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Postcard from Kalamazoo
Plus, the winner of Italy by Ingredient, some Substack links, and a summer send-off recipe
Greetings from Kalamazoo! I’m here for the weekend with my husband, attending the wedding of the son of dear friends. I had a different newsletter planned for today, but the week got away from me. So I’m sending you this postcard instead, (and a big thanks to Daniela for this eleventh hour illustration of Michigan lake life.)
It always feels great to be back in the Midwest, where I lived for seven years as a young reporter in Detroit. It’s where I met my husband, way back in the 1900s, as our daughter might say. Both she and my husband went to college here in Kalamazoo, so even if I don’t know it as well as they do, I feel a sentimental affection.
There is something compelling about a good Midwestern city, especially in September. It feels solid and welcoming. The flat, wide boulevards; the mix of 19th century brick and Art Deco limestone and steel; the crisp, dry air and blue skies stamped with clouds.* And in Michigan, you’re never far from a lake. It’s like that this weekend in Kalamazoo.
* (Even as I am about to press ‘publish,’ a raft of slate gray clouds has descended on the city. What is it they say about Michigan weather? If you don’t like it, wait five minutes…)
This week’s recipe, below, is free to all subscribers. It’s a lightened version of the pasta with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and cream from my book The Glorious Vegetables of Italy. I do my best to keep as much content as possible free to everyone, but this newsletter is a labor of love. If you have the means, please consider becoming a paid subscriber, which gives you access to all recipes, participation in giveaways, and discounts on cooking classes. Plus it makes you feel good.
I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments about Italy by Ingredient, and I know Viola did, too. The winner of the cookbook is Kimberley Ludwig. Congratulations, Kimberley! (Please look for an email from me today.)
WHAT I’M READING: SUBSTACK LINKS
Some of you read this newsletter via your email inbox without ever clicking over to Substack, the platform that hosts Buona Domenica. This is fine, of course, but Substack is home to thousands of writers of all kinds, and you might be missing out. If you haven’t already, I recommend you take a spin. In the mean time, here are a few newsletters I’ve been enjoying lately:
Puntarelle: Life in Rome. A rather random newsletter about life in Rome, written by a funny and acerbic Roman,, with a background in classical studies and architecture. I always learn something when I read Giorgia.
Italicus: A Writer’s Life in Italy. Italian-Americanwrites about life in a hill town, the complexities of the Italian language, high water in Venice, the impact of foreigners on Italy, and more.
Gillian Knows Best. My friend has a keen eye and a talent for compiling lists. She just posted a Guide to Venice in 10 Spritzes, and even though I always say I’ll never go back to Venice, she makes me want to go back to Venice.
Piccolo Centro. I have my wonderful illustrator,, to thank for introducing me to this recently launched newsletter by about lesser-known places in Italy, and especially Le Marche.
The Recovering Line Cook. Former professional chef, a Brit living in Finland, toggles between sharing inspired, sometimes odd recipes and essays about his days in restaurant kitchens. He’s funny, has a compelling voice, and makes me want to cook things like pineapple weed meringue pie and porcini-infused chocolate tart.’s exuberant writing about country life in Gascony is really testing my anti-France bias! She shares stories and recipes, and is about to debut a memoir, Finding France, which she will be serializing on Substack.
Life’s A Feast. Speaking of French food, my friend and fellow food writerdoes delicious deep dives into the history of French recipes. 's cooking is inventive and enticing, and even though I am not vegan myself, I always find something in his expansive recipe archive. Most recently, I bookmarked this post on the sweet potential of tomatoes, which includes a recipe for peach-tomato cobbler. , who writes this delicious newsletter (and does the photography), has countless other clever ideas for using her starter. Like these sourdough spiced pumpkin muffins.
Oldster Magazine. This popular substack by(with contributors) is a refreshing look life as you get older (no matter your age), through interviews, essays, and podcasting. I absolutely loved this (hilarious) guest post by about the chemistry between Selena Gomez, Steve Martin, and Martin Short in Only Murders in the Building.
Tell me: what are you reading these days?
RECIPE: Fusilli Corti Bucati with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cream
This week’s recipe is a fond farewell to summer. It’s a simple pasta dish starring cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, but the tomatoes are roasted slowly in a low-temp oven, and the sauce is enriched with a splash of heavy cream.
The pasta you see in the photo is fusilli corti bucati from La Molisana. Any good spiraling pasta will due, such as capricci, cavatappi, or gemelli. Even penne in a pinch.
Be sure to plan ahead for this recipe, as it takes about 90 minutes to properly roast the tomatoes. To get a head start, roast them in advance, scoop them into a container, and refrigerate. BTW, these tomatoes make an excellent topping for bruschetta or pizza. For longer keeping in the fridge, top them off with olive oil so that they are submerged. Stored this way, they should keep for at least a couple of weeks.
Makes 6 servings
1 1/2 (680 g) pounds ripe cherry tomatoes (about 2 full pints)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
Several fresh sprigs of thyme or oregano
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
5 to 10 fresh basil leaves, torn or coarsely chopped
1 pound (454 g) fusilli corti or other short, curly pasta
1/2 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1. Heat the oven to 275° F (135° C). Using a tomato knife or a sharp paring knife, cut the cherry tomatoes in half through the stem end. Arrange them, cut-side up on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Drizzle about 3 tablespoons olive oil over them and sprinkle with salt. Scatter a few sprigs of thyme or oregano over them. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until they are somewhat puckered but still juicy.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt it generously.
3. Pour 2 tablespoon olive oil into a skillet or sauté pan large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Add the minced shallot and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, until the shallot is softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Scrape in the cherry tomatoes and any juices that have accumulated on the baking sheet. Toss in one or two more herb sprigs if you like and stir in the cream. Heat gently to a simmer over low heat while you cook the pasta.
4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions until just al dente. Using a skimmer or a large slotted spoon, transfer the pasta to the skillet, along with a generous splash of sauce—anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) . Start with the lesser amount and add more as needed. Toss gently until the pasta is well coated with sauce. Stir in the cheese and torn basil leaves and toss some more, adding more water if necessary to keep the sauce silky.
5. Spoon into bowls and serve with more cheese for sprinkling.
PICTURE MICHIGAN: Kalamazoo, 2023
Next week: an interview with the author of a new book on Italian wine!
As always, thank you for reading, subscribing, and sharing. Sharing helps to get the word out and I appreciate it.