Cooking With Nonna


In the comments from my last post, Lucia had asked me what my favorite foods are; coincidentally they align with the topic for Blog Post #2: Food and Family. Being raised in a very northern Italian home, it was frequent that the women of my family, young and old, would gather at my nonna’s house to prepare meals for my large family. Growing up on foods like Pasta Prosciutto, Tortellini, Tortellacci, and Pasta Fritte has taught me to appreciate these foods that were not accepted my many of my friends when they came for dinner. And now being at school, so far away from a kitchen with any sort of homemade pasta, I crave the food constantly. I look forward to the holidays when my cousins and I pick up all of the old auties and take over my nonna’s kitchen, folding thousands of tiny tortellini. Our family all joins together and enjoys the soup which tastes that much better after taking the time to prepare it ourselves. My nonna cooks every night so when I am home on break and it is not the holidays, I will casually plan my visit to see Guido and Dirce right around the time she would be cooking up something delicious! As my nonna gets older, we worry about how we will carry on these traditional Italian foods; though we do much of the preparation, Nonna never trusts us enough to completely make the dough, and naturally none of her recipes are documented! Our family has recently merged with the largest Greek family in our Chicagoland area, and we are all very nervous to see what kinds of foods they are going to make us eat on our holidays all together!


This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to cook at my boyfriend’s apartment and I jumped on the idea! I was so excited to finally be able to cook something that would be catered to my likings as opposed to the food that is made for the masses at my sorority house. It was a different combination of food, but I was in the mood for mashed potatoes and pasta! My boyfriend and I decided to prepare some Parmesan chicken and dice it up to add to our pesto pasta. After using a fork to smash the potatoes, we finally enjoyed our dinner for two with a glass of wine. Now that I cook fairly regularly at my boyfriend’s apartment, I have decided to start purchasing kitchen tools so that I do not have to struggle trying to mash potatoes with a cheap fork! I went to Target with my mom when I was home a few weekends ago and got a potato masher. Even though Sean and I still do not have a mixer to completely remove the lumps from the mashed potatoes, they will be very tiny with the new masher! I was not thrilled with the pesto sauce, but it was not terrible for making it on my own for the first time! I have to say that I did cheat and used a preparation kit that I bought at my favorite Italian grocery store, called Poeta’s, but I decided I would still call it home made since everything that they sell is made by the owner’s sisters. I love going into the store and being able to grab a bag of tortellini’s knowing that they were not made by a machine! Ideally, I would like to have my nonna’s tortellini, but she is so old that now she only makes them on special occasions. So the old ladies at Poeta’s pasta is the next best thing! I am very excited to make dinner again, hopefully, next time will be fillet mignon and some more difficult foods considering we are becoming little chef’s now!



The lovely seven other ladies in the picture are some of my first cousins! We are all at my cousin Kristin’s (the tallest one next to Nonna) bridal shower! I had just gotten back from Europe the night before and three of my other female cousins could not attend because of work, school, and another was still studying abroad in Europe. My whole family lives within the same few towns around Chicago or they live in Italy, so it is always very exciting when we all get together. Kristin’s bridal shower was beautiful; it was on a golf course at her country club that was completely taken over by Italian women! I wish I had more pictures of my nonna to put on the blog, but I do not. The next time I go back home, I will dig up some old photos and scan them into the computer so that you can see them!

Can’t wait to show you what a lovely family I have!


1 Response to “Cooking With Nonna”

  1. 1 lucia January 20, 2011 at 3:29 am

    nice posts!!
    i think you should dedicate an entire post to your nonna, if you can adding some pictures from the past too.
    she’d be so proud!!

    i love this pic you posted! who are all these girls??!

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