Spaghetti Nirvana and Ponch alla Livornese

Every single man, at least once in his teenage life, tries an underpaid job just to become summertime money independent.

Most of us decide to take a job as a means to escape from home living far from parents. Many of us because we want to live, work and have fun in a cool sea destination.

As you may be starting to guess, I would like to confirm your prediction, and share with you my summertime waiter job.

Far from here… it was back in Italy precisely…I decided I wanted a car. Like most of the young men, I wanted to be cool and drive my girlfriend around Tuscany using my car.

And what was the easiest way to make good money but also having fun?


I took the train and I stopped in Calambrone. This region belongs to Livorno’s Province (within Tuscany). If you drive 10 minutes north, along the Costa Tirrenica, you will reach one of the most chosen destinations of Livorneese people.

Yeah, that “resort” sent me home slimmer & tanned, with enough money to buy a 1996 old Volkswagen Polo car, but also taught me how to handle busy days and how to prepare the Spaghetti alla Nirvana and the Ponch alla Livornese.

I know that everything sounds cool and easy, but it wasn’t…

Allow me to write down the negative effects as a young and unqualified waiter:

  • I was working Sunday to Monday 7 days a week from 7PM till 11/1 AM and Thursday to Sunday from 10 AM till 4 PM. (the reason I kept working there was that I was making almost 50 bucks in tips a day)
  • I made only $750 a month (before tip). Yep, only $750
  • I lost almost 30 pounds in 3 months
  • I destroyed my back carrying the plates
  • I was the only waiter, and most of the time the restaurant was full (around 70/80 people)

Honestly? I won’t do that again and I won’t suggest a work experience like that to my future children. By the way, doing that job was possible only because I was young and thirsty for money.

I will though keep thinking that everything is possible if you want and if you are really ready to sacrifice yourself.

That summer changed me a lot and I understood how difficult it is to wake up and start working for a wage. I understood what it takes in order to be able to put a piece of bread on the dinner table and still have energy for a smile.

As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, I also learned how to make nice kitchen dishes and drinks.

I would like, first of all, to dedicate some time to those who are still wondering where in the world is Livorno:

  • Livorno is an amazing city in Tuscany. Sadly it is not a tourist destination, even if I honestly think it would easily become one of the most beautiful places to go in Tuscany.
  • Livorno is well known for its amazing sea coast and clear waters.
  • Livorno is that place where every single phrase starts and ends with the word Deh.


  • Livorno has the most beautiful terrace in the world.


  • Livorno is a pretty town and it has an amazing water channel. I like to call it The Little Venice.
  • Livorno is known for its Ponch alla Livornese.

Well, let’s see what’s this ponch alla Livornese. Before you start reading I would like you to listen to this song

The ingredients: One part rum, one part cognac, one part hot coffee, sugar and lemon peel.

Take a wide thick and flat glass and pour a teaspoon of white sugar with a sliver of lemon peel. Then add a finger of rum and a finger of cognac. Then you should have a coffee incorporated steamer (if you hope to truly obtain a Ponch). Heat it with the steam machine. Be careful and don’t start fast (you don’t want to spit everything out of your glass). Once the sugar is melted, prepare an espresso. Put the glass inclined and fill it with the coffee. It has to be a finger of coffee.

Congrats! You should have obtained the Ponch, with an appearance of 3 levels: The first is the mix of spirits and sugar, the second is the coffee, and the third is the foam of the quality coffee.

If you can’t see all I tried to explain to you, then call me or come visit me in Michigan. I would definitely make you one.

If you have a 3 levels effect, then stop!


Let me explain how to taste it and enjoy it:

1 – Rinse out your mouth

2 – Have a glass of water

3 – Now, with a teaspoon, take the lemon peel and chew it

4 – You should have a lemony taste.

5 – Now take a sip of that Ponch alla Livornese.

Isn’t it the best drink you’ve ever had?

You’re very welcome!

Not let me introduce you to the Spaghetti alla Nirvana. The name comes from the Resort I was working for. This plate was my favorite plate that summer. This plate means a lot to me and I think you should consider yourselves lucky that I’m sharing this recipe with you.

Again, you’re welcome!

Ok, now let’s make some Spaghetti alla Nirvana, folks!

Next time you go grocery shopping, remember to buy all these ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of fresh mussels (yes, with the shell)
  • 1 pack of spaghetti 5th thickness in measure
  • 8 oz. pack of heavy cream
  • 1 pound of cherry tomatoes (yes, red cherry tomatoes)
  • salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, white wine (yes, cheap white wine for cooking), dried chilly peppers, fresh parsley (don’t ever think to use dried parsley).

Now, you better not drink the wine for cooking…

Take a pot and boil some water. Pour 2 tablespoons of salt and mix the water (don’t even think to touch the pasta if the water is not boiling / don’t you ever brake the spaghetti because I might die). You should be able to read on the packaging for how many minutes you should boil the pasta (for the best result, always put the pasta when the water starts to boil and keep it the minutes they write on the package). Now take out the best pan you have in the house. Start chopping the garlic small diced. Drop 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and let the oil become hot (medium heat). Drop the garlic and 2 small chilly peppers without throwing away the seeds. You need the maximum heat from the two chilly peppers. 15 seconds later add the 2 pounds of mussels (actually you already boiled in small water and opened the mussel’s shells), with half cup of white wine.

5 minutes later add the cherry tomatoes (please cut those tomatoes in halves or quarters). Add half teaspoon of sugar to cut the acidity. Mix everything and pour half cup of cream. Wait for the cream to simmer and then turn off the fire.

Meanwhile, your pasta should be ready. Take a colander (I know you know how to use it) and throw the water away. Then put the spaghetti in the pan and do what you should do: Mix your spaghetti with the sauce over medium heat for 30 seconds.

Now heat a plate in the microwave for 40 seconds. Take it out and make the spaghetti nest in the middle. Then add some of that incredible and delicious sauce on the top.

I bet you forgot about the parsley, right?

Take some fresh parsley and chop it really thin. Then let it rain over your plate.

A glass of white wine and your plate of pasta…

Yeah, you’re very welcome! Again!

Isn’t it? Am I right that everything happens for a reason? Just because you read my article, you just learned how to make the Ponch alla Livornese and the Spaghetti alla Nirvana.

I really appreciate you reading this article till the end!






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