Buon Capodanno! Happy New Year! Literally translated it means happy “head of the year”. Italians, like most of us, are faced with a way to make the New Year better. It always helps to have a good head capo on your shoulders.
The dictionary of idioms and phrases tells us the “having a good head on your shoulders” means to be sensible and intelligent. To be smart, responsible, intelligent, able to deal with complicated things, able to make good decisions, able to think clearly. Italians tend to identify common sense with wisdom and good judgement.
For example in her 9th authored cookbook Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking, Lidia Bastianich equates common sense with cooking simply, seasonally and economically. Stocking a practical pantry that can be adapted to your needs, recycling leftover ingredients and cooking with what’s at hand. That seems a worthy resolution for the head of the year to bring to the table. Making vibrant healthy food takes more wisdom than money and is something almost anyone can do if they have a good head on their shoulders.
Here is a recipe from Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking for those times when you have nothing to add to your risotto that my Nonna would approve of as a “good head on your shoulder’s recipe”.