We're going to start off this month with some Italian tastes and tales that can help you and your family get as excited about this month as we are!
And now for a little Italian charm...
One Italian folktale narrates the story of a barren queen who envies a blossoming rosemary bush. Shortly after seeing the plant, the queen is blessed with a baby—a little rosemary bush of her own! Not until her nephew, the King of Spain, steals the bush and places it in his garden does a beautiful girl appear from the leaves. He visits her daily, playing her songs on his flute, but one day, war breaks out, and he must go to protect his country. When the king leaves, his jealous sisters find the rosemary girl in the garden and decide to hurt her so that their brother won't keep visiting her. The gardener, who failed to protect the rosemary girl, flees in fear of the king's coming wrath. But while escaping, he overhears two dragons discussing the only means of salvation for the rosemary girl: If she is to live, someone must defeat the dragons and take ingredients from them for a special medicine! Having found a way to save his own neck, as well as that of the rosemary girl, the gardener (the unexpected hero of the tale) triumphs over the dragons and cooks up the medicine, enabling the smitten King to marry his beloved rosemary girl.
In honor of the rosemary girl, try this pasta dish! (We promise, no dragons were harmed in the making of this recipe).
Rosemary and Pancetta Pasta
- 1 1/2-2 jars Monte Bene Tomato Basil pasta sauce
- 1 lb. pasta (elbow or fusilli pasta recommended)
- 2/3 cup chopped carrot
- 2/3 cup chopped white onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced pancetta
- 2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
Cook 1 lb pasta al dente, drain, and set aside. Simmer (medium heat) carrots and onion in 2 tsp olive oil until tender. In another skillet, add remaining tsp olive oil and turn heat to medium high. When your oil is hot, add the rosemary and and pancetta. Cook about one minute, stirring constantly. Add Monte Bene Tomato Basil pasta sauce to onion and carrot mixture, then add rosemary and pancetta. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt to taste. Mix 1/2 cup of sauce mixture into pasta to coat it and prevent it from sticking. Plate pasta and add remaining sauce. Top with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve.
Calvino, Italo, comp. Italian Folktales. Translated by George Martin. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1980. 583-585.
Hazan, M. (1997). Pasta. In Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking(pp. 153-154). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.