The whole milestone of marriage has been a blessing. Not only did I marry my best friend, but I did it in the company of everyone I love most in this world. It felt amazing to have all our family and friends there supporting us. That said – I have no pictures to show for it! Our photographer Robert did an amazing job, and you can bet I’ll share the goodness when he sends the photos our way. (Here’s a sneak peek!)
I did take mountains of pictures of the honeymoon. Something about not stressing out of whether the ceremony goes smoothly gave me a whole lotta free creative energy to snap pics, ha. Let’s just say I went photo-happy. If you’re not an Italia-phile, feel free to skip to the recipe goodness at the bottom. Otherwise, join me for the ride!
Right after the wedding we kicked off the honeymoon by flying into “Roma.” It was wonderful to get lost in the foot-driven bustle of Italy’s capital. The cobblestones and cool weather kept me enthralled the entire time.
One of my favorite parts was perusing a neighborhood farmer’s market, a long-running bucket list item. I loved seeing every veggie that was in season, from lacy fennel to vibrant cranberry beans. The farmers, like every other Italian we met, were friendly and helpful. Hoyd and I both agree that more than any other European country we’ve experienced, the sweet people of Italy would draw us back for another visit.
After stopping at every stall and perusing the wares, I settled on a small harvest of radicchio, spinach, lentils, heirloom tomatoes, fennel, tomatoes on the vine, and grapes (for dessert). I wanted to take everything home, but Hoyd gently reminded me that we only had a few more hours in the city that day.
While cooking at home (i.e. the rad Airbnb) was fun, going out was awesome too. I felt truly nurtured by all the well-prepared dishes and thoughtful ingredients. (Hearing Hoyd try to order in Italian was also pretty entertaining.) It seems silly to say, but all the food felt so fresh – and the dishes reminded me immensely of my grandmother’s and mom’s kitchens. It was a sweet mix of joy and homesickness.
While I couldn’t inhale enough food, my sweet husband couldn’t get enough art. One highlight was navigating both MACRO museums (Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma) where we admired the playful and funky collections. (Delving into the thought-provoking exhibits had a hidden benefit of walking everywhere to balance out our bulging bellies.)
My favorite piece was interactive. 🙂
Observing the locals and their everyday surroundings was equally meditative.
After exploring every landmark and street (and gelateria) of Rome, we took the train north to Florence. Then we rented a car and drove up the winding coast to Cinque Terre: land of beautiful fish, boats, and wineries.
Cinque Terre’s seascapes were a calming and contemplative end to the trip. I would have loved to discover more of its salty secrets, but the short visit was perfectly inspiring.
I’m so grateful for this adventure. Exploring the beautiful country while hand-in-hand with Hoyd made for an awesome beginning to our marriage. (Though truth be told, we could’ve driven through the Mojave Desert and I still would have loved that sweet time alone together.)
So now we’re back here in the swing of things! Read: weaning ourselves off of pasta and back onto veggies. I’ve found myself leaning heavily on soups and salads for dinner, while keeping them hearty and warming for these chillier months ahead.
Along with being hearty and healthy, classic Minestrone Soup is super simple to pull off. One-pot, lots of veggies. Think of it as the savior of your vegetable drawer, cleaning out ripe or slightly over-ripe plants to make way for new ones.
Though I adore tomatoes and celery, my favorite part of this soup is actually the lentils. They work with the al dente pasta to form a meaty base, without which you’d just have tasty broth. Speaking of broth…make an effort to throw in a parmesan rind and fresh thyme. They add a beautiful depth to each spoonful.
Who’d have thought to put pesto on Minestrone? It definitely didn’t cross my mind until I read it in an old article. So although it sounds crazy, I can now testify that the herbacious, green goodness is the best thing to ever happen to this soup. While the soup is savory and dense, the sharp pesto really brightens it up.
I hope you really enjoy the whole process of this recipe, from blending the pesto to slurping up the soup. It’s definitely a new favorite at my house, and I’m excited to hear what you think! 🙂