a visa, these are listed at the website of the Italian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs
If you intend to visit Italy, on holiday, a business trip, to study, work, volunteer or as an emigrant you should get up to date and accurate information from the official website of the Italian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
Italy Working Holiday Visa Information
International Working Holiday And Temporary Work Visa Chart

Italy Working Holiday Visa Information
Italy has a working Holiday visa available to New Zealand, Australian And Canadian Citizens
To be eligible applicants must:
* Be a citizen of New Zealand, Australia or Canada
* Satisfy the visa officer that his/her primary intention is to holiday in the Italian Republic, with employment being an incidental rather than a primary reason for the visit;
* Be aged between eighteen (18) and thirty (30) years, both inclusive, at the time of application; (35 for Canadaians)
* Not accompanied by children;
* Possess a valid New Zealand, Canadian or Australian passport;
*Possess a return ticket, or sufficient funds to purchase such a ticket;
*Possess sufficient funds for his/her maintenance during the period of stay in the Italian Republic
* Pays the prescribed working holiday visa application fee
* Agrees to hold medical and comprehensive hospitalisation insurance to remain in force throughout his/her stay in the Italian Republic

sabato 26 febbraio 2011

The Legend of Romulus and Remus - Founding of Rome by Romulus

Let’s talk about the legend of the founding of Rome by the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus. Their grandfather was the rightful king of Alba but he had been deposed by his brother. Their mother was supposed to be a virgin priestess of the goddess Vesta, but she got pregnant, some say by Mars, the god of war. Their great-uncle recognised that Romulus and Remus were more than human and attempted to have them killed. The servant entrusted with this task abandoned them by the river Tiber, which was in flood. They were found by a she-wolf who suckled them, and a woodpecker, who fed them. A swineherd later found the babies and brought them up. Romulus and Remus grew up into strong young men, born leaders of the shepherds and outlaws in the surrounding countryside. Remus was captured in a brawl with some of his grandfather's shepherds. Romulus attempted to rescue his brother, and the presence of twins of about the right age uncovered the secret. With their own followers and their grandfather's men, they deposed their great-uncle and restored their grandfather to his throne. Romulus and Remus did not want to serve anybody else as king, so they left Alba to found their own city. They chose different sites, and decided to seek omens for which would be better. Remus looked round and saw six vultures, a good omen, whereupon Romulus claimed to have seen twelve, even better. While they were arguing, Remus jumped contemptuously over the walls Romulus had built. Romulus was made even angrier by this, and in a fit of rage, killed his brother.
Romulus buried Remus, and carried on with building his city. There was one problem: all the inhabitants, being shepherds, runaway slaves, and brigands, were men. Romulus held games in honour of the god Consus, and invited people from the Sabine communities roundabout. While they were watching the games, Romulus gave a signal and the Romans seized the young Sabine women who were attending the games and made off with them. The Sabines later tried to get the women back, but by this time they had married their abductors and some of them had become mothers. The women interposed themselves between the two armies, and pleaded not to be forced to choose between their relatives by blood and their relatives by marriage. Peace was restored and Romulus and Tatius, the king of the Sabines, were made joint monarchs. Tatius was killed after only five years, and Romulus then reigned alone. After having reigned over Rome for 38 years, Romulus disappeared in a violent storm, and it was announced that he had been taken up to heaven, from where he would continue to look after Rome's destiny as the god Quirinus.

