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Foodie traveller: Cooking tagliatelle like an Italian mamma

Published August 27th, 2015

“I’ve created a monster,” says Lucia Pinelli, gazing at her daughter, Alina, 39, in exasperation. The pair have been running Il Fontanaro, an organic farm in the rolling Umbrian countryside, for five years – ever since Lucia’s husband died in 2010 – and probably fall out half a dozen times a day.

The rolling Umbrian countryside. Picture: Getty Images

Glamorous Alina, who used to work in advertising in Rome, oversees the estate’s winery, while Lucia’s passion is her award-winning olive oil, made to millennia-old methods in a bespoke solar-powered mill. The fireworks happen during the cooking courses they run along with their self-catering villas.

Like any Italian mamma, Lucia has definite ideas on how things should be done; equally opinionated Alina, who learned to cook from her grandmother, also feels she knows best. A morning with them, making, say, tagliatelle, ragu, baked sea bream and fresh apricot cake, is punctuated by horrified cries of “No, mamma!” from Alina as Lucia suggests adding some ingredient to the sauce.

But then Alina pops out to greet some guests and Lucia tips a bit in anyway, with a wink.

Lucia Pinelli making apricot cake with guests at Il Fontanaro Lucia Pinelli making apricot cake with guests at Il Fontanaro

By 1.30pm, you’re eating what you’ve made at a shady table with views down the Valdichiana valley. Alina and Lucia may shout and wave their arms about but their food is a revelation: buckwheat flour in the tagliatelle adds a nutty texture that perfectly complements a ragu made unctuous by the addition of a few pork ribs at the beginning of the slow simmer.

It’s a real taste of Italy, and of Italian family life.

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This article was written by Liz Boulter from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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