"Eat Pray Love" and a Big Bowl of Bucatini

“This is my no carb left behind experiment” ~ Eat Pray Love

I walked out the movie theatre after seeing “Eat Pray Love,” with lingering feelings of both sadness relief, and joy.  I sat quietly in self reflection in the car ride home,  going over the movie in my mind, and questioning why it seemed to have taken me on an emotional roller coaster.  I know you’re thinking that I related to the “Eat” part of the movie and I did, there were some fantastic food scenes. But the truth is,  my 30’s were rough , come to think of it my 20’s were no walk in the park either.  I often was Liz in the bathroom scene,  praying, “please God,  just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it!” – only to hear my own voice telling me to go back to bed.  I’m 40 now, (thank God) and as look back at my own bumpy road through  life,  the similarities between my “new friend Liz” and I are notable.  Granted, I didn’t have the luxury of discovering myself in Rome, India, or Bali, but I too learned that when you come to the end of yourself, when you’re exhausted and depleted – ruined, you surrender. Then and only then can you begin to change,  begin to find yourself, to find balance, to find God.   

“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

There is a reason they call God a presence – because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I was delighted last week when I was invited to a luncheon at Vincente Restaurant in Los Angeles,  in honor of the Sony Pictures,  Blu-ray DVD release of Eat Pray Love.  You can only imagine how excited I was when I learned that I would be dining with Food Stylist Susan Spungen and Producer Dede Garnder.  It’s not often, at least for me, to “lunch” with a  Hollywood movie producer like Dede Gardner.  So I sat next to her listening quietly as other guests made conversation, thinking to myself, “what in the world are you going to ask her”?  If she needed a personal chef, crossed my mind, but then I realized – I had no idea what a movie producer actually does.  With embarrassment in my voice, I innocently proceeded to ask, ” Dede, forgive my ignorance- but honestly, what is it that you actually do”?  She smiled and laughed, then kindly began to explain the monster job of a producer.  It all begins with the material, in this case the book Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert.  This opened a floodgate of questions and we continued on discussing lighting, hiring the actors, Julia,  the director’s vision, and so on…Our conversation was both fascinating and inspiring.   By the end of lunch, there was only one question left that I just had to ask.  “Dede, what was it about the book that made you want to make it into a movie? I mean do you love it or did you just think we would love it”?  Without hesitation she sincerely and confidently explained, “I loved it, I loved her honesty I loved her willingness and courage to tell the truth- it spoke to me”.   Her answer made me smile and  gave me yet another reason to watch the movie again. 

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Julia, Liz first gets to Italy and sits down to a giant plate of spaghetti, she savors every mouthfull,  washes it down with a glass of red wine and finishes every last bite with a smile from ear to ear. I reinvented my own version of Bucatini all’Amatriciana today for lunch, it had to be done, for  inspiration of course.  I was trying to get into character, so I sat on the couch in the middle of the day. Just me and my big bowl of bucatini  with extra cheese.  Ahhh-  “dolce far niente”… the sweetness of doing nothing.

Bucatini all”Amatriciana

serves 4-6

16 oz Bucatini pasta or Spaghetti
1 Tablespoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white onion- sliced
1/2 cup red wine
1 28oz. can San Marzano tomatoes with juice

1-2 Tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you like your sauce and how acidic your tomatoes are)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
10 fresh basil leaves
4 large cloves garlic-peeled and roughly chopped
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup thick sliced prosciutto – cut into small dice
1/8 cup flat leaf Italian parsley- roughly chopped
1/4 cup basil – chiffonade
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese- freshly grated about 2 ounces

To make sauce

  • In a large sauce pot, saute onions in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat – until translucent.
  • Add in red wine and reduce by half.
  • Add in tomatoes with juice, sugar, pepper flakes, basil, garlic, and salt & pepper- mix well and reduce heat to a simmer- about 15- minutes.
  • Remove from heat and place into a blender or food processor until smooth- return to large saute pan and adjust seasoning. 
  •  In a small saute pan crisp the prosciutto in olive oil  over medium heat until lightly browned- about 4–5 minutes- set aside 
  • Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil and add in 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt.
  • Boil pasta until just under aldente- strain and add to saute pan with sauce.
  • Add in prosciutto and mix well continue to cook for 1-2 minutes
  • Remove from heat and toss in remaining parsley, basil, and Parmesan cheese
  • Serve warm with extra grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

7 comments… add one
  • Renee Fontes December 17, 2010, 11:27 am

    That was beautiful, inspiring and passionate! Thank you for the recipe,movie review and for making me hungry for more!~Renee Fontes

  • High Plains Drifters December 17, 2010, 4:00 pm

    Or, as Chris Stevens said, it's not the thing you fling, it's the fling itself.

  • Sippity Sup December 17, 2010, 4:57 pm

    "Do lunch!" I love it… GREG

  • Jennie December 17, 2010, 6:29 pm

    Such a moving post! I have not read or seen Eat Pray Love yet…but I think when I do I will have to end it with this beautiful bowl of pasta!!! YUM

  • Kim @ Quit Eating Out {Recipes to Make Dining Out a Choice, Not a Chore} December 18, 2010, 12:52 pm

    What a wonderful post my Friend! What an amazing lunch that must've been. I'm so anxious to see this movie ~ I'll have to make your amazing dish to enjoy while I watch it!

  • Sarah December 20, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Beautifully written. Here's to finding our way!

  • Lana December 20, 2010, 8:50 pm

    I have not seen the movie – waiting for my daughter to come home from college so we can see it together. But thanks for a nice review:)
    I would have asked all those questions of a producer myself, until a couple of years ago, when I learned through a torturous and never-ending process of selling a screenplay (husband's, not mine:)
    But that had to be an amazing lunch! I am so happy for you:)
    The noodles look beautiful. With all this rain, I crave comfort foods and it's always good ol' carbs that fill the void.

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