What You Mean to me


I chose this video to show you my dear friends a little part of my Wonderful City .....ENJOY MY DEAR FRIENDS...this video was conceived to share with you all my love for this awsome, exceptional city …please come with me …let’s have a tour along Rome…..
The Vatican: Regarded by many as Rome's most important attraction, the splendid and enormous church of Saint Peter’s is not to be missed.
The Coliseum: Only the exterior of this ancient site is free. If you haven't been there before it's certainly well worth paying to go inside and see this grand old Roman amphitheatre.
The Forum: Even more impressive than the Coliseum is the Forum, a collection of Roman ruins of buildings and temples.
The Via Veneto: Full of grand hotels, restaurants and designer shops, this street is a shopper's paradise.
The Spanish Steps: These spectacular stairs, most beautiful in summer when the flowers alongside them are in full bloom, were built in the eighteenth century. No visit to Rome is complete without climbing up the high stairs.
The Trevi Fountain: No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to this fountain completed by Nicola Salvi in the eighteenth century with its impressive figure of Neptune and the beautiful seahorses.
Piazza Navona: This large and elegant square with its beautiful fountains, including the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, is also a must-see.
The Pantheon: This ancient Roman temple has a beautiful high domed ceiling and contains the tombs of Raphael and popes amongst others.
St. Paul's: Another famous church is St. Paul's Outside the Walls which is about half an hour away from Rome by metro.

A Place to swear Eternal Love


Only a few meters from the famous Bocca della Verita , starts a little road, Clivio dei Publici, which climbs up the Aventino hill while changing name into Via di Santa Sabina. This residential area in the heart of Rome will astonish you by being the quietest place in the Eternal City. Now and then, as you walk towards the top, you will get gorgeous postcard glimpses of the dome of Saint Peter, including that from the Giardino degli Aranci (the orange garden). If you walk towards the end of this secluded, yet very safe road, you might notice people peeping into a keyhole in a large gate. Try doing the same. The most charming view of Saint Peter's will appear to you, framed by the keyhole and two lines of rose bushes which make May the best time of year to visit this spot. During the same period, try visiting the rose garden below and smell the inebriating scent of thousands of these flowers.
As well as an extensive permanent collection of roses, occupying the higher slopes and climbing up over walkways, the garden also displays competition entries and new breeds. The range is huge, and you can spend hours wandering, photographing and choosing your favourites: from the huge colourful extravagances of roses like Rinascimento to the sweeter pale specimens hiding shyly behind their bolder cousins. The scents and colours create a memorable experience, especially when combined with the backdrop of the Palatine ruins and the open space of the Circo Massimo.

The 4 Most Romantic Places in Rome

  • The breathtaking view from Gianicolo
Knowing that ancient Rome was famous for its seven hills, no wonder the first romantic spot is a belvedere. The number one view of Rome is that from Gianicolo, according to many. Just above Trastevere, it overlooks famous sites as the Pantheon or the monument to Vittorio Emanuele in Piazza Venezia. Rome unrolls in front of your eyes and underneath the immense vault of the sky in all its beauty, on this popular yet always cosy and full of atmosphere belvedere. Walk slightly further, and you can sit on the quiet steps of the amphitheatre Quercia del Tasso. Offering a similar view, who cares if there's no show while you're there. The company will be enough! And to change perspective, you can try Pincio, the gorgeous terrace overlooking Piazza del Popolo, not too far from the famous Spanish Steps.

  • A boat tour on the Tiber
For the foot sore, there's another way to experience Rome's romantic beauty by letting yourself glide on the waters of the Tiber with your other half. Starting from Ponte Duca d'Aosta and ending on Isola Tiberina and back, you will see some of the city's jewels, such as Saint Peter's or the Gianicolo, from an unusual standpoint, while in the middle of the river Tiber, framed by white marble banks and tall lime trees. And for the helplessly romantic, night cruises are also available during the summer, some of which include dinner on board. For more information visit www.battellidiroma.it

  • Walking through the Park of Oranges and the Rose Garden trough rose scented air
Only a few meters from the famous Bocca della Verita , starts a little road, Clivio dei Publici, which climbs up the Aventino hill while changing name into Via di Santa Sabina. This residential area in the heart of Rome will astonish you by being the quietest place in the Eternal City. Now and then, as you walk towards the top, you will get gorgeous postcard glimpses of the dome of Saint Peter, including that from the Giardino degli Aranci (the orange garden). If you walk towards the end of this secluded, yet very safe road, you might notice people peeping into a keyhole in a large gate. Try doing the same. The most charming view of Saint Peter's will appear to you, framed by the keyhole and two lines of rose bushes which make May the best time of year to visit this spot. During the same period, try visiting the rose garden below and smell the inebriating scent of thousands of these flowers.

