November 2023 News from Elizabeth
48 hours in Ortigia Sicily & Leftover Pasta Recipe
I just came home from the market with a chunk of pumpkin and a vague idea that I wanted to make soup. So I googled ‘pumpkin soup’ and this is the first recipe that popped up. It turned out to be a recipe by me. It was also the very first thing I ever wrote on my blog. My first post was exactly 14 years ago today. Happy Blog Birthday to me!
Things have certainly changed since I first started my blog. I had a vague idea it would turn into something, I just wasn’t quite sure what. I had no idea at the time that it would lead me to write 3 books, an app and found a food tour business.
These days I share less on the blog ( a few recipes a month), and much more on this newsletter, as well as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Video has obviously become a big part of what I do. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 14 years since I started a new thing called a ‘blog.’ But as much as things have changed, I’m still telling stories and sharing recipes. And I’m so thankful that not only are there are always new stories to discover, but that you are still interested in hearing about them. Thank you!!
It’s been a busy month! Sophie and I lead a tour together in Puglia, which was really fun. We so rarely lead tours together these days, that it was a real treat spending time with her. Sophie has pretty much decided that Puglia is ‘her’ tour, so I have to admit that I sort of felt like I was one of her guests. Which was great. If you’d like to join her next year, we still have a few spots left for the Puglia
March 11-16, 2023 Bari with Sophie
April 21-27 Salento with Elizabeth
May 27 - June 2 Bari with Sophie
I also spent a week in Sicily, leading our tour based in Ortigia. I arrived in Ortigia a few days early to do some research for upcoming tours as well as just explore (which I’m sharing below in the Ortigia Weekend Guide). We’ll be announcing new dates for Sicily the Fall of 2024 soon, through the Premium Newsletter and still have a handful of spaces left for our Western Sicily Palermo-based tour in April 2024.
Sophie was also back in Puglia a second time with a private group. Did you know we arrange private small group tours? If you can pull together a group of 10-12 friends we are happy to arrange one of our tours to Puglia, Sicily, Parma or Umbria just for your group. Send us an email to find out more.
Although most of our other tours are completely full for 2024, there are still a handful of spots available. You can find the updated schedule here.
I’ll be announcing new tours in the next few weeks for the end of 2024 and (Yikes!) 2025. Make sure you are subscribed to the Premium Newsletter so you don’t miss out. (If you click the button below you can see if you are already signed up for the premium version. And if not, you’ll see the various pricing options. )
WHERE I’VE BEEN
48 Hours in Ortigia, Sicily
I arrived two days early for my week long tour in Sicily. It was partly to have a fun weekend with Domenico and partly to research new things for our tour ( restaurants, adventures, etc). Just in case you are thinking of spending a weekend in Ortigia (and you definitely should) I thought you would enjoy a short weekend guide:
Ortigia: This is the historical center of Siracusa, and is an island connected to the mainland by two small bridges. It is one of the most charming seaside towns in Sicily.
Getting There: Catania is the closest airport to Ortigia and is where you fly into. You can either take a car and driver for the one hour drive (I use this service or you can just grab a taxi). There are also buses, which gets you to Siracusa but then you have to get a taxi into Ortigia.
Friday Aperitivo: There is no better way to ease into life in Ortigia than an apertivo in one of the grandest piazzas in Italy: The Piazza del Duomo. The classic bar Condorelli faces the duomo and definitely has the most dramatic view. For a more low key setting Caffe Minerva, located on end of the piazza towards the side of the Duomo is my choice.
Friday Dinner: Macalle’ serves some of the best food in town. The focus is fish, but there are other options. Everything is based on rigorously local seasonal ingredients. Don’t miss the panna cotta for dessert which is often made with local lemons.
Saturday Morning: Take a walk around the center and visit the Duomo, the ancient Mikveh (write firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit) and the Galleria Regionale Palazzo Bellomo, a sweet museum with a few really great paintings.
Saturday Lunch: Grab lunch in the market at one of these three places: Fratelli Burgio (Antipasto boards to die for); Bordieri (they make famous panini to go or to take away) or , my personal favorite Central Bar L’Antico Mercato on Via Raffaele Lanza. It’s barely a restaurant and the only cooking they do is on a coal fired grill where they slap on whole squid or swordfish steaks. (here is a video I made of the lunch I had there last year)
Saturday Afternoon: After a nap or a swim, head to the Museo dei Pupi to see a puppet show preformed with 17th century marionettes (at 5pm daily).
Saturday Dinner: Chiodo was a recent discovery and I love it’s laid back vibe. Great atmosphere, wonderful food and one of they best playlists playing in the background.
Sunday Breakfast: Stop by Artale for a typical Sicilian breakfast of granita and brioche . While there pick up something for your picnic. (arancini)
Morning Activity: Take a walk to the new part of town to Piazza Santa Lucia Visit the church of Santa Lucia and then wander around the Sunday market (both a flea market and food market. Get some fruit for your picnic)
Go for a hike: Pista Cicabile Rossana Maiorca. This bike path is one of my favorite hikes and runs atop the cliffs opposite Ortigia. Make sure you bring along water since it’s 100% nature and there is no place to buy anything.
Go back to Ortigia, pick up your luggage and go to the airport
Here are more of my favorites in Ortigia in case you are there for longer than just a weekend.
WHAT I’M READING
Here’s a great guide to Florence from Emiko Davies.
Will climate change re-write the rules governing DOP foods in Europe? This article (unlocked) explains some of the challenges traditional food producers are facing.
Halfway through Tom Lake. I know a lot of you told me to listen to it on audio, but I’m reading it. And definitely not loving it. I must be missing something?
A beautiful love letter to living in - and visiting - a mid century modern home in New York State.
WHAT I’M EATING
I know a lot of you have said that leftover pasta is not a thing in your household. But I’m here to tell you that next time you make pasta you should make an extra portion and hide it before you sit down to dinner. Then you can make what has got to be one of my favorite lunches: Pasta Frittata. There are infinite variations, but here is the base to start from:
Leftover Pasta Frittata
1 cup left over pasta (I used pasta with cauliflower and potatoes)
1/2 cup cubed cheese (I used a piece of caciocavallo )
If your pasta is coming out of the fridge give it time to come to room temp. Break two eggs into a bowl, beat with a fork and add the leftover pasta. (If the pasta is in big pieces you might want to it it up first). Mix the pasta with the eggs. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Coat the bottom of a small frying pan with olive oil, bring to medium heat and add the egg mixture, using a spoon to spread it evenly. Cook over medium heat until the top is completely cooked. It should take about 7 minutes.
Cut into quarters and serve. It’s the perfect amount for lunch for two, served with salad. It’s also good room temperature and obviously makes the perfect brunch.
It was fun sharing what I love about one of my favorite dishes from Bari for the New York Times.
It’s never too early to start shopping for the holidays, right? Do all your loved ones have all of our books?