“Cooking is an act of love, a gift, a way of sharing with others the little secrets — ‘piccoli segreti’ — that are simmering on the burners.” Sophia Loren

sophia loren two women getty imagesWhen I was young and attending school in a northern suburb of London we ate with our form at big wooden tables, family style, or family style with servers. The servers were apron wearing ladies who would roll a trolley to the table and set out the meal. Some of it was delectable — particularly dessert — because more often than not it was covered with custard sauce. Some things were mediocre, like elevenses, a snack of floppy brown bread topped with margarine, its only saving grace was the accompanying cup of tea. Then there were things that were mystifying, because they sounded familiar, like Spaghetti Bolognese, but were almost unrecognizable; limp noodles covered with a slippery gelatinous tomato sauce, speckled with suspect cheese and mystery meat — nothing like what I remembered from home.

It’s winter in the northern hemisphere so I thought I’d post a recipe for something endorphin releasing and cozy:

Spaghetti Bolognese, the way my mother made it.

Well, not exactly the way my mother made it. Mom would go to her favorite butcher and buy a pound of chuck and grind it at home with a metal contraption she attached to the counter that you hand-cranked — and out would come hamburger. I know it’s important to know where your food comes from, but I like a little more distance between myself and once living ingredients.

Back to the Bolognese

In a separate pan fry three pieces of bacon until crisp, blot with paper towels and set aside. In a large skillet sauté one large diced onion in olive oil until it is caramelized. Mince three cloves of garlic and toss into the pan and stir for thirty seconds, never brown your garlic. Add a pound of ground chuck and stir around with a fork until partially cooked, add a splash of half-and-half (this will tenderize the beef) and sauté until done. Add 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, one handful of fresh basil, and one bay leaf. Crumble your crispy bacon into the meat mixture. Pour in one large can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, one glass good wine (white or red, but red makes your sauce a little purple), simmer for one hour until the flavors are developed. Salt and pepper to taste then serve on top of spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

All my ‘piccoli segreti” have to do with Hollywood, but I have a nasty winter cough right now so I have been slack about everything but napping and hydrating. I haven’t got Pippa’s narration of chapter six of It’s in His Kiss on SoundCloud, but I will post all the tracks so far so you can get caught up…


  1. iolacontessa

    MY husband is 100% ITALIAN and he would say EXCATLY what SOPHIA said!COOKING IS AN ACT OF LOVE………He would tell me still does put some LOVE In that sandwich!!IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE!
    ARE you telling US YOUR MAMA was of ITALIAN descent?I will TRY The BOLOGNESE maybe tonight!

    • Another friend I can’t wait to meet in real life, although it would be even better if you were there too!!!
      As for feeling better, I have never sipped so many glasses of water a day in my life. I tell you what I am feeling, hydrated 😉 .

  2. iolacontessa

    MOLTO BUONO……….however, I used dried thyme and that was a BIG MISTAKE……….I know better.WE ATE FOR DINNER and I had I BIG BIG BOWL.I also took it to my 90 year old MOTHER for her dinner…………I am happy to report she does not eat much these days and she ATE everything in her plate!TRA >>LA!
    I am ALWAYS looking for new recipes……………..GRAZIE BELLA!
    WHAT GOOD NEWS you shared………….A FEVER!!!

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