Private Chef and Food & Wine Tours in Umbria!

-1Take a look at my PAGE or click on the Food & Wine Tours link above to find out more about fun excursions for visitors to Umbria.  I offer private chef service, bicycle tours, picnic lunches, cooking classes, winery tours, farm tours and more - all from an eno-gastronomical point of view!

I am also able to create custom Food & Wine tours in collaboration with artisan producers and experienced guides with whom I have worked over the past 11 years here in Italy.  Please contact me for any information on suggested accommodations and itinerary building. 

Become a fan of my Life...Italian Style Facebook Page for more up to date posts and photos- see you in Umbria!


Timing is Everything....

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So, many of you have been wondering what I have been doing over the past three months as I have obviously not been in Umbria!  Well, the definitive answer is that no, I have not moved back to the US.

Basically, during our (trying to be) annual winter trip to the states, I found myself at my friends Bill & Suzy's Via Umbria in DC when they were transitioning between chefs.  Those who have been, know that Via Umbria has a lot of moving parts:  a breakfast & lunch cafe, retail shop, wine store, butcher counter, cheese monger, private dinner space, art gallery, catering, events... I could go on..., but the point is that it is not easy to find a chef to take care of everything that needs to happen, and take care of it with an Umbrian flair.  It was a moment when they were without a chef and I was wondering around with nothing to do in my off season, and so they asked me to step in and take over.  This was not a decision to take lightly  - I had my kids with me and our world was about to turn upside down... but, as I have always done in my relatively nomadic life, I took a leap of faith and temporarily jumped back into the pool (the pool being working at a restaurant in the states).

As we had already been out of our 'structured' life for about a month or so, my kids were starting to go a little stir crazy so we enrolled them in DC schools - a decision I will never regret.  Although it was stressful (mostly for me as a mother), I had the unique opportunity to witness how truly social, intelligent and 'flexible' my children could be.  They loved every minute of being in an American school, meeting new friends, and basically living and learning in a new language - their first language has always been Italian, but after this trip I can definitely say that they are fluent in English as well... maybe too fluent as their temper tantrums have a decidedly American teenager slant to them (my children are 4 and 6).... ;-)  Unfortunately, however, after about a month, I realized that my work schedule was too heavy for them, and that my daughter, being in first grade, was about to miss too many days of school in Italy, so I made the difficult decision to send them back to Italy and continue on in DC.

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Meanwhile, back at Via Umbria, I got more than a taste of what it is like to be a working executive chef again in the States!  The place was definitely in need of an overhaul, so I worked on menus with my friend Simone Proietti Pesci from Le Delizie del Borgo in Bevagna to reorganize the lunch cafe and Italian Dinner Parties and began to put Via Umbria back on track.  A couple of weeks turned into a couple of months of long 12-15 hour work days and endless Uber rides... and those who follow me on Instagram and other social media know that a #FreeJennifer movement was even started by the staff to get me home to Italy! ;-)

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Eventually we found a new chef to take over the reigns.  It is hard to walk away from a project that you worked so hard on: from sorting recipes and employees to organizing the walk-in (every day) to schmoozing with customers... but timing is everything and even though the thought did cross my mind to stay.... because I was good at running that place... I've done the standing in the kitchen all day thing for 20 odd years and it is just not what I want to be doing right now... so I had to walk away and put my trust in the new kitchen staff.  But I am not gone forever!  I'll be back this winter to do dinner events and see all of the new friends and clients that I have made over these past few months... and I will definitely try to get video access to make sure the walk-in is in check...

A big thank you to the entire Menard clan - it was not easy, but it was a great experience... keep the Veuve Cliquot chilled for me!

My job interview with Salvatore Denaro

IMG_945410 years and a few weeks ago I walked into a crazy little restaurant in Foligno and asked if I could work in the kitchen.  I was immediately turned down (young American girl, obviously I don't know how to cook).

10 years ago today, I woke up feeling determined (more like F-that!).  I made gnocchi, and drove over (I barely made it as I didn't really know how to drive a manual car at that point... and definitely got lost among the side streets of Foligno a few times).

It was a Friday, around 2:30 in the afternoon.  I said to the owner - I really want to work here - I made you gnocchi!  He replied - We make gnocchi on Thursdays.... but I guess we can try them.

