Today, the regions that we were focusing on were Sicily and Sardenia, which are the two largest islands off of Italy's coast. Sicily is the large island at the tip of Italy's "boot" toe, and Sardenia is due west of Tuscany. Obviously, being islands, they are well known for their seafood!
First up? Probably one of the best pasta dishes I have had in Italy to date:
The sauce was made by first sauteeing red onion in olive oil. Once it had carmelized a little, we tossed in garlic, tomatoes that had been boiled, peeled, and chopped, basil, and the usual salt&pepper. While the sauce was thickening, we deep fried strips of eggplant in oil, adding them in just before the sauce was done. Toss the al dente penne with the sauce, top with parmesan and extra strips of eggplant, and voila! Deliciousness. I may have gone back for seconds.
Next up was calamari imbottiti, which is stuffed squid. A lot of people in my class were real babies about trying this dish, but I sucked it up and gave it a try. I wasn't SUPER impressed; it was a bit "fishy" for my taste, but at least I tried it!
The calamari was stuffed with breadcrumbs, parsley, and the chopped tentacles, lightly fried, then simmered in a tomato sauce made with white wine until tender.
Finally, my group was in charge of the dessert (how does that always happen?). We made a cassatta siciliana.
Now that I'm back from class, I'm totally exhausted due to the pills I took earlier today for my ALLERGIES which have been acting up! Something about this Florentine pollen is really aggravating my nose; I've been having sneezing attacks and my eyes are constantly puffy and watery. I'm surprised that I haven't terrified the locals with my teary appearance. So today, I meandered down to the farmacia and demanded relief from the man at the counter, who handed me a box, took my eight euro, and gave me no directions on how often to take the pills, etc. Welcome to Italy.