Sono ritornato. War zone cooking is back. I’ve been sick, so a lot of the war zone cookery has been hearty bagged frozen soups, a classic of the diet of the workingman in northern Italy, but really not much to write home about.
My first couple of non-dining hall, non-frozen soup dishes — a Caprese on a warm afternoon and a pile of pasta pomodoro — were so simple I’m not even going to post recipes but a few keys things made them much better than the norm: excellent EVOO, fresh basil and a surprise tomato find. First off, our dear Italian PXs are getting direly understocked. If it continues, it’ll make this blog a lot more interesting. The silver lining in this is that I’ve spring for the Italia Bio olive oil since it was one of the few left.
I also accidentally bought, and then promptly exchanged, something I’d never heard of which is apparently not only vile but also possibly carcinogenic — olive pomace oil. The label, festooned in Italian flags, did get a sucker like me. After reading up on this stuff, I exchanged it for a bottle of passable Spanish EVOO. This was at one of the American PXs.
As I mentioned, we have some fresh basil growing at post. I’ve harvest an emergency supply for the coming cold weather, and tried the apparently tried and true method of blanching, drying and freezing it.
I’ve long complained about the fresh cherry tomatoes here, which I’ve found not even fit for cooking. But I spied some thick slices of juicy round tomatoes at a sandwich bar, and nabbed them for the Caprese.
When I first met my wife (a northerner through and through), she told me that she had to have pasta pomodoro every few days, and that sometimes, there’s simply nothing more satisfying. Done right, which good olive oil, good grana, and fresh basil. there’s simply nothing better. My next recipe is less simple, so I’ll leave it at that.