So he cooked them, and we sat down and ate them, discussing the differences between mine and theirs over a bottle or 2 of wine (as one did in this locale), and so began my job interview with Salvatore Denaro at Il Bacco Felice.

Salvatore then asked what I was doing for the rest of the afternoon - I obviously had no plans - so he said come with me on a few errands.  First we had to wait for the mozzarella delivery man to bring us, and his famous dog Rosa (now departed), to the mechanic to get his old Renault out of the shop (we stopped for a grappa along the way).
Then we stopped by his orto, or garden, filled with wild, overgrown plants (it was spring), chickens, rows of roses, and 2 enormous black pigs.  We picked some chicory and arugula and lettuce and I showed him the stinging nettles (my favorite) and we were on our way to make deliveries to his friends (other restaurant owners).
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For the rest of the evening we basically ate and drank our way through the Bevagna/Montefalco area.  Around 1:00 or 2:00 am the calls starting coming in wondering where the hell we were.  So we headed back to the restaurant, bread in hand (for dinner service - we had responsibly picked that up as well on our tour).  Salvatore turned to me and said - okay - you’re hired - because you are the only one who can keep up with me (he was referring to drinking).  So I took the compliment and began (extremely hungover) the next day.

What followed was a crazy ride of trial by fire.  Remember I had only been in Italy for about 2 months so only spoke about four words of Italian and had really no idea how Italian kitchens/restaurants worked - it is a very different system than that of America.  Basically Salvatore would leave a bunch of ingredients out on the counter (then leave to run his errands) and I was supposed to magically know what to make.  Needless to say I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned quickly.
He loved to make fun of me, calling me a pharmacist, as I measured out portions of pasta.  'That is not how you cook,' he said, dumping kilos of pasta into the water - 'a little more for this table, a little less for them because I don’t like them!'

And so it went, I learned the bases of the Umbrian and Sicilian kitchens (Salvatore is Sicilian), as well as the best products from the rest of Italy as Salvatore was huge in the Slow Food movement in the area.  Obviously I learned about wine.  I had no choice but to dive head first into Sagrantinos and Montefalco Rossos…. like on hot July mornings when he wanted to drink (never alone) so I was forced to down half a bottle of Sagrantino around 9:30 am while prepping for lunch….
The craziest days were those when he wouldn’t show up until around 2:00pm for lunch (bread in hand) so I would have to be the server (with my 4 words of Italian) as well, begging people to let me give them a glass of wine even if they didn’t want it…. because if he walked in and everyone was not drinking, he would throw us all out!

And no it was not all wine and roses... we fought all the time - he actually fired me twice - basically because I cleaned too much.  But I always say that if you have never been on/seen Salvatore's bad side, then you don't really know him.  I know him and am still proud to call him a friend and teacher.  I am sad that I am missing our anniversary in Italy (I am working at Via Umbria in DC)  as we had planned to recreate our famous (infamous) giro... but we can always find a time to share a bottle or 3 together when I get back!

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10 Years of Good Times...


10 years ago today I landed in Italy.  10 years ago nothing was open on Sundays.  Now, not only is the supermarket in my little village open on Sunday mornings, but I can even find sushi (crappy sushi, but hey, it’s a start!).  So many things have changed.  The country has changed, I have changed.  I did a complete 360 going from my crazy, fast paced city life, to my crazy, a little less fast paced country life.  I left the frustrating politics and bureaucracy of the US for the even more frustrating politics and bureaucracy of Italy.  I learned how to drive stick shift, I learned how to ride a horse.  I opened two businesses, I had two kids.  I learned to live in a new language.  And as I would have anywhere, I have experienced births and deaths, love and loss, laughter and tears, the comings and goings of friendships old and new.
The grass is always greener on the other side and as many envy my ‘life in Italy’, Italians envy the life they think I should be living back in the States!  There is no perfect place to live - if there was, we would all be there.  I always say, I am in the right place for me at this point in my life.
I wanted to create a collage of photos, but who could pick from 10 years - there are just too many moments and too many people to include.  So I chose this photo… kind of that daily balance of sinking and swimming… and to quote Good Times, because through it all there have been a lot of good times… Keepin’ your head above water, Makin’ a wave when you can.

Via Umbria in DC for the Holidays!

