BBQ – Italian Style

20 Jul

In the States, the word BBQ often conjures up hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and ribs. Not so in Italy, however, where a BBQ is a multi course, typical Italian dinner, but all cooked on the grill. Lucky for us, Ivan and Loriana invited us to experience a backyard BBQ at their home.

To begin…pop the Prosecco!


Next, understand a bit about traditional Italian families. Three generations live in this house, which was built by Loriana’s parents Nello and Rina some 40 years ago. Not just a house, mind you, but also pristine fruit, vegetable and herb gardens, grapes, olive trees, a truffle-finding dog, rabbits, and just about anything needed to be self-sufficient.




To this day, every inch of the garden is planted and lovingly cared for by grandfather Nello.IMG_0014

After the garden tour, and some toasts all around, time to light the grill…


In Italy, “carbon” is used and burns more quickly than charcoal so it needs to be replenished several times.


First on the menu: antipasti – grill the Italian bread…


lightly rub with fresh garlic…


top with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden…


add a slice of cheese, and serve. So simple, so fresh, so perfect!


Next, sauté porcini mushrooms, add some parmesan, and serve bubbling hot… Delicious!


As the plates were being cleared, the primo, or first course was being prepared.

Start with fresh Italian sausage…


Separate and butterfly, (of course!), then grill…ahhh, the aroma….


Next grill the ribs, no BBQ sauce required!


Serve with sautéed onions and peppers…my kind of BBQ!


We ate, drank, talked, laughed and toasted some more, and thought we were done until the hosts began to prep for the secondo, or main course of the evening.

Grill the zucchini…

IMG_0008Toss with olive oil…


Cut some fresh prosciutto while waiting…


Grill the steak…sprinkle with fresh rosemary…


Add some final touches and serve…

And turn this…


Into this…Incredible!


Throughout the evening, new acquaintances became friends as conversations flowed easily in Italian and English. For dessert, a variety of homemade liquors were spread across the table and accompanied by a choice of gelato. Smiles were abundant and the meal was incredible. But even more special for Len and me was the opportunity once again to experience local culture and norms, and to be included in the warmth and traditions of a local Italian family. Being at a dinner like this, it is easy for me to recognize and appreciate the roots of many of my own family traditions, often centered around sharing a meal with multiple generations of extended family members. A toast to traditions – may each generation keep them strong!

Our heartfelt thanks to Nello, Rina, Ivan and Loriana for sharing your home, your food, your talents and your friendship with us. It was a night we will always remember. Salute!



One Response to “BBQ – Italian Style”

  1. Jean and John Lawrence October 23, 2013 at 9:03 PM #

    Hi Len and Judy. It’s been a long time since we met in Cortona at Ivan’s BBQ. We love the blog and love the pics. What a great way to treasure your Italian memories. John and I still talk about our time in Cortona. As we told you that night we will be in Chicago combined with a wedding in South Bend. Would love to get together. We leave tomorrow. If y’all can email us and maybe we can get together and talk Italia! Ciao! Jean and John


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