  • Open air live music in Villa Celimontana
Planning a romantic evening accompanied to the sound of music? Then one of the best places is Villa Celimontana, where a jazz festival takes place during the summer, with many nights dedicated to the sexiest of dances, the tango. Around the small amphitheatre and stage, tables are placed where you can sit and sip a glass of Italian wine or have a light meal. All around, impressive pines lit from below help give you the feeling of being enclosed in an auditorium which has only the Italian sky as its ceiling.

 

The 10 best famous dishes of ROMAN CUISINE ♥


There is a deep connection between ROMAN cuisine and Roman lifestyle. Roman people use to give food a great importance and love to cook and experiment new recipes. That's why I chose to write about some well known ITALIAN recipes which are higly appreciated in ROME.
Roman cuisine is based on seasonal ingredients coming most from Roman Campagna, and prepared in a simple way. Among these, the most important are vegetables (typical are peas, Globe artichokes and fava beans), meat (milk lamb and goat) and cheeses (Pecorino romano and ricotta).Typical condiment in Roman cuisine is strutto, pork lard prepared and canned each winter. Used is also the fat of prosciutto, while olive oil is used only for raw vegetables and - partially - to fry. Days of the week are often assigned to food, such as gnocchi on Thursday, baccalà (salted cod) on Fridays, and trippa for Saturdays.
Pasta is one of, if not the, most important elements of Roman cuisine. Famous pasta sauces include matriciana, carbonara, (a sauce made with pancetta or guanciale - pig's cheek -, cheese and egg), cacio e pepe and gricia.

Roman Dishes

  • Bruschetta - a popular antipasto or appetizer in central Italy. Coming from the Romanesco word bread which is lightly burnt, typically rubbed with garlic and topped with oil and tomatoes.
  • Supplì - fried rice croquettes which are stuffed with beef ragout and mozzarella.
  • Saltimbocca alla Romana - Roman-style veal with ham (prosciutto) and sage. Saltimbocca literally means jump in the mouth.
  • Scaloppine alla romana - Veal sautéed with fresh baby artichokes
  • Coda alla vaccinara - Oxtail stew, cooked with tomato sauce, celery, clove and bitter chocolate
  • Trippa - Tripe with tomato sauce, is a roman tradition.
  • Fiori di Zucca fritti - courgette flowers, prepared in a deep fried batter.
  • Abbacchio alla cacciatora - lamb chops with vinegar, flour and rosemary
  • Crostata di ricotta - Is a richly baked cheesecake, made with ricotta, and flavored with lemons (or oranges) and Marsala wine.

 

venerdì 25 febbraio 2011

The Italian recipe for Tiramisu

Tiramisu is possibly the most indulgent Italian dessert ever created. Here's a quick and easy way to make one to impress your friends.

  • 3 large eggs

  • 500 grams Mascarpone cheese

  • Espresso or Strong Coffee

  • Boudoir biscuits/ Lady fingers/ thin cakes

  • Powdered cocoa [or instant chocolate drink mix]

  • Sugar (to taste)

Crack and make 3 large eggs into two different bowls (use a large bowl for the egg white and a smaller bowl for the yolk). Make sure that none of the yolk gets mixed with the egg white, otherwise the egg whites won't whisk properly.

Whisk the egg yolks with an electronic whisk and gradually add sugar until the egg yolk becomes thick, creamy, and light yellow.

Add about 5oo grams [~12.3 oz.] of Mascarpone in another bowl and give it a quick stir to loosen it up. Then, with the electronic whisk, mix the egg yolks and Mascarpone together.

Wash and dry your whisk and then whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks. Continue to fold the egg whites into the Mascarpone and mix until there are no lumps.

Put that to the side. Make some strong espresso and let it cool.

Line a large and fairly deep dish with lady fingers (boudoir biscuits) and pour over two thirds of the coffee mixture.

Put half of your egg mixture over the top of that, followed by a thick dusting of cocoa. Use an instant drinking chocolate, as it's a little sweeter.

Dip more lady fingers into the rest of your coffee mix (don't worry if you run out; you can just knock up some more) and carefully place them over the the top of the cocoa.

