Hallo! November is right behind the corner and day after day the Autumn season is offering us an extraordinary palette of tones, from pale golden yellows to bronzed oranges and browns, flaming reds and violets, till silver green and grays, which leaves wear once they start their mesmerizing, melancholic dance from the trees down along the sides of the streets. There is something soothing and mystic in their graceful pirouettes, which fills the air with beautiful, lively waves and serendipity.
Autumn is also an inspiration for my kitchen and today, after a quick check at some family old food notes, I decided to prepare a couple of tasteful dishes we enjoy to make at this time of the year. So, in the garden, where temperatures are still around 20°/22°C in these days, I chose herbs like tender bay leaves, sage, rosemary for a bouquet garni to add in the pot together with the other ingredients for a rich stew. The dish, which is made of small bites of tender beef and pork and cooked in a special pot called “pignata” by the fireplace, represents an old family gastronomy tradition, which once took many hours of slow cooking the day before being served. Nowadays, we are ready to have this delicacy on our table in 2 or 2,5 hours. Starting with pouring some extra virgin olive oil in the pot, then I added the bouquet garni, a couple of small onions, some juniper berries (2 or 3), a couple of cloves, some garlic, the bites of young beef and pork in the end. As soon as the meat started hissing, it was necessary to brown it gently on every side, in order to seal the surface well and keep the tenderness of meat and its juices inside the bites. For this reason, I didn’t add salt and pepper until the end of the cooking process. After several minutes, it was the turn for some red local wine and I kept on stewing. Finally, I added pieces of celery, carrot, local new potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii), cherry tomatoes, then covered everything with warm water and brought to simmer for the time it occured to have a slow cooked well done stew. Salt, pepper and a sprinkle of parsley right in the end.
I served this warm dish with some home made, broken in small pieces tagliatelle (noodles) cooked for less than 5 minutes straight in the broth of the meat. As for the pasta dough of tagliatelle, I used only local hard wheat (Senatore Cappelli) flour, semolina and water and the outcome was an excellent, “al dente” cooked pasta.
As already mentioned above and you can also see in the featured picture, I prepared also one more dish basically made with pumpkin.
I was only a young child when I learnt from my aunt how to make it. After steaming only for few minutes some thinely sliced pumpkin, in order to soften it, I sprinkled some salt. Then, I oiled and sprinkled breadcrumbs on the surface of a traditional pot made of clay and started making layers of pumpkin. Each layer had a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and black pepper powder, an idea of garlic, leaves of sage, small capers, few drops of extravirgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. I left the pumpkin to rest for 15/20 minutes and then it was good to serve it as side dish. Wishing everybody, who want to try to make these delicious recipes ‘Bon Appétit’!
A good All Saints’ Celebrations weekend and be safe, everybody ❤