Sunday Dinner with Giulia Scarpaleggia
We love any opportunity to break bread (lathered in Drizzle, of course) around a big table with your nearest and dearest. So in the spirit of celebrating food we enjoy and realizing it doesn’t always fit tradition, we’re asking some friends of Graza to share what they eat on a Sunday.
This week, Tuscan-born chef and food writer Giulia Scarpaleggia shares hers. (Her new cookbook, Cucina Povera, is out in April and available now to preorder!
"Is it morning yet? Mum, I want cake for breakfast!" That's how we wake up almost every day, weekends included. What changes is the slowness with which we welcome the new day on a Sunday. Cuddles in bed with our two-and-a-half-year-old baby girl, Livia, ear-scratching with our two dogs, and a hearty breakfast.
While my partner Tommaso opens the windows with Livia, I warm some milk for her and put the cake we baked together on the table: her favorite is with mashed bananas, dark chocolate, and extra virgin olive oil. I love nothing more than baking with EVOO.
Tommaso brews an espresso for us, while Livia often asks for orzo, barley coffee, a kid-friendly, caffeine-free and coffee-tasting drink which warms you up for the day ahead.
Sunday means lunch with the family. After a couple of hours spent reading books and playing with puzzles, we run downstairs, open the door, step into the garden, and then we enter my parents’ kitchen. That’s how close we live. Among the perks of being so close to your family, there’s a Sunday meal ready on the table every week and plenty of grandparents delighted to play with your daughter. I hand to my mum my most precious gift, the sourdough bread loaf I baked on Saturday, and get ready for a feast.
Mum brings to the table a large bowl of short, dry pasta with meat sauce, Livia’s favorite, followed by arista alla fiorentina, roasted pork loin, sautéed spinach, and a pan of her famous oven-roasted potatoes: golden brown, glistening with extra virgin olive oil, and speckled with crisp rosemary and sage.
Everyone eats, and Livia shortly after the pasta falls asleep, missing the zuppa inglese my mum had prepared, a show-stopping Tuscan trifle made with simple ingredients and preparations: lady fingers (even those stale sponge cookies remained on the back of your pantry would do) soaked in a crimson Florentine liqueur, vanilla pastry cream, and chocolate pastry cream. My dad makes espresso for everyone to call that a meal.
I love to have Sunday dinner ready in advance, to be able to enjoy the afternoon with Livia, read a book, or watch a movie on the couch. So, while she takes a nap, I make one of my favorite comfort foods, Pappa al Pomodoro. This thick, porridge-like soup is based on pantry staples: canned tomatoes - even better when they ate your mum’s canned tomatoes - stale bread, that I keep in a cotton bag behind the door, and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. While the canned tomatoes are simmering away with olive oil and garlic, I soak chunks of stale bread in cold water. When they are soft and spongy, squeeze out all the water and crumble the bread into the tomato sauce. More olive oil, salt, and basil are all you need to call this a soul-satisfying, honest meal.
At dinner time, we gather around the reheated Pappa al Pomodoro (it’s even better when you allow it some time to rest so that all the flavors mingle), serving it with a fresh mozzarella dressed with extra virgin olive oil and crumbled dried oregano.