Empty the rest of your egg mixture over that and dust with cocoa again.

Leave it in your refrigerator for two hours and serve.

Admiring Marc Chagall


 
Through a selection of around 140 paintings and drawings dating from between 1917 and 1982 which have arrived from a number of illustrious public and private collections, the exhibition intends presenting Chagall’s extraordinary and highly personal representation of the world. It is in fact an “upside down” world, where the artist’s works overturn the established order of things, defying the law of gravity and creating a strong affinity with the pictorial universe of Surrealism.
INFO
Museo dell'Ara Pacis
Address: Lungotevere in Augusta
Telephone: 0039 060608 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Website:
www.arapacis.it/mostre_ed_eventi/mostre/chagall_il_mondo_sottosopra
Email: info@arapacis.it
Email: eventi.aziendali@zetema.it for private company events.

WHEN
Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. – last admissions at 6 p.m. – the ticket office closes an hour earlier
24th and 31st December 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (last admissions at 1 p.m.)
Closed Mondays, 25th December, 1st January

PRICES
Full Price € 11 – Reduced € 9
for residents of Rome (on presentation of a valid document certifying residency) Full Price € 10 - Reduced € 8
Tickets may also be purchased using a credit card or debit card
Reduced price with a Villa Borghese car park ticket
Last admission one hour prior to closing time
Admission ticket for normal day visits to the museum (9 a.m. – 7 p.m.) does not include the price of admission for the evening event The Colours of the Ara Pacis for which a new ticket needs to be purchased. 

 

mercoledì 23 febbraio 2011

The work of a translator


The work  of  translator is a very difficult one...you have to use your soul and your own passion together with a mastered technique and overall knowledges.......Interpreting is a stressful career area, which can be difficult to break into on a full-time basis. Employers include international organisations but, as with translators, many interpreters are freelance. Translators convert written material from one or more languages ('source languages') into the ‘target language’ (most commonly the translator’s mother tongue), ensuring that the translated version conveys the meaning of the original as clearly as possible.Translators usually need an excellent command of two or more languages. The languages most in demand are the official languages of the Europian Union  and the United Nations.(UN).
Most translators work freelance from home, working for translation agencies or directly for clients, but some organisations employ in-house translators. 
The translation process usually involves a combination of the following activities:reading through original material and rewriting it in the target language, ensuring that the meaning of the source text is retained; using specialist dictionaries, thesauruses and reference books to find the closest equivalents for terminology and words used; using appropriate software for presentation and delivery; researching legal, technical and scientific phraseology to find the correct translation; proofreading and editing final translated versions;  providing clients with a grammatically correct, well-expressed final version of the translated text, usually as a word-processed document;  using the internet and email as research tools throughout the translation process; prioritising work to meet deadlines;  providing quotations for translation services offered;  consulting with experts in specialist areas;  supplying subtitles for foreign films and television programmes;  retaining and developing specialist knowledge on specialist areas of translation;  networking and making contacts.

lunedì 21 febbraio 2011

The Smell of History


I love you  because you are so UNIQUE..... I can  quite  breathe the Sense of  History spreading throughout  the city..
thanks for inspiring me, for nurturing my soul, for fulfilling my dreams, for brightening my eyes, for colouring my heart...
I'm so grateful and enthousiast to live in a vivid city like Rome
It inspires me daily and even when i'm feeling blue 
just have a look outside to feel better....churches, fountains, statues all remind me of the past ..... history didn't stop...Rome keeps on hosting international exhibitions and events...italian artists keep on  taking inspiration from Rome, its colours, its sky, its streets......
that is why I love it so much... history didn't stop ..
all the Monuments of Rome keep history Alive and at the same time inspire Modern Artists ....
Rome can be considered as a source of inspiration  for everyone...
painters, singers, actors, playwrights.....they all have at least once taken inspiration  from Rome....
exhibitions, art galleries, parks,cultural events,gardens, open bars, restaurants....
come visit the treasures of Rome and you will smell the Sense of History..
you will get enchanted and  desire to come back again.


