I always say that there are two kinds of people in this world, Italians and those who want to be! Well and why wouldn’t you? I mean we make the best cars, the best clothing, the best shoes, our country is beautiful along with our language and…..there is our food. I am certainly bias being a full blood Italian girl from New York, but come on you have to admit our food rocks. We also speak very loud, all talk at the same time and always sound like we are arguing. But we’re not. That’s just how we roll. Now that being said, I will attest to the fact that I like very little Americanized Italian food. Italian food should be prepared with first, a great deal of love, second, only the best ingredients, and third, simple presentation. Our food should not be complicated with tons of ingredients and not served in portions that could feed a small village in Africa. A couple of good examples of this is lasagna and eggplant parmesan. These two dishes are among my personal favorites. I never order eggplant in restaurants because it’s never good. It’s always soggy, too thick and tastes like nothing. I have been told that I make the best eggplant parmesan, and I do and so does my friend Donna Parisi whose mother was the eggplant parmesan queen. I learned my techniques from Bert Parisi along with my grandmother Filomena, both of them made the best in my book. Before Bert passed away I asked her to share with me her secret, and she did! No secret really, my grandmother did the same thing as I am sure many Italians do. Works every time and it has everything to do with the thickness of the slices and salt! Of course the sauce is also key. I also fry mine because you just can’t get that flavor that I love without the frying step. I have however ordered lasagna a few times that was pretty darn good and I will be sharing my favorite recipe on Saturday evening in my little video blog as I prepare for a small dinner party. So watch for it. One of the things I dislike most about Americanized Italian food is the copious amounts of cheese they plop on everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love cheese but a 2 inch layer atop a portion of food is just too much and unnecessary, especially when it is not good quality. On Saturday October 24, I will be teaching a class in Saratoga at Serendipity from 5-8 pm. We will be making Pasta Bolonaise (the best), Grilled Polenta with Prosciutto di Parma and Risotto con Carciofi (artichokes) depending on class size I may be adding a surprise bonus recipe! So grab a bottle of vino and come join us as we listen to Italian music and create these wonderful dishes. See you there and remember, buy local, eat healthy, stay well.