Marco Borriello has been on my wire of prospective beautiful muses, for months.
Probably for years, if I was really honest.
I first fell in love with him when he played in Genoa. When one of his matches aired and I was home to watch, my day suddenly turned magical. He transferred to AC Milan, my first love, where he about took my breath away in red&black.
Now he's with another true love, AS Roma, and is equally gorgeous, alongside his teammates, in yellow&red. (And, as it turns out ~ who knew ~ as a singing and dancing cowboy.)
His career has mostly been spent in northern Italy but he is from Naples, where I believe his family still lives. His father died when he was young and he remains devoted to his family, especially his mother, who did not have an easy time raising him and his siblings alone. He claims to have had a very awkward youth when he wore thick glasses, and lacked self-confidence.
I will say this twice in this story ~ The Universe is very kind. Everything passes.
When Italy takes the international field, sometimes Borriello wears the Azzurri jersey, and again, my day turns magical. Never mind that he didn't make the World Cup 2010 squad last summer ... even his presence would only have consoled me a little, when Italy choked.
As I said, we live in a very kind and benevolent Universe. There are lots more international matches coming up, including Euro 2012 qualifiers, and new national coach Cesare Prandelli may in fact call him for duty. This will rock the worlds of more lady fans than just myself.
On that note, his status of sorts ~ single, off-the-charts handsome, and sometimes even available ~ makes him one of Italy's hottest bachelors. He is known for adamantly refusing to discuss the latest tabloid gossip in interviews. Still, lady fans always want to know, regarding the romantic choices of his particular genre, "Why not a fan?"
I concur, laugh, and add, "Why not a chef?"
Around Christmastime, I guess I was musing about said things delicious. For some strange reason, the flavors of Fantasia ice cream started clamoring in my creative mind. At Disneyland, where it was served exclusively for many years (but no longer), its flavors gave whole new meaning to divine trinity ~ banana, pistachio, and cherry. I loved it.
Yum. I was easily inspired to play connect-the-dots. Fantasia ice cream celebrated Fantasyland. Some version of this place is where many of his fans spend at least some of their time. Not many would argue that the word fantasy does in fact, go very nicely used in the same sentence as these two words: Marco Borriello.
If I were his Chef, I think serving this incredibly delicious quick bread, with aphrodisiac-rich ingredients, would send a clear message to this man. Bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins, both essential for healthy hormone production. Cherries have their own sexy allure. Pistachios are energy-boosting and a healthy source of protein, in case stamina comes to mind.
Serving it as dessert, I'd add a little pistachio gelato on the side and a drizzle of rich, creamy chocolate sauce. But trust me when I say that it is really exquisite, just served alone.
As in, for breakfast.
Fantasy Banana-Cherry-Pistachio Bread, for Marco Borriello
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cube butter, softened
3/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup pitted cherries (drained/pitted well if using canned/frozen-thawed)
1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F and coat 8x4x2" loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans with cooking spray.
Sift first 3 ingredients together THREE TIMES; set aside.
Cream butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla; combine well. Mix in mashed banana with mixer, then mixing on low speed, gradually add sifted dry ingredients. When well combined, gently stir in by hand, the cherries and nuts.
Transfer to prepared pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes for small loaves, and 50-60 minutes for large loaf. Let cool on wire racks before turning out of pan(s). Slice as desired, to enjoy.
Yields 1 large, or 3 small bread loaves