domenica 20 febbraio 2011

Carnevale Festivals in Italy


Carnival represents a sort of "time out of time" in which fortunes are reversed: the poor become rich, the powerless become powerful. Social customs are overturned; women aggressively pursue men, for example. During the time of Carnevale, it's important to remain anonymous, so when "real time" returns, it returns to exactly the same place.
Enjoy our pictures of the carnival masks of Venice. You'll see masks in production, masks for sale, and masks on display. Carnevale in Italy is a huge winter festival celebrated with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. Children throw confetti at each other. Mischief and pranks are also common during Carnevale, hence the saying A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale, anything goes at carnival. Carnevale has roots in pagan festivals and traditions and as is often the case with traditional festivals was adapted to fit into the Catholic rituals. Although carnival is actually one date, in Venice and some other places in Italy the carnival celebrations and parties may begin a couple weeks before.
Masks, maschere, are an important part of the carnevale festival and Venice is the best city for traditional carnival masks. Carnival masks are sold year round and can be found in many shops in Venice, ranging from cheap masks to elaborate and expensive masks. Walking through the streets of Venice, it's a pleasure to view the variety of masks on display in shop windows. People also wear elaborate costumes for the festival and there are costume or masquerade balls, both private and public.


My Favourite Italian Poet


Benigni is an improvisatory poet (poesia estemporanea is a form of art popularly followed and practiced in Tuscany), appreciated for his explanation and recitations of Dante's Divina Commedia by memory. He has reached over 45% Italian households with his lectures on the Divine Comedy. He had a lot of success touring Italy with his 90-minute "one man show" show TuttoDante ("Everything About Dante"). Combining current events and memories of his past narrated with an ironic tone, Benigni then begins a journey of poetry and passion through the world of the Divine Comedy.In 2009, Benigni brought "TuttoDante" to the United States with performances in San Francisco, Boston and Chicago. Following his U.S. premiere in San Francsisco  Benigni was feted at a special reception held by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in his honor. He is probably best known outside Italy for his 1997 tragicomedy Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella), filmed in Arezzo, also written by Cerami. The film is about an Italian Jewish man who tries to protect his son's innocence during his internment at a Nazi concentration camp, by telling him that the Holocaust is an elaborate game and he must adhere very carefully to the rules to win.

LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (LA VITA E' BELLA) is one of that movies where poetry is entangled with the harsheness of reality......but Roberto  Benigni wants  to underscore that even in the most dramatic situations we can find a hope, a light, a reason to live.  Do we have to belive in life even when it treats us in the worst way? Do we have to hope even we are down in the blue? Do we have to react even when we are not willing to?



sabato 19 febbraio 2011

Savouring Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Pasta and pizza are the iconic Italian foods. You all probably have heard of spaghetti alla Bolognese, the most know preparation of pasta in the world. That is just one of the endless possibilities you have to garnish your pasta.

