Friday, February 06, 2009

Inspired in Bologna!

La Salumeria di Bruno e Franco
Via Oberdon, 16

When in Bologna, one is in the land where pork is King!

On our day trip yesterday to meet with friends and do a little market filming, the selection preserved pork products was incredible.

Emilia Romagna is famous for it's pasta as well as it's pork, recipes change with every household and village.Very few recipes travel far in Italy,so the variety is incredible. Each area has it's own ways to prepare preserved pork. Salami's, sausages and prosciutto's. I was amazed at the wonderful variations on one of my favorite winter pork products, ciccioli, crispy little pieces of pork left over after rendering the fat. Here where was a moister, pressed version, made more like a soprasatta as well as the little crispy bits I amused to seeing.

But what I really want to try ( next time) is the pressed lard!
It looks very much like marble.

Doesn't that look fabulous???

Not having had enough pork- lunch today was a Spaghetti all'Amatriciana my way.

It is the first recipe I cooked for my now husband. When I served it, he walked out of the room without eating it at all. I had made it wrong!
He is my Italian life coach as well as culinary coach and I NEVER let that happen again!

Today he ate it all- I have had 25 years of practice!

My Amatriciana for two

200 gr spaghetti ( tradition is bucatini, a thick hollow spaghetti)
100 gr ( 3 ounces) smoked pancetta ( or thick sliced bacon)
1 small red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
2 tiny birds eye chili's
olive oil
1 cup tomato sauce

Slice the pancetta into thin strips.
Saute' in pan until crispy.
Remove and saute the onion in the fat left from the pancetta, adding a little extra olive oil if needed.
Add the sliced garlic and break in the chili peppers. ( do not touch your eyes!)

Once the onion is cooked, add the tomato sauce and salt to taste.

Drain the spaghetti ( save some of the pasta water).

Place the spaghetti into the pan with the tomato sauce and saute.
the spaghetti will finish cooking by soaking up the tomato sauce.
Add some of the saved water if it gets too dry.

Add the crispy pancetta bits now and saute' again and serve immediately.

NO cheese!

I am leaving on Sunday for a month of teaching on the West Coast so I am building up my brownie points by cooking my heart out!

Dinner tonight was roast pork shins, stinche di maiale, one of the first dishes I had in Bologna about 20 years ago. Oven-roasted with simple rosemary, garlic, olive oil and sea salt.

Bake in parchment for 2 hours at 375 (or until the meat is ready to fall off the bones).
The last hour I threw tiny new yukon gold potatoes in the pan with sea salt, rosemary and olive oil. They melted in our mouths!

The secrets of the Italian kitchen.... great ingredients- prepared simply!