This is the outdoor theater in Castiglione del Lago in Umbria. It's inside the castle fortress which dates back to 1247! I've been to three outdoor theaters here in Italy. My first time was in Perugia in the Giardini del Frontone, Frontone Gardens. I think that's the first time I saw fireflies in Italy. We used to have them back in Kentucky. It was so enchanting to watch them spark about -- but I digress. The other outdoor theater I've frequented is in Cortona in the park just outside Piazza Garibaldi. Of course these theaters are only open in the summertime when the weather permits. Many theaters in Italy offer viewing of films in their original language especially during the summer months to accommodate travelers. It's easy to find a program, usually in town at the information office. All the outdoor theaters have a little kiosk selling sodas and popcorn as well as wine and panini. How fun is that!? Regardless of the length of the film, it is always stopped halfway and there is an intermission. Time to refill your wine glasses, signore e signori, ladies and gentlemen!
I was watching a very interesting show last weekend on one of the five Italian channels that gives me "viewable" reception. The white beach with it's clear, crystal water caught my eye. We quickly moved inland to watch elephants forage for food. There was a fruit very similar to a coconut but with a harder shell that the elephants couldn't crack open with their mouths, so they stabbed it with a tusk and then stepped on it. Interesting. Then we went into the trees to watch monkeys eating leaves and learned that although the leaves are poisonous to eat, the monkeys have enzymes in their stomaches to easily digest them. These enzymes would kill humans. Interesting. Then we zoom across to the trees to a huge bird taking off in flight. Back to the monkey eating leaves. Back to the bird. Back to the monkey being carried off by the bird still clutching the leaves in his tiny fist. I have never changed a channel so fast in all my life. I didn't think I was going to find what happened next to be very "interesting".
. 1/4 Pound Spaghetti 20-30 Cherry Tomatoes 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 2 Garlic Cloves Red Pepper Flakes (according to taste) Salt Fresh Parmesan
Cut tomatoes in half, add a pinch of salt and toss together in a bowl. Let sit. Meanwhile, smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and sauté in heated olive oil. Add pepper flakes. Sauté until garlic is lightly browned. Add chopped tomatoes and any liquid from the tomatoes. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook on very low heat until the tomato halves begin to fall apart, usually about 45 minutes. I open the lid frequently to check that the liquid hasn’t all evaporated and give the toms a smash to squeeze out the juices once they’ve started softening. Once they’ve started softening, start your pasta. When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the tomatoes in the sauté pan. Toss lightly to mix. Top individual servings with fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Note: If the tomato mixture gets too dry I sometimes add a little white wine while it's cooking or you can also add some of the cooked pasta water afterwards.