Cooking Pasta

First point: “cooking pasta” means actually cooking the pasta and the sauce. While cooking the pasta itself is basically made by only one step “throw pasta in boiling water”, the sauce can be a more complicate affair. I will give you the recipes for two easy sauces, very popular in Italy. Since the basic steps are more or less the same, you can go on and create your own sauce from there.
Second point: each kind of pasta has a cooking time, usually indicated on the package. Cook pasta for less than the cooking time, and it will remain hard. Go over the cooking time and it will become softer and softer. Go well beyond the cooking time and congratulations! You have inedible glue!
We Italians like our pasta “al dente”, that means a little hard. You usually get it “al dente” by cooking it for exactly the indicated cooking time. But beware: since foreigners often prefer their pasta soft, you may find on the package a cooking time that reflects this and advises you to cook the pasta for much more time than an Italian would. Since pasta is cheap, you can throw away a little and experiment until you find your perfect cooking time.
Third point: Just do me a favor, no ketchup. No ketchup. Repeat with me: “No ketchup. Ever.
Take a pot, fill it with water and put it on the stove, heat it untill it boils. Put a lid on, to make it boil faster.
When the water boils, add salt. We use “sale grosso”, my dictionary calls it “cooking salt”. It’s salt in big grains of irregular shapes. You can use the finer table salt, it won’t change the flavor, but you will need a lot more and in my opinion it’s harder to measure the right quantity – but remember: I’m doing this on almost daily basis, so I’m working out of habit here. You my find that for you it’s easier to get the right quantity of salt by using table salt. The “right quantity of salt” is a personal taste affair, experiment until you find yours. Why must you wait until the water boils to add salt? Because salted water takes longer to reach the boiling point. Adding salt right away won’t affect the final flavor, but it will lengthen the time to reach the boiling point.
After adding salt, wait half a minute, then put the pasta in. Put the pasta in the water when it returns to a boil, not before, or you will ruin it!
Cook the pasta as indicated on the package, stirring the pasta often to avoid it sticking. Now, cooking pasta is simple and there are no secrets in it. But there is one trick. Pasta is like a sponge: it  absorbs the fluid in which it’s immersed. Cooking it immersed in water is ok, but cooking it immersed in the sauce is better! It will be flavoured by the sauce from the inside.
So here’s the trick: one minute before the cooking time is over pour one or two table spoons of cooking water from the pot in the pan where you are heating the sauce, then strain the pasta out of the water and pour it in the pan, mixing it with the sauce and ending the cooking time in there. Let it heat for a minute to a minute and a half, then take the pan from heat and serve your pasta.



venerdì 18 febbraio 2011

Best Italian Brands of Coffee

Steps to brewing great coffee

  1. Use good quality coffee, freshly roasted and freshly ground
  2. Use fresh, clean, cold water. Filtered or bottled water works well, but avoid distilled or softened water.
  3. The grind chosen must be of the correct fineness for the chosen brewing method.
  4. The pot must be cleaned and warm.
  5. Make only enough coffee for your immediate needs. The coffee will deteriorate if you keep it too long. Avoid reheating coffee, it just doesn't taste the same.
  6. Avoid boiling brewed coffee - it is a sure way to spoil the coffee.
  7. Use approximately 70 grams of coffee per litre of water.

Regarding Water

 

When you make coffee, you should only use water that tastes good when you drink it straight up. If the water doesn't taste good to drink, don't even attempt to make coffee with it. Remember, the best cups of coffee are made with quality water - either filtered tap water or bottled water. 

Best Italian Brands of Coffee

Lavazza
Segafredo
Illy
Vergnano
Kimbo
Moak
Mauro
Ionia
Miscela d'Oro
Borbone
Hausbrandt

Italian recipe for Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)

This is a classic amongst Italian recipes: Pollo alla Cacciatora, or Chicken Cacciatore.

Pre
pare a mix of chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Over medium fire, sauté the mix in a medium large pot with some olive oil until slightly brown.
Skin the chicken pieces for a healthier result, add it to the mix, season with salt and pepper and, if you like, some chopped herbs, like rosemary, sage or thyme, or even a combination of them. Get the chicken to brown on all the sides.
Add the white wine at this point, about half cup, and let sizzle for a couple of minutes so the alcohol can evaporate. This makes the wine completely "flat" and even kids can have this dish. Make sure the chicken pieces are "rolled" into the wine during the process, so they get nice and flavory. Add the vegetable or chicken stock (if you want, you may use just water, and make sure you correct as needed with salt and pepper at the end)cover the pot and let cook, lowering the flame, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced. Taste and correct as needed with salt and pepper. Serve warm, with a side of pan-roasted potatoes with herbs, steamed spinach and carrots. You can use the same wine you cook with to accompany your meal, but make sure it's chilled.

Cacciatore means "Hunter". This is a rustic and tasty, but also healthy way to cook chicken the same way hunter would cook their game, so the more herbs and nice flavors you add the better. I have seen adding sliced mushroom, peas and even a few cherry tomatoes in it, always with a great result. Be creative!


giovedì 17 febbraio 2011

The Real Italian Recipe to Cook Lasagne

 
Lasagne is a tasty and filling meal which is as suited to the main course of a dinner party, as it is for a quick and delicious family meal.

Step 1: You will need
200 g pre-cooked lasagne sheets; 70 g grated parmesan; 1 recipe for Bolognese sauce; 380 ml milk; 45 g butter; 3 tbsp flour; 1 pinch nutmeg salt and pepper; 1 baking dish; 2 saucepans; 2 spoons; 1 wooden spoon; 1 whisk; 1 tea towel; 1 tray; 1 bowl.

Step 2: Prepare the lasagne
Preheat the oven to 200ºC, that's 400ºF or gas mark 6. Put the sheets of pasta into a large bowl and cover them with warm water. Make sure they're all submerged. Leave them to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 3: Warm the milk
To begin making the béchamel sauce, pour the milk into a small saucepan and let it heat until warm, not boiling.

Step 4: Make the béchamel sauce
Place the other saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter. When it has melted, add the flour and mix well until smooth. Just before it starts to turn brown, slowly add the milk. Using the whisk, stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken. When thick, season with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Then give it one further whisk and remove from the heat.

Step 5: Dry the lasagne
Remove the lasagne sheets one by one from the water and place them onto a tea towel. Then turn them over to pat them dry on both sides. You may need to do this in batches to finish drying all of the lasagne.

Step 6: Make the lasagne
Start by layering lasagne sheets on the bottom of the baking dish. Next, cover with half of the Bolognese. Then spoon over some béchamel sauce, and finally, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Now repeat the process: the lasagne, followed by the rest of the Bolognese, then the béchamel sauce and finally the parmesan cheese giving it a generous topping.

Step 7: Cook the lasagne
Place the baking dish in the centre of the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes.

Step 8: Serve
When the parmesan has turned golden brown, remove the lasagne from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Lasagne is delicious served alone or it can be accompanied by a freshly made green salad.

How to Make Pasta alla Carbonara


A wonderful Italian recipe from Rome, Pasta alla Carbonara takes its name from the old days of the coal miners (carbone=coal), but it was actually created only around the mid 20th century. It's a rich type of comfort food, made with eggs, guanciale (the meat from the cheek of the pork, cured like pancetta), Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. Many variations can be found around Italy, like in the North, where heavy cream is added to the sauce and Parmigiano substitutes the Romano. However, here is my own recipe, the way we make it in Rome.
Bring to the boil the water for the pasta (penne, spaghetti or fettuccine), add some salt, then the pasta and let this cook according to the instructions on the package.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and mix with the grated cheese, a pinch of salt and a generous amount of cracked black pepper.Cut the guanciale or pancetta in small pieces and fry it in a pan with the oil until golden.
Drain the pasta and transfer it into a large serving bowl. Pour the egg mix over right away, and toss to combine it with the pasta. The heat will cook the egg. Add the guanciale and toss again. Serve immediately.

mercoledì 16 febbraio 2011

A Folkloristic Exhibition just outside Rome


In June, a great folkloristic and religious exhibition, the "Infiorata". A whole street (Via Italo Belardi) is covered with allegorical carpets of flowers and a masked parade walk on these, with medieval and traditional clothes realized by town's women. For more than 2 centuries  on Sunday and Monday following Corpus Christus feast the Infiorata a most suggestive manifestation of art, pride of the artists of Genzano has taken place . Each year the artists suggestions must conform to a previously agreed upon theme, such as The Colours of Michelangelo, or The Designs of Bernini. In the spring it has recently become tradition to have a "mini Infiorata" made by the children from the local schools.
Poets and writers wrote about the Infiorata:
  • Massimo d'Azeglio "...you see the fair, the people, the truly rare beauty of the town crowds of Roman, holiday makers from the nearby Castles....everything lively; and seen from the foot of the ascent it seems to be a magnificent carpet, that you regret to see spoilt by the feet of the procession".
  • Richard Voss "One of the most beautiful Italian fairs is held in Genzano, the fair of flowers; the whole city seems to be a gigantic flower bed. A marvellous spectacle".
  • Hans Christian Andersen "The whole street is a carpet of flowers.... Not even a breathe of air moves and the flowers lie on the ground as if they were heavy precious stones...".

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