PER ITALIANO "Pasta al Pesto, Pinoli e Pomodorini"
Befana comes by night
With her shoes completely ragged
Carries a Roman style hat
Long live long live Befana !
We are waiting for you in Urbania.
This is how the web page of Urbania's Befana Festival starts.
On the 6th of January they celebrate epiphany in Italy. Traditionally Befana, an old woman who delivers gifts in Italian folklore, arrives on the Epiphany Eve, the night of 5th January, enters houses through the chimneys. She brings candies to the children who were well-behaved throughout the year, and coals to those who wer misbehaved. Even if with her hat, flying broom and ugly face she looks a bit scary but she is not a bad witch.
Befana Fest of Urbania, which is held annually between 2nd and 6th January, is an organization especially for children with its colorful parade, shows and animations. Last year on 5th January we were there too. The weather was spectacular and we wanted to spend some fun time outdoors by taking advantage of surprisingly good weather so we decided to visit Urbania.
Since this was our first time in Urbania, we wanted to take tour around the town and visit its historical places as much as possible. We found the city very cute and people very friendly. On the other hand we did not wish to miss out the attractions which would start like 4 pm in the city center so we weren't able to see everywhere.
Among the places we saw, Chiesa dei Morti (The Church of the Dead) stroke us the most. We listened to the stories of the mummies from the guide. It is a huge advantage to have a specialized guide while visiting such places. There are so many hidden stories in fact behind the things that we take a quick, superficial look and then move on... Rather than information like the date of construction or dimension of those old palaces, castles, fortresses, what affects you the most is the real life stories about the people who lived there once: who they were, what they believed in, how they survived or lived..
Let me mention briefly the interesting story of the mummies in the Church of the Dead:
In Medieval times rich and noble people of the town used to get burried inside the city walls, the poor, common men instead used to get burried outside the walls. The people you see in the pictures except one were not important people of the era such as kings, Pharaohs or aristocrats. They were just ordinary men.
A kind of particular mould that became present in the soil outside the walls absorbed mouisture from the corpses and caused dessication including their internals organs leading them naturally become mummified. As their identities remain unknown to date, their causes of death were determined upon some scientific examinations made in the universities after years.
One of the women was killed during Caesarian for instance. We were told that in medieval times when there was a complication they would make a cross shaped cut on the woman's midsection, save the baby and leave the mother for dead.
Another one, who was believed to be dead when he was not, burried alive. He woke up in the grave and died smothered. (The one in the picture above, on the bottom-right)
Someone else in the room died because of lung cancer, another person instead was stabbed in many parts of his body including his heart.
When you enter the room you feel like you are in a horror movie set. You find it absolutely hard to believe that the people who are reduced into some dessicated corpses now were once real persons with many dreams, hopes, fears who breathed on this earth just like we do now.
I thought maybe before using the expression "good old times" we should think twice. We see mostly the romantic sides of the past and feel nostalgia I guess. Not everyone lived like the kings, sultans, dukes, countesses... Then again I highly doubt of even the comfort, well-being and peace of the once VIP compared to today.
Well, enough chatter for today...
Let's come to the recipe, right? I hope I didn't ruin your appetite :)
Today I want to share with you a very simple sauce that I make with pesto. I cooked it in a pan.
I posted some time ago the pesto recipe that I made with Thermomix.
In summer I prepare pesto in abundance, fill it in small plastic cups and freeze.
The sauce you find below is enough for two portions.
Ingredients (2 people):
1/3 of Pesto Sauce
10 cherry tomatoes
10g pine nuts
Extra virgin olive oil
160g pasta of your choice
Water, salt (to boil pasta)
- Cut tomatoes in half and sprinkle with a little salt.
- In a large nonstick pan put very very little oil and cook and stir constantly until they start browning a bit. (They will get browned some more also while cooking tomatoes so don't let them overbrown at this step)
- Add tomatoes. Stir fry lightly without making them mushy.
- Add Pesto.
- Mix sauce with boiled-drained pasta. Serve into the plates.
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan.