No doubt about it, my husband and I have Italian souls…think they were always lurking there just waiting to burst forth!
The beginning of our first return visit to Italy took us to just outside Lucca, arriving in Pisa from Rome in a small, propellor airplane! Oh my God, I am a very nervous flyer, so all I can say is, damned good thing I was too tired to be too scared!
We, along with another couple, had rented a lovely, slightly rustic, two-bedroom house (Il Mulinetto) that was formerly an olive mill. The owner, an English expat, had renovated the old mill and lived just up the hill. We were delighted, when we arrived, to see the kitchen but the bedrooms were the best part! Ours had a kingsize bed with plenty of closet space and a large bathroom that even had a tub (unusual in a lot of rentals). That first night we fell into a deep sleep and I awoke thinking I had probably had the best night’s sleep in my life. Threw open the windows and gazed upon the hills at the beginning of a gorgeous, sunny day in Tuscany.
We also awoke to the sound of gunfire! It was Sunday morning in the Tuscan countryside and that means “men with guns” and little birds being shot at for Sunday lunch!
Our host welcomed us that morning with a bottle of his own EVO made from olives from his grove just above “our house”. I’m sold; can we stay forever? Please.
On one of the visits into Lucca we planned on having lunch at a little place called Trattoria Da Leo on via Tegrini. We sat outside, basically in an alley, and had a terrific lunch. Joe ordered pasta with a creamy cauliflower and sausage sauce.** His pasta was the winner that day! When we came home he asked me if I could try and recreate it. Well, my version may not be exactly the same as theirs, but it is still really good.
**If you would like to make my version of Da Leo’s pasta, please go to Cauliflower Sausage Pasta alla Da Leo.