Alyssa's mouth-watering WOW moment in Positano

Growing up in an Italian family, it had always been my dream to visit Italy.  I spent hours looking at travel magazines and my grandmother’s old photographs, wondering if I would ever get there.  When I graduated college, my dream finally became a reality.  My Nan and I decided to take Trafalgar’s Italian Glory tour.  The best two weeks of my life were spent enjoying breath-taking landscapes, touring churches and museums, meeting wonderful people, and of course…eating delicious food!

My strong bond with Nan is the main reason I feel such close ties to my heritage. I have spent countless days in her kitchen learning traditional Italian recipes! It was amazing to finally be in Italy and to taste the authentic versions of the foods I have loved for so many years.

One afternoon in Venice, we shared a lunch of spicy salami and mixed mushroom pizza at a restaurant next to the famous Rialto Bridge.  On a windy day in Florence, we were warmed by a steaming bowl of Tuscan bean soup.  In San Gimignano, we had creamy gelato from a gelateria that had been the gelato world champion.  Each city we visited offered its own delicious cuisine, but the meal that stands out for me the most is the one we shared on the Amalfi Coast.

Just one of many amazing views along the Amalfi Coast
Just one of many amazing views along the Amalfi Coast

Throughout our trip (and the months before), I had been most excited about our three days on the Amalfi Coast.  I knew it was going to be spectacular, but nothing could have prepared me for the incredible beauty that filled my eyes when we finally arrived. Shining sun, rugged cliffs and endless sea.  On the second day of our stay on the coast, our tour group visited the charming town of Positano.  Our bus dropped us off at the top of a hill and we walked down a winding path until we reached the beach.  We all had a few hours of free time, but decided instead to have lunch together at a restaurant called Le Tre Sorelle.

Lunch began with wine and warm, crusty bread which we dipped (okay, drowned) in fruity extra virgin olive oil.  Before we even opened our menus, our waiter and Travel Director both suggested we order the ‘pasta con zucchine’ – a specialty of the coast.  With our first bites, we fell in love with the dish.  The spaghetti was cooked perfectly al dente and coated in a light creamy sauce.  The zucchini was sliced paper thin and hidden like a surprise in every bite of pasta.  And of course, the entire dish was topped with fresh basil leaves and thick shavings of Parmigiano reggiano.  In true Italian fashion, we took our time eating our meal.  We sipped wine, laughed and shared stories. Though I was thousands of miles from New York, in a country I had never visited, with people I had only known a short time, I strangely felt like I was…home. And with some translation help from our Travel Director, Nan and I were able to get the basic recipe for the dish. We were thrilled to add something new to our recipe book!

Dish of the trip – pasta con zucchine!
Dish of the trip – pasta con zucchine!

Within a week of being home, Nan and I cooked our new signature dish – pasta con zucchine.  Of course, it didn’t taste exactly the same but it didn’t quite matter.  For us, it became more about the memories than the food itself.  I have the same experience every time we cook this together.  With each bite, I close my eyes and for a moment it feels like I am back in the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, with the sweet Italian sun shining on my face.

Alyssa Rossi from New York, USA

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