After months of anticipation I have finally made it to Florence, Italy!! This first week has been a whirlwind of non-stop activity and orientation to the winding roads, unfamiliar people and exciting marketplaces. One of my very first stops was the mercato centrale, a large indoor market that houses vendors selling everything from fresh fish and produce to dried herbs and fruit. I was shocked to see a number of foreign animal organs on display as well; I may not be quite adventurous enough to endeavor cooking up innards at this point in my life…who knows though, one of my professors swears that a properly cooked intestine was once the best meal he had ever tried.
Anyway, moving past the meat purveyors, I opted instead for some fresh pasta and produce in favor of making a light sauce for the surprisingly warm January afternoon. How could I not eat pasta as my first meal in Italy!? It may be cliché but it sure was delicious. There is nothing comparable to the flavor of a dish created with ripe ingredients freshly plucked from the earth. My teachers explained in class how Italians value simplicity in cooking. Each ingredient in a meal should stand out and with its own unique flavor. Now that I have prepared my first meal I can fully appreciate what my professors meant. I ended up making a simple yet delicious Tagliatelle pasta with a light parsley, white wine and garlic sauce.