10001493_1064454123575303_6110485662897086675_nA return trip to our friends at Via Umbria in Georgetown, Washington DC is in the works!  We will be holding cooking classes, tastings and dinners and we hope to see you there!  Here our dates, please see the Via Umbria site for more information:

December 20-23
December 27-30
Jan 4-7

From January 8-18, I will be in the Philadelphia area - let's meet up for an aperitivo! :-)

Spring Tour USA 2016 - Events Schedule

Seattle Events February 5-12

Feb 5 - Delaurenti - Trampetti Olive Oil Tasting, from 1:00 - 6:00
Feb 6 - The Shop Agora - Terre Margaritelli wine & Trampetti Olive Oil Tasting, from 2:00 - 6:00
Feb 9 - PoggiBonsi (Renton) - cooking class with me, wine & olive oil tasting 6:00 - 8:00
Feb 10 - PoggiBonsi (Renton) - cooking class with me, wine & olive oil tasting 6:00 - 8:00
Feb 11 - Barnacle - Terre Margaritelli & Trampetti wine & olive oil tastings 3:00 - 6:00

Nashville Events Feb 15-17

Washington DC Events Feb 19-28 at Via Umbria in Georgetown:

Feb 19 - Cooking Class with me & Terre Margaritelli tasting
Feb 20 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner
Feb 24 - Trampetti Olive Oil tasting
Feb 25 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner
Feb 26 - Cooking Class with me & Terre Margaritelli tasting
Feb 27 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner
Feb 28 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner

Grand Cayman Feb 29-March 11
(ok, this is vacation, but if you are there and want to organize something or just hang out, let me know!)

Philadelphia & NYC Events March 13-23

March 15 - Boffi Soho showroom (NYC) cooking demo & Terre Margaritelli wine tasting
March 16 - Boffi Soho showroom (NYC) cooking demo & Terre Margaritelli wine tasting
TBA - Urbani Truffles (NYC) cooking demo & Terre Margaritelli wine tasting

rest of dates TBA

Spring Tour USA 2016!

As some of you already know we are planning our big US Tour!  In each city we will be holding private dinners, Terre Margaritelli wine tastings, Trampetti olive oil tastings, cooking classes and much more!  Below you will find the dates for each city, if you would like to organize a private wine dinner (minimum 8 people), send me an email and we will do our best to accommodate you.  Follow along on my social media for our upcoming event calendar!

Seattle: February 5-12

Nashville: February 15-17

Washington DC: February 19-28

Grand Cayman: March 1-11

Philadelphia/NYC area: March 13-23

Weekend Escape: Naples & Pozzuoli (part 2)

IMG_9663Finally on to Naples!  Now I have heard 2 versions... one that it is a chaotic, dirty, crime-ridden mess, and two that it is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy.... obviously I will have to see for myself!

We took the standard Metro train (line 2) from Pozzuoli to Naples, which, in theory, takes about 30 minutes... but could take much longer for no apparent reason as this train likes to just stop for awhile every now and again.  Do not take this train if you have an appointment that you need to be on time for!  But if you just want to arrive in Naples at some random point in time during the day, it is fine.  Welcome to Southern Italy. 
The train dropped us off in the Chiaia district of Naples which is pretty much the opposite of everything you have ever heard about this city.  Large, tree lined boulevards, gorgeous palazzos, and all of the major designers from Prada to Gucci to Louis Vuitton... there was even a nice Umbrian representation from our high end designers like Brunello Cucinelli and Luisa Spagnoli.

But I did not come to Naples to see the same shops I can see in every major city.  I want to eat!  So we walk along through the center for two very important first stops:  Sfogliatella Mary and Gran Caffè Gambrinus.  I have eaten a few sfogliatelle in my day, but never hot out of the oven, crispy pastry, with warm, steaming lemon scented sweet ricotta on the inside... I now fully understand what all of the fuss is about.  Don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach - there is a lot to eat in Naples so do yourself a favor and keep moving. 
Up next is an espresso from Gran Caffe Gambrinus, one of the most famous, historic bar-caffetterie in Naples, known as a meeting place for the cultural elite of Italy.  Apart from the beautiful 19th century decor, you will be amazed by the service.  The day I was there, the long bar was packed with people 5 deep, and 3 men all in their 60s & 70s (maybe even 80s) served us in minutes - these guys will put any coffee house anywhere in the world to shame.  And the coffee..... it takes a few extra seconds to make a true caffè Napoletano with the traditional manual lever machine, but it is worth the wait.  Served in a screaming hot porcelain tazzina, the stiff crema on top is enough to bring tears to any coffee lover's eyes.

