Tasting Italy in Jerusalem… Grazie Dio!
My wife Connie and I are members and area councilors for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (EOHSJ), based in Las Vegas, NV. We are blessed to be making regular trips to our Lord’s homeland in the Holy Land.
During a FIAT St. Helena Pilgrimage (St. Helena is a true role model for any pilgrimage), the pilgrims actually perform hands-on work at various facilities overseen by both the Latin Patriarchate and the Franciscans. What a joy to be a pilgrim who gives and not just receives from our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.
The EOHSJ’s number-one goal is personal sanctification, which is instilled best when we serve others first. The work of these two wonderful Catholic organizations in the Holy Land provides fertile ground for the Knights and Dames of the Order to build upon as a means of stepping into the Lord’s homeland and continuing the work He laid out for us to follow and perform.
Jesus was not simply a wonderful role model for all mankind, He was also one of the greatest “foodies” of all time. This statement may get me in a theological conundrum, but I am quick to point out the following biblical facts involving Jesus and meals:
- The wedding feast at Cana: Jesus defies the aging process in producing great wine.
- The miracles of loaves and fishes: Jesus provides marvelous food at low cost and wastes no leftovers.
- The Last Supper: Jesus supplies the greatest dinner experience ever.
- The grilling of fish on the shoreline: Jesus always knows how to welcome friends.
- Jesus tells the risen child’s parents to get her something to eat: Jesus knows food is essential to good health.
Today, in the old city of Jerusalem, this wonderful foodie tradition is relived at the Franciscan Casa Nova Pilgrim Hotel on Casanova Street, New Gate, Jerusalem. Under the guidance and leadership of Fr. Ibrahim Faltas, O.F.M., atop this renowned hotel sits one of the great Italian restaurants, La Terrazza Italiana 360.
On a recent trip with my wife, Connie Micatrotto, DCHS, and Denise Scalzo, DGCHS, the Holy Land counselor for the Western Lieutenancy — the three of us had the opportunity to visit with Fr. Ibrahim and his outstanding chef, Anton Shaer. What a fabulous meal we enjoyed on top of the Old Jerusalem landmark while gazing at the Holy Sepulchre, the Kidron Valley, and the Garden of Gethsemane! This epicurean delight is available for special parties and groups. Be certain you contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and reservations.
Here we share a great primo piatto of lasagna. Directly from the 360 at Casa Nova… Shukran… Ciao.
JOE MICATROTTO Sr., KCHS, has been a founder and CEO in the restaurant industry for more than 45 years, including among his credits Buca di Beppo, Panda Express, and MRG Marketing & Management, Inc. (Micatrotto Restaurant Group). He and his wife Connie serve as councilors for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Western Lieutenancy. They are members of the Las Vegas Chapter and travel extensively, especially in the Holy Land for the EOHSJ.
Casa Nova Lasagna (serves 8-10)
2 to 3 medium onions
1 bunch of celery
Grind the above ingredients and saute in olive oil. Add 38 oz. minced veal or beef to the above mixture plus 1/2 bottle of dry red wine. Add 3 to 4 large cans of minced tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 large can of tomato paste. Salt & pepper to taste.
2 sticks of butter
1-1/2 cups of flour, stir into butter with whisk
In a separate pan, warm 64 oz. of milk. Stir both pans together. Once boiling, remove from heat. Add salt, white pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
Boil the lasagna pasta. When done, line bottom of large oblong Pyrex pan with red sauce.
Layer pasta on top of red sauce, then add more red sauce and Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta.
Next layer: lasagna pasta – bechamel sauce with Parmesan cheese.
Next layer: lasagna pasta – red sauce with Parmesan cheese.
Next layer: lasagna pasta – red & bechamel sauce – top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 325˚F for 35 to 40 minutes.