***Before I start this post, I'd just like to list some of the great things about Italy:
1. The presidential election just started today and for the past week and a half, it has been illegal to publish opinion polls about it.
2. There are no blue or red regions or if there are, nobody discusses the strategies to "market" candidates to them.
3. Roberto Benigni (you know, the "Life Is Beautiful" guy) is on TV channel 3 right now reciting Dante. How cool is that?!
Ok, on to food...
Last night we went to Valeria and Simone's house for a homemade pizza party. Now, I haven't made my own pizza since I left the States because to me, the average pizzeria makes such a delicious product that I can't see the reason to make the effort myself. But if you're from Naples, as Valeria is, Milan must seem more like a pizza outpost than a pizza mecca. So these guys make pizza a lot. They have perfected their pizza crust recipe based on a sourdough bread culture (that I gave them) that they keep in the fridge and feed regularly. They made a lovely pizza bianca (a pizza with no tomato sauce is called "white" or "bianca") with sage, slivered baby onions and olive oil; a "caprese" pizza with cherry tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves; a "puttanesca" pizza with cherry tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers and mozzarella. And finally the coup de grace, panzerotti. Panzerotti are sort of like turnovers, stuffed fried mini-pizzas about the size of your palm. Theirs contained ricotta, parmesan and salami. Here they are being prepared. The panzerotti (Chicago's term for any stuffed pizza) differ from the Calzone (New York's term for same) in that the calzone is larger, entree-sized and baked. I have no recommendations of what to listen to while you make pizza but since Simone is a big jazz fan we ate pizza to Bird: The Original Recordings of Charlie Parker. Mmmm...