Stinco d’agnello 

Here’s another meat dish for our cold weather cravings. This is a lamb shank braised and slow cooked on the stove top. A braise is like a stew so the meat takes on the flavors of the soffritto, spices, and red wine. We served it over a bed of polenta just to cause a little more fat to grow on our bones to keep us warm this winter!  I found the recipe on Pinterest and you can find it by clicking here. I pretty much followed the recipe but halved it for our family and I left out the beef broth.

Buon appetito!

Pulled pork, Italian style

Italians have a seasonal rhythm with the foods that they eat. This is due to the changing temperatures and to the availability of local products. The foods are often celebrated with local feasts held in honor of the item. In Cremona, every November, there is Festa del Torrone to celebrate the nougat Christmas dessert that was invented there in 1441 as a new wedding cake commissioned for a Visconti wedding. The cake was designed in a long rectangular shape to celebrate Cremona’s tallest brick bell tower in Europe (click here for details about this year’s festival).

With Fall in the air, we shift to eating a bit heavier than we do in the summer. On a recent raw and rainy day we made this pulled pork. I searched the Internet for a recipe that had a base in the Italian flavors. Click here for the one that I found. Adelina helped by sharing a nice combination of spices that would work for the pork so I changed the ingredients of the rub a little based on her feedback.

We love the result and you can see the recipe below. As you can imagine it is a tender meat with a nice tomato and herb flavor and a little kick from the peppers. Serve with some crusty bread (click here) and Matteo’s vegetables (click here) for a nice warm and flavorful meal to warm up the cold Fall and Winter days!

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 pound pork shoulder or butt
  • make a rub of 1 tablespoon sea salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon sage, 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (I made it again, but this time used our own canned tomatoes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sliced golden hot pepper (use the hotter variety for more heat)
  • 3 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

Process:

  1. pre-heat the oven to 300°
  2. make the rub and rub the entire pork
  3. place in a dutch oven and pour the tomatoes over the meat
  4. add the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook for about 5 hours, turning over once halfway through
  5. take the meat out and shred into pieces
  6. depending on the thickness of the sauce, it could be boiled down to thicken
  7. use an immersion hand blender to mix the sauce
  8. add the meat back and/or cover the meat with the sauce and serve


Buon appetito!

A simple reminder

Look how beautiful these Brussels Sprouts are. And, look how simple they are. There are only 5 ingredients:  the vegetable, olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic. The process is pretty simple too. I cut each sprout in half and place all of them in heated olive oil in my enamel coated cast iron skillet (it’s like a dutch oven and is oven safe, we have a Lodge brand). I throw whole garlic cloves, stir to coat everything with the oil and let them sit till they get a nice brown. Towards the end, I salt and pepper to taste. Then, the pan gets put in a heated 400° oven without a cover for about 10-15 minutes. For the full recipe, click here.

Yesterday I lived a day of simplicity. I fasted from all electronics and had a retreat day. It was free from Facebook, emails, t.v., and, perhaps most importantly, politics and the news!

I began my retreat with swimming and the sauna. After breakfast, I read one yoga philosophy principle and then took a walk as a form of meditation. Then, I came home and experienced a guided meditation that left me incredibly relaxed. I followed this with a bike ride, lunch, a nap, sauna again, yoga, and finished my retreat with a massage.

Needless to say, I relaxed. More importantly, my mind was less cluttered and my experience of the world more clear and focussed. One day off from my normal activities and all the things I do to occupy my time gave me a nice break. It also gave me perspective about the constant bombardment of news from the persistent checking of my phone throughout a typical day.

I love my iPhone and the numbers of things I accomplish with it. But, I realize that, like anything, moderation is important. I am conscious when I walk down the street and go for the phone to leave it in the pocket and enjoy my walking. I deliberately resist the phone when walking down a set of stairs. I notice that my mind and my hand go for the phone with every free moment to fill.

My retreat day was a day of renewal and relaxation, but it was also a helpful reminder to live the balanced and simple life in every day. So, while I may not have time every day for a 47 minute guided meditation, I can do at least 10 minutes a day. I will continue to reach for my phone for the latest news, but less often. I will be more conscious about my use of technology and when it might limit other pleasures in life. I will draw from my deep belly breath to bring the simple relaxation of the retreat any time I need the reminder.

 

 

Garganelli

Here’s another pasta shape. Traditionally, the dough for garganelli is a flour and egg recipe. We use the same simple semolina and water recipe that can be found by clicking here. After kneading the dough and letting it sit for 30 minutes, flatten it, cut into squares, and form into garganelli using a ridged pasta board and wooden dowel. You can purchase the garganelli board on Amazon.

The traditional recipe for garganelli is a duck ragu and hails from Bologna. We made ours with some pulled pork, and a mushroom wine sauce (watch for a future post)! You can use this pasta shape for any sauce that you like.

Watch the 1 minute video below to see the pasta making process!

Buon appetito!