Celebrity Chef/Award Winning Author of the best selling book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking pairs a movie with a recipe. Join her blog at http://www.marialiberati.com.
Editor: Karissa Martin
After serving in World War II, Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves), returns to his wife and home in California, expecting to receive a warm welcome in A Walk in the Clouds (1995). On the contrary, his wife seems to have interests other than him and his dreams, thoughts, and letters he wrote to her nearly every day while he was away. He said, “I had time to think about what’s important, about what I want out of life.” To make matters worse, she wants him to go back to selling chocolate, a career he has no interest in. Like the good husband he is, Sutton sets out to sell some chocolates. While he is on a train going to begin his work, he encounters a beautiful young woman who drops her suitcase and spills the contents all over the aisle in front of him. After helping her with her things, the young woman, Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sánchez-Gijón), thanks him by getting sick on his jacket.
After a very interesting and difficult journey, including some confusion, fighting, and an accidental ticket swap, Sutton ends up in the middle of nowhere, instead of his desired destination. He happens upon Victoria crying in the middle of the dirt road sitting on her luggage. She explains that she is pregnant and without a husband, and her father will never forgive her if he finds out. Sutton says, “How about if you do show up with a husband?”
And so the deception begins, and Miss Aragon introduces her “husband” to her very opinionated family at their vineyard called “The Clouds.” The family quickly begins to welcome Sutton as one of their own, but Victoria’s father is very skeptical. The facade was only supposed to last one night, but Sutton couldn’t bear to leave. He even stands up to Victoria’s father. “Why can’t you just love her? She’s so easy to love.” After helping with the grape harvest, he begins to feel like part of the family. But, he knows that it can’t last forever. Victoria tells her father everything that happened, and Sutton returns to his wife, but is there really any marriage to return to?
A disaster at the vineyard destroys everything, but it may just bring the family closer together. They will always have their roots, and that is more important than fields of money. But, is the disaster enough to cause Victoria’s father to have a change of heart?
You’ll feel like you’re in the Aragon’s vineyard after the first taste of the delicious Pasta Norma. With its fresh ingredients and simplicity, this dish will take you back to the year 1945 and have you begging for more. The simple tomato sauce and pasta noodles get a whole new texture and flavor from the added eggplant. The cheese is the cherry on top for this delectable dish. All of the simple ingredients, flavors, and textures combine to perfectly complement each other and leave your taste buds tingling. It is sure to be one of your favorite go-to pasta dishes.
From The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition (winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award) ISBN 978-1-928911-19-7;Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc.
1 lb of Ridged Penne Pasta or Rigatoni
1 ¼ lbs of fresh plum tomatoes or fresh, red ripe tomatoes for sauce
*1 large eggplant
*Freshly grated salted ricotta cheese
*1 clove of garlic
*extra virgin olive oil
Cut the eggplant into thin slices about ¼ inch thick. Place slices in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave this way for one hour with the heavy lid of a pot weighing down on the eggplant to facilitate squeezing out water.
Peel and remove seeds from tomatoes. Place tomatoes through a sieve or food processor In a saucepan, place in a clove of garlic with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Sauté till garlic just begins to turn golden. Add in tomato sauce, 3 basil leaves, a pinch of salt and let cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil in another saucepan and fry sliced eggplant. Place fried eggplant on paper towels to absorb olive oil. Set aside 4 slices to decorate dishes. Place remaining eggplant into tomato sauce. Cook pasta as per directions on box. When cooked to ‘al dente’, place in colander and drain. Quickly toss into tomato sauce. Serve. Place on top of each plate a slice of the eggplant reserved for decoration and a grating of salted ricotta.
Published in: Cooking