Massimo R.

January 21st, 2016 § 0 comments

HG/BSK’s son-in-law, Massimo R., is a man of many talents and distinctions. First of all, he is a distinguished scholar: professor of Italian Studies at Brown University, author of a number of books; a pioneer in making Italian literature and culture available on the internet. The Italian government honored his contributions to Italian culture by naming him a “Grande Ufficiale” of the republic last year. A tall, handsome man with an imperious Roman nose, Massimo has impeccable style, cutting “la bella figura.” He is fluent in Italian, English, French and reads German and Spanish. And, if all this wasn’t enough, he is a warm, caring husband and father. Plus, he has a history of being a tennis champion in his youth and is still a formidable force on the court. Yes, Massimo is formidable. But, he has endearing, humanizing flaws. He has an infinite capacity to lose, forget and misplace: keys, wallets, papers, directions, etc.. He meets technological challenges with impatience and heartfelt cries of “Madonna!!!”. HG has enjoyed many wonderful meals with Massimo in Italy, Canada, France and the United States. His wine judgment is excellent and, unlike most Italians, he is an adventurous diner, relishing the foods of India, the Far East, Middle East and South America. He has encouraged HG to eat horse carpaccio, donkey sausage and other hearty, unlikely Italian treats. HG and Massimo have only two food disagreements. HG prefers pasta a bit more cooked than Massimo’s rigid al dente version. And, once Massimo cooked risotto with bubbling Guiness Stout. HG thought this an unfortunate marriage of a beverage and an ingredient that should remain strangers. Thus, HG faced dinner one night during HG/BSK’s recent Rhode Island visit with nervous trepidation. Massimo had prepared Ribollita. This is a classic poor person’s dish, a Tuscan soup that is a hearty potage of left over bread, cannellini beans, cabbage, onions, carrots, potatoes, broth and whatever other vegetables are lingering in the refrigerator. No need to fear. Topped with chopped parsley and garlic, grated cheese and good novello olive oil and accompanied by red wine, it was a nourishing, comforting winter dinner. HG/BSK will add the dish to their repertoire. And,while they’re at it they’ll give some other Tuscan bread dishes like Pappa al Pomodoro and Panzanella some special attention. These should be great in the summer when sun is hot and tomatoes are ripe.

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