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Moving deeper into the centro antico, the streets narrow and the air becomes laden with the perfumes of deep fried food and pizza.  So we stop again for a snack (why not?).  This time a frittatina napoletana.  I don't even know how to begin describing this... I only know that 4 days later, I am still full from having eaten it!  Basically it is gooey macaroni and cheese (but made with broken spaghetti) formed into a ball and stuffed with meat ragù.  Then closed back up, breaded, and..... fried.  You get the picture.  Across from the frittatina place was a (self described) enoteca.... this is one of those 'only in Napoli' type places - a guy with a few bottles (wine, prosecco, beer) sitting on top of a barrel with plastic cups.  Everything that could be misspelled was and everything cost either €1 or €1.50.  Sooooo, yeah, why not?

We decided that maybe it was time for a little culture break to aid the digestion so we dove into the Napoli Sotterranea, or Naples Underground.  Here you can do a guided or self guided tour through 2400 years of history - into the real 'old town' of Naples!  We also popped into the Chiesa di Gesu Nuovo a church which looks like a fascist war barracks from the outside, but inside holds a bomb of Baroque religious art and architecture.  And of course, no visit to Naples would be complete without a trip down Via San Gregorio Armeno, aka, Christmas Alley.  Here you will meet all of your Nativity scene needs, as it is packed with workshops and stores hocking everything from made in China holy family knick knacks to elaborate handmade porcelain and silk models.  This was the busiest, most congested street in all of Naples. 

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Believe it or not, all of the above was accomplished before 1:00pm, and believe it or not, it was now lunch time and we were starting to feel a little peckish... Naples is the first and only city I have ever been in in Italy (so far) that did not completely empty out at 1:00, especially on a Sunday.  Usually, this is when restaurants open for lunch and anyone in town either dives in hoping for  a place or heads home.  Honestly, other than pizzerie, I didn't really even see a whole lot of restaurants in the old historic part of Naples... and this is because this area is known for its Street Food (of which we had been partaking all morning).  Walking back up Spaccanapoli, the main road of this quarter, we stopped at a Friggitoria with a huge line (mob of people), so, we got in it too.  We pushed our way up to get paper cones overflowing with fritto misto (mixed fried fish & vegetables and of course, fried dough).

Do I want to explode at this point? Ummm.... yes.  We took a break at another local bar for a much needed digestivo and another amazing caffè, this time sweetened, at Bar Mexico, before meandering our way back through the byways of Naples.
The food portion of the day was pretty much over now, so how about a little shopping?  One aspect that really stuck out for me were all of the small, locally owned artisan shops, especially the Sartorie - you can find amazing tailored men's clothing all over the city - I was actually a little jealous - the women's clothing were all pretty standard... but the men's....!

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A walk along the waterfront to take in a cloudy view of Vesuvius and Capri and our day in Napoli was complete.  So what is missing from this anecdote?  Crime, trash, chaos....  I didn't see any of this.  Naples is a city, and like any city, it has a certain grime to it, but I found it to be much cleaner than Rome.  I also didn't see any obvious pickpockets and gypsies like I do in Florence and Rome.  Obviously there are bad areas in Naples, really bad, but they are far enough from the historic center and you wouldn't go walking around looking for trouble in those neighborhoods, just like you wouldn't go walking around in South Central LA...common sense.  The town moves at a frenetic pace as it is densely populated but I didn't feel overrun (of course, I was visiting in January... I don't think I would have enjoyed myself as much with the added tourists and heat of July).  I found Naples to be vibrant, lively and completely charming, not to mention delicious, and I cannot wait to return!

Grazie Mille to Bryan & Ellen Barletto for guiding us through Pozzuoli and Naples!!!


