We got back from our vacation in Italy several days ago, and I’m still adjusting to normal non-vacation life. What that means, for the most part, is that I am falling asleep very early every night and constantly taking naps.. and getting grumpy when I have to clean the apartment.
Our vacation was awesome. We went to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Florence, and Venice. All in 10 days. So we were very busy. I’ll write about each of the cities in detail in my travel blog (NonstopfromJFK), but for now I’ll just say that each of the cities was very different and beautiful, with so many amazing things to see… and that we ate lots of good food in each one (except Pompeii, of course. Although we did bring some good picnicking food from Naples, so I guess we ate good food in Pompeii as well.).
Eating out in Italy is a bit tricky if you’re on a budget, and a bit different than eating out in the US. Budget-wise, you have to watch out for things like per-person table fees, service charges, bread charges, and per-person wine charges (even if you order the whole bottle of wine, some places still charge you for the number of wine glasses your table needs). Those things can really add up at a couple of Euro per meal.
But the other thing that ended up being unusual was that Italians sit down and eat their meals in courses. The first course generally consists of either soup, pasta, or risotto. The second course is the meat or fish. You can, of course, ask for the two courses to be brought together, but that is not common there. So if you want to enjoy your pasta with your veal cutlet, tough luck.
The other weird part, is that in most places that second course was kind of boring. It would literally be a breaded veal cutlet without any sauce, or a sausage, or a chicken breast. I was surprised that they didn’t have the things that we consider typical in Italian restaurants, such as Chicken Parm.
But the pizza… the pizza was so good everywhere! Each city had their own style of crust, and I would have to say Naples was the big winner.
When we got home and I asked Aldo what he wanted me to cook for his birthday, he said Chicken Parm. Not a surprise, since he orders that at every Italian restaurant (in the US at least).
As I was making this chicken parm, I told Aldo that I think I make the best chicken parm I’ve ever tasted. He agreed and actually got a little upset, because he’s told me that before, but apparently I didn’t believe him and I am only realizing that now about my chicken parm.
So, what makes this chicken parm the best chicken parm recipe ever? I think it’s these 4 things: (more…)