Or to put it in Italian “Amore a prima vista Italiano”.
If you are lucky you know what this means, you have felt it at least once, or better yet on a regular basis. Falling in love at first sight appeals to the child in you. No preoccupied thoughts, no prejudice, no restrictions and certainly no regrets. Can we live up to this thought on a daily basis? Can we walk the thought? I am not sure about that, there are pros and cons to this question. This one you have to figure out yourself. But let me tell when the lights start flashing….WOW, it feels good!
I wondered before, if I was born Italian in a former life. At least hopefully in one to come. Walking through Rotterdam last weekend the lights went off when I passed “La Vitae Bella”. The smell of freshly ground coffee mixed with what ever was going on in their kitchen entered my subconscious in an instant. Located in Rotterdam Kralingen at the Oostzeedijk Beneden, in one of the many o so nice little pockets close to Rotterdam center, a little Italian treasure is to be found. Here Sicilian Peppe and his wife Linda do the things with love, with passion. Ok, you as a reader know your places to get hold of a decent lunch sandwich. Lets say a Bufke, (for Limburg Dutch locals), or a Subway, preferably on a Wednesday when they have their meatball special. Or you fall for a burger at Mc.Donalds. But believe me, eating in this cozy little diner is like a short vacation in Italy.
You are surrounded by bottles of Olive oil extra Virgina, bottles of imported local wines and a wide variety of fromaggi ,(cheeses) and salumi,(cold cuts). These goodies are when ever possible from local manufactures, families, as in real persons. That is how honesty, kindness, and attention tastes like. Having trouble making up my mind in the variety of choices, Peppe made a personal panini for me. Thinly sliced salami peperoncino and topped with salty cheese and a cappucino on the side. Plated up by a nice Italian speaking lady, as in only speaking Italian lady!
Besides these short holiday lunch time celebrations, they offer catering and tasting events, and even turn your kitchen into a Sicilian island when you ask for it.
Here is a simple but tasty pasta dish, for four persons, from Peppe personally.
750 gram small Pachino tomatoes, or other small tasty ones.
3 gloves of garlic
Ricotta salata, or other Italian cheese to your liking
Pepper and sea salt
First make the sauce, so the flavors can fuse together.
Slice the tomatoes in half, put in a bowl together with the garlic and basil leaves
Add ground pepper, sea salt and a dash of olive oil, and mix with a (hand) blender
Cook the pasta “al dente” in boiling water with a good pinch of salt and some olive oil
The Pasta goes in a nice bowl, stir in some spoon fulls of the cold sauce and top with the grated cheese
Decorate with some small basilico leaves
Pachino tomatoes are called after the city Pachino, which is Europe’s most southern town on the Italian island Sicily.
Ricotta salata is a variation of ricotta that has been pressed, salted and dried.
La Vita e Bella is to be found at Oostzeedijk Beneden 229, 3061VV Rotterdam, the Netherlands, telephone: 0031-10-21 322 16