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Buon Giorno from Lucca! This is the first in a series of my life on La Mimosa, an agritourisimo in the hills just outside of Lucca, Tuscany, Italy. This beautiful home is situated at the end of a long and narrow road, surrounded by olive and chestnut trees, wild herbs and flowers, lemon, orange and pomegranate trees and of course, rows of grape vines whose fruit was just last month harvested.
The renovated barn where I will live for two weeks. My room is behind the open windows.

The soft lit colors from my window.

One of the 14 cats on the property. The sweet life.

I arrived at La Mimosa not quite jet lagged yet and full of anticipation for the next few weeks. The roads were easy to navigate and I am feeling confident about driving on these narrow lanes. My hosts, Angela and Davino drew me a map and even led me to the supermercato in Lucca where I would purchase food. Fierce with hunger after eating meager plane food for a day, I went on a crazed shopping spree practically emptying the shelves! Gorgeous veggies – almost all Italian local- filled my basket: fennel, striped zucchini with flower tops, borlotti purple beans, cime rapi from Napoli which is a leafy green like a chard, large white mushrooms and fresh vibrant green spinach all to be given even more of a flavor boost with a gorgeous roped strand of small red onions, garlic and shallots. The cheese aisle lured me in next. Fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh butter from Lucca, and Caciotta Garfagnina cheese with its creamy, buttery delicate flavor to pair perfectly with crisp red Nurca Campana apples and William pears. My eyes continued to be bigger than my stomach when I spotted the fresh pastas. A spinach and ricotta tortelli packaged in small portions (yeah) and some scialatelli, a fatter linguine type pasta would be delicate accompaniments for the veggies. Olives, ciabatta, pancetta, porcini sauce, yogurt, fresh pomodoro sauce, tomato focaccia and Italian wine flew into my basket. What was I thinking with all this food and just me to cook for?

My shopping spree of local Italian foods. Where to begin?
I sautéed a shallot then added the sliced zucchini, mushrooms, some pomodori sauce and let is simmer whle I cooked first the scialatelli then the tortelinni. I tossed in a handful of spinach, let it wilt, then drained the pasta and added some of the pasta water to the veggies. Then veggies created a thick sauce from the tomatoes coating the pastas with a light touch. Although very simple, my pasta dinner of beautiful freshness sent me into a dreamy fog. Where am I and how did I get here so quickly?

The inspired dinner. After this delicious meal, jet lag finally kicked in!

Tomorrow I have been invited to make rabbit stew with Angela. I am exactly where I want to be!

Ciao until domani – tomorrow

Maria