A week ago, my good friend, Libby (who lived in Paris, lucky girl) was in NYC for her 30th birthday. I had the honor of attending her birthday dinner at Lupa.
Lupa is a Roman style Italian trattoria, which I found utterly charming and completely inspirational. Since Libby is a long time vegetarian, veggies were the highlight of what we ate. For starters we shared butternut squash, beets and brussels sprouts, all prepared in a new (to me) and really, really delicious way.
Libby also had a dish made of farro pasta with (more!) brussels sprouts. It was kind of a revelation to me. I had never combined a vegetable like that with pasta before and suddenly I had a use for the sad head of savoy cabbage that had been sitting in my fridge!
I put water on to boil and caramelized some onions in olive oil with red pepper flakes. Once the pasta (I used whole wheat because I couldn't find farro pasta) was in, I put the finely sliced cabbage in the pan with the onions and let it cook. Pasta comes out, goes into that pan along with a really, really healthy bunch of grated Parmesan cheese and a little of the pasta water itself. Prego! A late winter pasta dish to get you through that last push. Spring awaits!
Ah, but there's more to all this Italian talk than last night's dinner. I, my dears, and going to Tuscany!!!!!! I leave on April 11th for ten (count them, ten) days!!!!!! I have never been to Italy before and am blessed enough to be staying in a friend's digs in the countryside for free.
I have NO IDEA what I need to do or see while I'm there. I'll have access to a car, so if anyone can recommend sights to see or a good guide book or can't miss experiences, please leave a comment!!! Grazie!!