Good morning, luvs!
After my Bolognese friend Maddalena and I explored bombed out villas in a beautiful Italian park near Bologna, we emerged from the tree line to see this stunning view.
I could hardly believe it! The colors were so rich and glorious in the late Indian Summer sunshine, looking more like a painting than a real life scene. The sun was warm on our skin and we soaked it in little knowing that the next day summer would flee for good, replaced by bitterly cold winds and drenching rain.
We shared the trails of Parco della chiusa or Parco Talòn in Casalecchio with Italian couples strolling hand in hand, young moms visiting animatedly with their friends, and joggers huffing and puffing up the steep incline.
And it was steep! Instead of sticking to the gentle incline of the main trails, we took a deep breath and headed straight up the hillside, bent almost double to keep from sliding down the dusty pathway.
By the time we reached the top we were wheezing and gasping like the joggers we had seen earlier, laughing as we made our quivering legs take those final steps to the top.
After a bit we continued on our way, the going much easier now that we were crossing the ridge line instead of laboring up steep paths.
It was my first time visiting Italy in the Fall and how I loved crunching through the leaves, finding bushes laden with ripe berries, and feeling beautifully warm after my chilly summer in Amsterdam.
We didn’t actually know where we were, so we just followed whatever trail took our fancy, assuming that one of them would take us home again. Along the way we found ivy covered walls and this wonderful old villa glowing warmly in the setting sun.
At the villa we picked up a couple of friends, two little kitties – a black and a gray – who gamboled after us, stopping often to roll in the dust-filled potholes and arch their bodies against our legs.
All too soon it was time to head home for dinner. We drove through the golden hills back to Maddalena’s house, and sat down to a perfect meal of fresh bread and homemade minestrone soup. It was nothing like the glutinous stuff I’ve had out of cans with soggy bits of pasta floating in a sea of overcooked vegetables. Nope, this was marvelous, a delicate vegetable soup drizzled with good quality olive oil and topped with freshly grated Parmesan.
Maddalena was surprised I wanted the recipe. To her it is simple country food, a hodgepodge of whatever leftover vegetables she might find in her fridge. But to me it was something special.
What is your favorite meal after a nice, long walk?
Real Italian Minestrone Soup
Maddalena and her aunts always use a pressure cooker to make minestrone soup. They add vegetable broth, salt and pepper and an assortment of chopped vegetables. While the combinations are endless, they do have certain traditions concerning the vegetables.
hunk of Parmesan cheese
good quality olive oil
chopped vegetables (see below)
Vegetables that SHOULD be Included:
beans (small dried)
Vegetables that CAN be included:
Vegetables that MUST NOT be included:
- Add all ingredients to pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes until all vegetables are tender.
- Ladle into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.