Archives For fennel

 

polpette

Polpette biscotte al finocchio

Italian food may be simple, but often it’s not fast: but that’s one of its charms. Good ingredients, cooked well. It’s no surprise therefore that the Slow Food movement started in Italy. Traditionally, a lot of the more time-consuming dishes would have been cooked by housewives while their husbands were out at work, and so often consist of dishes which can cook more or less unattended while you get on with other chores. A good example is the authentic ragù which would be cooked slowly for about three hours. If you’ve ever tasted a three-hour ragù, you’ll appreciate why.

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TUSCANY

This recipe is from Tuscany.

Polpettone

Polpettone, aka meatloaf, is one of the dishes I remember my mother preparing as a child. She in turn, had been taught to make it by my real nonna, who I never met since she died before I was born. My mother’s polpettone was delicious, roasted in the oven with lashings of parmesan cheese and perfect potatoes, all held together with a tomato sauce. What memories!

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TUSCANY

This recipe is from Tuscany.

Finocchio

One of the things that surprises most English-speaking tourists, when coming to Italy for the first time, is that in restaurants main dishes don’t come with vegetables. That’s not to say that Italians don’t eat vegetables with main dishes, but you have to order them separately. You find them on the menu in a little section of their own called contorno, which translates approximately as side dish.

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Salami

Finocchiona, prosciutto, and other Tuscan sausages.

 

Salami is one of the most famous of all Italian ingredients and forms part of antipasto platters and pizza toppings up and down the peninsula. Travelling around Italy however, once again, you notice that every region has its own variations and varieties. Perhaps the most famous Tuscan salami, and certainly my favourite, is finocchiona, a pork and red wine salami flavoured with fennel, a combination that has to be tasted to be believed.

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