Sunday, September 27, 2009

Latte Portoghese with Farm Fresh Eggs (a must)!

Every time I see my favorite "gal," the Bruna Alpina I think of this recipe...

This is a time tested recipe handed down from my Tuscan family ties, a nice and simple variation on custard. I remember this one well because the eggs were always so fresh and the yolks ultra yellow; I can smell it cooking now! Make sure you use an organic orange, wash well.

1 Liter whole milk
5 eggs ultra fresh 10 Tablespoons sugar (baker's sugar or ultra fine sugar) Orange rind Gran Marnier
Boil gently for 20 minutes milk with 5 spoons of sugar and orange peel. Do not let boil over. Cool well.

While cooling, prepare the caramel coating in the molds by placing 4 or 5 tablespoons (depending on the size of the mold) in the bottom with a tablespoon of water. Heat over high heat until the mix melts and bubbles and then continue heating until it begins to color. Take the color (burning if you will) to the point you prefer, which means lighter in flavor or the darker it becomes the heavier the flavor.
Mix 5 tablespoons sugar (or less depending on how sweet you wish this to be) with yolks and Gran Marnier ("season to taste" with this), beat well then add the cooled milk. Lightly beat the whites to mix and add to yolks.
Bake in oven with a pan of water for about 40 – 50 minutes medium oven.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Discovered Fun Italian Travel and Food Blog

Found a fun and very informative blog for those of you hooked on Italy. She does a lot of hiking and has her posts organized by region, not to mention her recipes as well. This is one of the most thorough sites I have seen, go check it out.
Rubber Slippers in Italy
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The Real One and Only Tomato Sauce

After spending years in this crazy Italian land, having tasted a genuine home made tomato sauce for pasta, I realized someone needs to clue in those folks on the other side of the "pond" to the exquisite flavors of real tomato sauce. I have found it difficult to find a restaurant serving good "pasta al pomodoro" state-side. The main trick to good sauce is in the tomato so when you can find good Perini, use these!

Heat ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil and in it cook 2 medium onions, sliced, until they are soft and transparent. Add 1 small grated carrot, 1 minced clove of garlic, and 1 teaspoon of minced parsley.

Cook together slowly for 3 minutes, then add 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped, salt and pepper, a few celery leaves chopped and several leaves of fresh basil, 1/3 teaspoon dried thyme and ½ cup of meat stock. Simmer the sauce, covered for about 1 and ¼ hours; stir it from time to time.

When it is fairly thick, force it through a fine strainer. This sauce may be used with any dish calling for tomato sauce although best when tossed over pasta. Serves 4-6

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Duck Ragu & Bigoli alla Vicentina (Bigoli con L’Arna)

Here is a classic meal and authentic recipe from Vicenza and surrounding towns. I was a die hard Tuscan fanatic until someone helped me see the light and opened up a whole new world of refined Italian fare and over these next months I will try to share the true Veneto region, one so undiscovered (thank God) and pristine; so get your favorite chair ready because this winter will be full of great secrets and recipes and history on this blog.

Time 25 min to prepare
80 min cooking time
Difficulty – medium

400 g of Bigoli (a very thick spaghetti-like pasta) (recipe below)

1 cleaned duck
1 onion
1 clove garlic
White wine (lots, at least half a bottle)
Fresh sage and rosemary
Tomato sauce
Extra virgin olive oil (try to find one from the Garda area)
Salt and pepper

Chop the onion and garlic and saute in a wide pot with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Place the duck on top of this mix, salt and pepper, add a few sage leaves and a branch of rosemary. With the heat high, add the white wine lower heat and cook on a low flame.

When the duck is almost done, remove from the pan and de-bone the little beast, cutting the meat into TINY pieces. Filter the pan juices then put them back into the pan together with the duck meat (do not separate these juices from the fat, this is what gives the pasta all it's flavor and texture). Add a tablespoon or two of tomato sauce that was previously diluted with water and hot broth (from 1/2 liter to a liter of broth) Add salt to taste and finish cooking until the duck is tender.

Meanwhile, cook the bigoli in lots of salted water, drain and place in the hot pan with the duck ragù and quickly sauté together for no more than 2 minutes.
Garnish with Grana Padano or Grana Trentino

Homemade Bigoli
500 g white flour
50 g butter
4 eggs
Pour flour on to working surface; make a crater in the center. Add the softened butter to the crater, the eggs and a pinch of salt. Work together adding a little bit of milk as needed to obtain solid dough. You will need a “bigolaro” to cut this pasta making the necessary form. If you cannot find one, use a fat spaghetti cut. Spread the bigoli out on a floured kitchen towel and let dry before cooking.

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