Italy

Arborio Carbonara

I'm a big fan of using Arborio Rice in place of pasta. You literally cook it the same way you would cook any dry pasta, in a pot a well-salted boiling water, for about 11 minutes until al dente, and then drain.

Feel free to double the recipe (when I double the recipe I use three eggs), which will make enough for two people, plus leave you with leftovers for lunch the next day.

Arborio Carbonara

1 C Arborio Rice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

pinch chili flakes

4 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 egg

salt and pepper, to taste

Parmigiano, grated, to taste

- bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil - add Arborio Rice and cook 11 minutes, or until al dente

- while rice is cooking, heat olive oil in a pan - add garlic, chili flakes and bacon - cook until bacon is almost crispy

- while bacon is cooking, whisk egg, salt and pepper in a bowl

- drain rice and add it to the pan with the bacon - *DO NOT DRAIN FAT* - mix well - you want to coat all of the rice with bacon fat - add the bacon/rice mix to the bowl with the whisked egg - stir well to coat evenly with egg - add a couple of handfuls of grated Parm and mix well - serve hot with more grated cheese on top

* It may sound kind of gross to leave the bacon fat in this dish but, I'm sorry to say, it's a key ingredient (I'm not really sorry to say that). The hot bacon fat emulsifies with the raw egg, turning it into a glorious, silky, delicious sauce. Just go to the gym one extra time and you'll be fine.

Florence ~ Part 1

After the busy heat of Rome, we headed north to Florence which, although spectacular, and no less busy, was considerably cooler in temperature. Arriving by train around one on the afternoon left plenty of daylight to wander and explore.