Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cena italiana # 3

The "experiments in Italian cooking" series continued yesterday.

La tavola

For Antipasto we had bruschetta. (I am not sure I have ever heard a server in any restaurant pronounce this correctly. The "sch" before "e" or "i" has the sound of "sk," just as it does in the English word "school." English-speakers will come close if they pronounce it as Bruce+Kate+Ta, with that "ta" as in "tata for now," accent on KATE. Of course, it you order it that way you may get an uncomprehending stare.

Anyway, last night's was done the old-fashioned way, brushing slices of bread with olive oil and sticking them briefly under the boiler. The tomatoes used were freshly picked from Bill's garden. And cheers to Bill, the sous-chef, who did lots of chopping and stirring for the meal.

Primi consisted of risotto al radicchio, a dish we had in Florence. It turned out really well and I am eager to have risotto more often. This is the fourth time I have made it and it is so very good, well worth the half hour one spends stirring it constantly. It's not fast food by any means but it certainly has moved into my personal category of comfort food.

For Secondi we had Marcella Hazan's drunken pork roast. The pork is "larded" with carrot sticks and cooks in wine for three hours. I added some baby bella mushrooms, sauteed zucchini, and a few slices of Bill's tomatoes.

I picked these grapes from my vine just before the meal. They are small but very sweet and we polished them off by the end of the meal.

The ricotta cake with lemon zest and juice in it. A thin cake with a lovely crumb. We had slices of it with mixed fresh berries.

There were many empty wine bottles in the trash at the end of the evening and I was very gratified to have pulled this off, especially given that I had a tooth ache all day. What a fun way to learn new recipes and techniques!

--the BB