Weekend Escape: Naples & Pozzuoli (part 1)

FullSizeRender-3Naples is not for first time visitors to Italy.  Even I have been wanting to visit Bella Napoli, home of the only real pizza (in my opinion) for  a very long time, but, we all know the stories about Naples... pickpockets, trash, mafia... so I wanted to wait to visit to go with someone who knows their way around.  Lucky for me, a few Americans living in Pozzuoli came up to Umbria to do a Food & Wine Tour with me and we quickly became friends... and consequently, I got a tour guide for Naples!

We opted to stay in Pozzuoli, a lively little port town just west of Naples.  This is  a great place to base yourself if you want to ease yourself into the Napoletano experience.  Like most towns along the Campanian coast, it is built into steep cliffs.  We stayed in a residence at the top of the town, which gives the option of escaping the late night revelry of the port, plus the climb helps you to walk off all of the fried food and pizza that you will inevitably be eating!
You do not need a car once in Pozzuoli.  In fact, I discourage it.  I haven't seen so many banged up and beaten cars since the last time I drove through North Philly.  If you arrive with a car, make sure your hotel has a parking lot (preferably gated... things happen... wheels get stolen...) and just get around (easily) on foot.

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Pozzuoli is bursting at the seams with bars, restaurants and pizzerie.  In the morning you can enjoy a fantastic brioche or sfogliatella (more on that later) with the best caffè and cappuccino in Italy and an amazing freshly squeezed orange juice - it was mandarino season, so they threw a few of those in as well!
For lunch try one of the seafood restaurants down by the port.  Most serve an antipasto misto of cold and hot seafood dishes, accompanied by little balls of fried dough, called zeppollini.  You will become extremely acquainted with zeppollini by the end of your stay.  Then, if you have room, everyone serves the standard seafood pasta dishes and main courses.  Wash it all down with a local Falanghina, the white wine of the area.
If you can stand to eat more food, check out a traditional Pizzeria for the best pizza you will ever have in your life.  This is the area where it all started, so you might as well take advantage!  We had a Cornucopia (fried dough filled with fried things) before our pizza (which was after an Aperitivo (accompanied by fried things)) to really make sure that we weren't going to go hungry.... don't worry, a limoncello afterwards helps with the digestion (I guess.... ;-) ).  We had an especially good time at La Dea Bendata - apart from the amazing pizza, when the owner/head Pizzaiolo, Ciro Coccio found out that we were from Umbria (he makes a special "Taste of Umbria" pizza with products imported from our region), he immediately bumped up our reservation and a table appeared out of nowhere for us - true Neopolitan hospitality!

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One caveat about the restaurants in this area:  there is always a TV and it is always on.  Usually it is muted so that you can hear music but not miss any of the Italian game shows or sporting events that might be happening during your meal.  We happened upon one restaurant where the TV was actually off (shocker), but alas, at a certain hour, the music went off and the TV went on, with the volume relatively high because it was time for the news.  And by news, I mean all things related to Napoli calcio (the Naples soccer team) with a sprinkling of Formula 1 and motorcyle racing thrown in for good measure.  Welcome to Naples.

Unfortunately we didn't have a lot of time to explore the sites (we were too busy getting from one meal to the next), but there is really a lot to see and do, especially if you are fond of Greek and Roman ruins - Pozzuoli is even home to the 3rd largest Roman amphitheater in Italy.
The port area is great for food shopping.  We found a fruttivendolo who was also selling homemade passata (tomato sauce) and preserved peppers.  The bakery had wonderful bread as well as local Taralli - which is basically a type of savory biscuit composed of lard, flour, black pepper and almonds.  In theory, you could eat tons of these things, but you will feel the lard aspect hit you like a ton of bricks!  Nearby the local caseficio (cheese shop) has fresh mozzarella di bufala daily as well as scamorze and provolone.  Every morning you can also find the local fishermen with their catch of the day down by the water if you feel like trying a local recipe at home.

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Next stop, taking the train to Naples... (to be continued...)

Where to stay: Villa Avellino Hotel Residence

Best Bars:  Giorgio's Caffè, Bar Primavera, Il Capitano Cafè

Where to eat:  La Dea Bendata Pizzeria, Ristorante Il Faro a Ninella, Putipù Bistrot, La Cucina degli Amici

The Rite of Winter in Umbria: La Spolpatura!

