Urbi et Orbi! (which is Latin for “To the City of Rome and to the world”)
That’s traditionally how His Holiness will kick off a speech to the masses gathered in Saint Peter’s Square. It seemed appropriate wince this week we took a little visit to the culinary world of Vatican City. Vatican City is the world’s smallest country, but for the longest time it dictated all of European power and sanctioned how monarchies ruled. Since we are Catholic, we felt like this would be an excellent country to explore during the Christmas week.
THE DINNER: I didn’t know that the Swiss guard were not only the protector of the Pope, they also run the kitchen! Every so often they put out a “Vatican Cookbook” which is not unlike the “White House Cookbook” that gets released from time to time. The recipe we picked is very old. In fact it dates back to the 12th century but became a Vatican staple in the 30’s when Pope Pius XII literally requested that the chef make him something “Roman”. How much more Roman can one get? Fettuccine is the essence of Roman and Italian cooking. Apart from that the fettuccine alla papalina is this gloriously decadent version of carbonara–which as we all are aware is and will always be the cats pajamas. Everyone loves a good carbonara. The differences between a traditional carbonara and the papalina dish is that it uses cream, Parmesan, and prosciutto instead of the traditional carbonara version with pancetta; as well as the omission of peas (which my mom was grateful for, i’m sure) and the papalina uses significantly less cream in it’s sauce.
BTW, for all you history buffs, the word “papalina” translates from Italian to mean “skullcap” which is one of the traditional head coverings worn by the Pope when he is not serving mass. Fun fact.
The second addition to the menu this week was in honor of the Brovsky’s favorite Pope: Pope John Paul II. Now, I know what you’re going to say, “Kris, you’re not supposed to have a favorite Pope!” apart from the slight blasphemous notion of this, we really did adore Pope John Paul; and he blessed my mom after she walked all the way to the top of Mother Cabrini (while pregnant!) when he came to Denver. So we wanted to honor him by making his favorite dessert, which is Polish as he was. This dessert is like a cream puff if it met and married a cake and they fell in love and this was their child. It’s called the Papal Cream Cake or Kremówka Papieska (in Polish).
Fettuccine alla Papalina Recipe: http://globaltableadventure.com/2013/10/03/recipe-the-popes-fettuccine-fettuccine-alla-papalina Kremówka Papieska Recipe: http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/polishdesserts/r/kremowka.htm?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=shareurlbuttons_nip
OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:
Ease of prep and cooking: ONE and A HALF STARS out of five this Dinner and for Dessert!
This was a cinch this week! The dessert was easy and the dinner! It’s good to note that the hardest part of all this will be not eating all the prosciutto before you fry it… that being said, the Pope is a simple man and though the basilica is an opulent place, these dishes are humble and satisfying. Those of you not akin to baking might find the custard chanllenging and that would bump it to a two or three star trial. But honestly, it’s mostly about patience with custard. Apart from that the pasta was very straight forward. Good clean lines all around. Total cook time was about an hour for both together.
Best dish of all time scale: FOUR & HALF stars for Dinner and Dessert.
It was heavenly! Seriously it was that good. Almost a five, but we decided that the dinner needed fresh Italian parsley or garlic, but we can’t wait to make this one again! When searching for Papal food this week for our country, I can across “fettuccine alla papalina” and I immediately fell in love. Like really big-hold-a-sterio-over-my-head-outside-your-window-L-O-V-E…. it had it all. Prosciutto. Egg Yolks. Heavy Cream. Onions… PASTA. It’s love at first taste. I promise. Beyond that, it’s simple and easy, which makes for a home run as far as I’m concerned. We also loved that Kremówka Papieska, which turned out to be a whole lot lighter than we anticipated, which was lucky since we stuffed ourselves with fettuccine 😉 it was refreshing, flaky, creamy and lovely.
As a little plot twist, we would like to let you know that we actually covered TWO countries this weekend as a double header! From Vatican City we moved over to Norway! Christmas time in the Brovsky house has always involved a trip to Norway— more on that in the next entry!
– L & K