For our honeymoon, Dave and I went to Zurich and Italy. Our first stop in Italy was Florence and we had quite a time getting there. Our flight was cancelled and we were flown to Lugano on the Swiss / Italian border and then bussed to Milan where we caught a flight to Florence. The bus trip from Lugano to Milapense airport took one hour, including the security check at the border control. While we were in Florence we decided to go to the Ducati factory. I had the directions from the internet and we caught the super fast Eurorail from the station in Florence. We had not changed our clocks to Italian time and woke up and discovered that breakfast was ‘cancelled’ for the day at our hotel. We walked to the station, and all the shops were closed. We were wondering what the Italians did on a Friday? When we got to the station we realized we were on South African time. We were an hour early but got tickets on the next train and arrived in Bologna in time for breakfast. We got a bus from the train station and looked for Piazza Maggiore. After passing through the city Dave tried to ask the bus driver for help.
We had missed our stop (it is not called Piazza Maggiore but is one of the many bus stops on the main piazza). We hopped off the bus, caught another one and alighted at the Piazza in time to catch the next bus to where the Ducati factory is. It was this experience that prompted me to learn Italian. Of course, we were still early and so went to a coffee shop for breakfast. Dave had this long conversation with the owner – he did not speak English and Dave does not speak Italian but they ‘discussed’ the South African designer of the Ducati, the various race tracks around the world, and their love for the sport. We had an amazing tour around Ducati and left heading back to Florence for the rest of our week there.
When we got back to South Africa, I read a book, and the spy had to find Piazza Maggiorre. Imagine my delight when he too realized it did not exist. Bologna is the capital of Emilia-Romagna where the famous Parmigiono Reggiono (Parmesan) cheese comes from and where you will find Parma ham. This is the inspiration for my Emilia Romagna Macaroni Cheese.
- 1 portion béchamel sauce
- pinch of nutmeg
- 35g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 250g macaroni
- 2 slices Parma ham, sliced
- preheat the oven to 180˚ Celsius
- make your béchamel sauce while you cook the macaroni
- add a pinch of nutmeg to your béchamel sauce
- add 25g of the Parmesan cheese and mix in well
- add the cooked pasta to the béchamel sauce
- add the Parma ham
- place into an oven proof dish and top with the rest of the Parmesan cheese
- bake for 20 minutes
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