This morning the kids, Tonja, & I left somewhat early to accomplish some errands in town. Tonja had the idea to stop off at Nonna Piera’s (Grandma) house for lunch. She gave Piera about 90 minutes notice of our arrival. If I were Piera, I would have been stressed to the max – her lunch plans just went from a party of 1 to a party of 7. We asked if she needed anything from the store. Just some bread, if we wanted it; Piera had everything she needed already. Keep in mind that this is an elderly woman who lives alone; I am still amazed that this impromptu visit is not considered to be a burden (we do this regularly).
We arrived a little later than expected (per usual), and I was immediately intoxicated by the aroma. The table was set and everything was ready for us, Piera started filling the plates with the first course. Yes, we were to eat multiple courses for lunch. She proudly announced, “Un mezz’ora fa, questi pomodori erano nel mio giardino” – A half hour ago, these tomatoes were still in my garden.
This sauce, complete with fresh basil & onions (also from the garden), was so simple – and yet, it was absolutely exquisite. I am not sure exactly how Italian women do it, but they all seem to possess some magical ability to whip up copious amount of pasta with sauce made from scratch – all in a minimal amount of time. I pray this ability is contagious and that I am able to absorb some of it before I leave Tuscany.