“Felice anno nuovo.” Happy New Year in Italian. To ring in the New Year, I thought it would be fun to combine T’s Teatime blog with T’s Italy, my website and Italy travel consultation effort, www.travelitalyexpert.com, concerning all things Italia! Although we cannot travel to sunny Italy just yet, for those of you who have been to this amazing land, or those hoping to go there when the world opens again, I thought you might enjoy learning about some old Italian traditions to help us say “ciao” big time to 2020. So instead of a cup of tea for your T’s Teatime, I am recommending a comforting cup of hot delicious soup popular with Italians around the New Year. Read on for the yummy details.
When one thinks of Italy, one thinks of course of the rolling hills of Tuscany, the stunning seaside scenes of the Amalfi Coast, the magnificent basilicas, and museums home to precious works of art, and then of course, there is the food. Regarding Italy and food, pasta might be the first delicacy that comes to mind and for good reason given the amazing variety of noodles and sauces. But for ringing in the New Year, think of another form of carbohydrates as in the complex carbohydrates known as legumes, or a more specific type of legume, as in lentils. Dishes, especially soups and stews, made with lentils are a staple of the Italian New Year’s menu. Being that lentils are shaped liked coins, Italians see them as a sign of good fortune, prosperity, and better things ahead. For me and my Italian American family, I whip up a batch of my healthy and delicious lentil soup, enough for several meals during cold winter nights.
Let’s face it. We don’t need to be reminded of all the struggles faced by so many in the last 12 months. We all recognize it has been a tough year. As I always stress in our T’s Teatime get-togethers, spending some down time away from the noise of the world is so important. This was never truer than in 2020. As an Italian American, spending time making meals with and for my family, is a form of therapy. We are doing something good by nourishing our bodies with good food and our souls with an activity that brings us together, especially at the end of a year that has kept so many loved ones apart.
Here is a great recipe from another Italian American, Giada De Laurentiis. This recipe is very close to mine. She adds elbow macaroni for a heartier dish. I like to use the Ditalini pasta, a smaller pasta shaped like little tubes. But the choice is yours. Enjoy and eat or “mangiare” as we say in Italian.
Have a blessed year! Andrà Tutto Bene!
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