Way back in my late teens, after a lackluster high school experience, I was ready to get the heck out of Auburn, Maine and see something different. I was sick of school and I didn’t even take the SAT; rather, I was determined to join the Army and see Europe. My Mom wasn’t too happy with my decision, but she didn’t stand in my way and in October 1987, I left home for basic training in Alabama (of all places.)
When I signed up, Uncle Sam asked where I’d like to be stationed after training. I knew that I wanted to a.) go to Europe, b.) preferably Italy, and c.) anywhere away from Maine. A. and C. became a reality; however, I never got to go to Italy. I’m not sure where the fantasy came from, but it seemed to me that life there was as good as it got: great food, beautiful women (keeping in mind that I was 18 at the time,) and a different way of life that seemed to be more about living in the present and enjoying every day. Since I still haven’t made it there, that fantasy still exists and all I have are Italian food and wine to momentarily quench it.
This recipe from Lidia Bastianich helped me to feel Italian for the day as I baked up a delicious hazelnut torte and made some zabaglione to go along with it. In my fantasy, my lovely wife and I have had friends and family over for a big Sunday dinner and are relaxing in the afternoon with a slice of this torte and a cup of coffee as the ladies chat and the men take in a
soccer football match. I know this is how things go down in Italy all the time. If it isn’t, don’t tell me; let me have my fantasy.