Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Italian Orzo and Vegetable Soup

I'm not entirely sure what makes this exactly ITALIAN, but I liked the way it looked in the title so I kept it. And it's my recipe to do as I please, so there's that too.

Simple, perfect soup for a simple, Fall day. Or really any day you feel like having soup. That is simple and tasty. Dress it up with some bite-size sliced and cooked sausage or dress it down with just veggies and grated parmigiano. Either way you can't go wrong.


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small onion, chopped
5-7 garlic cloves, sliced
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper 
6 cups chicken broth
orzo pasta
2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, washed
grated parmigiano

What to do:

1. Begin by heating the olive oil in a large pot, saute onion and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery and tomatoes. Saute for maybe another 5 minutes longer adding a healthy dash of salt and pepper to the vegetables.
2. Add chicken broth to pot and give a good stir. Now I let the vegetables cook with the broth until  boiling, added the orzo pasta and then turned the flame down low. Give another good stir, cover but not completely and let cook on low for about 20 minutes. Check every so often so the pasta doesn't stick and broth doesn't evaporate down too much. Depends really on how soup-y you want your soup. More soup-y, add some water once the broth boils down some or don't and enjoy as is.
3. Once the pasta is cooked to your preference, remove from heat and add the spinach, stirring the spinach well into the rest of the vegetables and pasta.
4. Turn stove back on low and cook for a few minutes more.
5. Serve with a nice handful of grated parmigiano. Maybe it's the parmigiano in the recipe that makes it really Italian. The best is when the cheese gets all nice and gooey in the soup and sticks to the spoon.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The half birthday

This beautiful, funny, energetic, creative and thoughtful little girl turned 6 and a half this past weekend. Anyone with kids knows that the half birthday is pretty big news. Well, it is in our house at least. She can officially say "6 AND a half!" which she finds pretty awesome. And we think she's pretty awesome too. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Last night in Mesagne

Our last evening in Mesagne is always bittersweet for me. The end of an amazing time in my home away from home, but leaving with great memories and another year for my kids to have spent time in the town where I grew up. Family night out to dinner and a walk through centro storico is my perfect way to end an amazing vacation in my favorite town.

My girlfriend's boyfriend owns an amazing restaurant right in the heart of centro storico in Mesagne and it's delicious. Here's Giovanni on a separate night when the kids and I took a walk through town...

Amazing chef, business minded and kind individual. I'm going to stress the amazing chef part because dinner was out of this world incredible.

We basically didn't order and he just kept having food brought out to the table. One delicious thing after another. Not a bad way to spend my last dinner in Mesagne.

Girls love the traditional orecchiette he served up too!

This little man is hysterical. Just had to throw that out there.

My brother Antonio joined us for dinner and maybe a glass of prosecco too. Shh!

Family pictures in centro storico following our meal. We had to do some walking after sitting and eating for hours.

I love Olivia's shy little smile in this picture so much.

Funny face pictures with Zio!

We could not get a picture of the three of them side by side. Something about a little man not wanting to stand still.

Oh look, he does stand still.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

my big and my small

these two. fresh out of their baths and snuggled in our bed. these two are something else. especially in this picture when all i can think about is when sofia was that small and look at how big she is now. sofia loved curling up in our bed (still does really) and snuggling. mario has his hand underneath him resting on the pillow with his big big sister. he loves curling up and snuggling too. obviously. he says "coozie" meaning let's get cozy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

God Bless Claire Anna

My cousin Jeff and I are blessed to be godparents to sweet little Claire Anna and celebrated with family and friends this past weekend. Keeping with tradition, my dad did the baptism for Claire as he has done for all the other kids and it was very special. This adorable little girl wore a handmade gown that her grandmother made for her, she said it took about 100 hours! It is gorgeous!

Great weekend in Maryland celebrating and just being together.

Happy end of the weekend to you all!
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