IMG_0001Nothing makes an Umbrian's eyes light up like hearing that there is going to be a pig roast!  And I'm not talking about throwing a few ribs on the grill... this is a full head to tail operation!  Every winter, families get together to butcher a pig.  The smaller cuts are put aside to be cured under salt - they will be ready in a few months (hint...just in time for Easter breakfast!), and the legs will be cured to make Prosciutto crudo... but we won't see those for another 18 months or so..... which leaves us with, well, everything else!

The first step is to boil the head.  I know this is a rough one for the unadventurous, but let me tell you, the tender meat from the head is really the best part!  Some is packed into sacks  - this will be chilled and henceforth known as Coppa di Testa (head cheese).  The other half is shredded, mixed with a little orange zest, oil and vinegar and tossed with some salad greens... henceforth known as heaven...

Next, the major cuts for grilling are broken down (ribs, pork chops, steaks, etc) and the rest is ground up, and mixed with a heavy dose of salt, black pepper and garlic to create that glorious Umbrian staple known as Salsicce (sausage). 

Last, but certainly not least.... the innards!  The liver is cut into chunks, wrapped in caul fat and skewered alongside fresh bay leaves.  These will be caramelized on the grill - who needs dessert when there are sweet fegatelli?!?  But we are not done yet!  The heart, lungs, kidneys, and other bits are chopped up and quickly stewed with a little bit of onion and vinegar to make Coratella.  Here we usually eat lamb coratella (again, see Easter breakast), but the pork coratella is even better!

Enjoy the photos below and think of an excuse to visit Umbria next winter!

Pictured below: the various cuts of pork, antipasto: prosciutto & coppa di testa, warm coppa di testa sald, bruschetta & sausage on the grill, sausage & coratella, fegatelli on the grill, fagioli con le cotiche (beans cooked with the skin of prosciutto).

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Italian Soups: Stock, Broth... or Water?

IMG_8635In my cooking classes and private dinners here in Umbria, my students & clients are always shocked to hear that the main ingredient in my soups is, well.... good old-fashioned pipe stock.... otherwise known as... water!

Most Italian regional cooking, especially that of Umbria, is a very rustic, peasant style cooking, and making stock just doesn't fit into that equation.  Stocks are part of French haute cuisine, which is what most chefs (especially those on TV) learned as their base in cooking school... and therefore, it is what they preach to everyone at home.  Not that there is anything wrong with that... but it's not Italian!

Stock is when we put bones and vegetables in cold water (no salt), bring it to a boil and then let simmer for a few hours until all of the meaty essence is leached from the bones.  Stock can then either be reduced to form a glace (French) or added to sauce bases (again, French) and soups.  But you will hard pressed to find an Italian recipe calling for stock! 

Broth, or Brodo in Italian, is when we bring a pot of water to the boil first with vegetables, aromatics and salt.  Then we add meat such as a stewing hen, capon or off cuts of beef:  tongue, belly, and leg muscles to the boiling liquid.  The meat is then simmered until tender, and becomes a dish known as Bollito (boiled meat).  The remaining broth, or brodo, would be used to make soupy pasta dishes such as Tortellini in Brodo (tortellini with broth) or Stracciatella (basically the Italian version of Egg Drop Soup).

To make up for the lack of a meaty stock, Umbrians add their favorite ingredient to almost every soup in the book: pancetta.  Pancetta is cured pork belly - similar to bacon, except that it is not smoked, just hung out to dry with a heavy dose of salt, garlic and black pepper.  If pancetta is not used, we might see lard ground up with onions, carrots and celery as a base, or even the extra skin and fat cut off of a prosciutto, as in Fagioli con le Cotiche (Beans cooked with prosciutto skin).

Zuppa di Lenticchie (Umbrian Lentil Soup)

1 cup of Umbrian brown lentils
extra virgin olive oil
1 thick slice of pancetta, cubed
1 med. onion, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely
1 stalk celery, diced finely
2 cloves garlic
1 small hot pepper
1 bay leaf
4-6 sage leaves
1/2 cup tomato sauce/puree or 2 Tbs tomato concentrate

Heat a medium sized pot,  add a few tablespoons of olive oil and pancetta, and brown.
Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, hot pepper, bay leaf, sage leaves.  Cook until they become translucent.
Add lentils.  
Add tomato puree.
Add 4-5 cups of water.
Salt to taste.
Cook until lentils are tender, adding water if necessary.
Serve with bread and extra-virgin olive oil.