Two recipes in one today, both from The Italian Cookbook by Maria Luisa Taglienti, published by Spring Books in 1953. It’s a comprehensive guide to Italian recipes from all regions of that country, and for all parts of the meal. The introduction defensively explains how fine cooking is associated with French culture when it actually originates in Italy, and goes on to point out that Catherine de’ Medici introduced a number of Italian culinary techniques and utensils, including the fork, to other cultures, so there. Halfway through the book there are line drawings illustrating different types of pasta, these pictures are adorably quaint, some of the them simply being squares or rectangles with ‘LASAGNE‘ or ‘EGG BARLEY’ as a caption.
There’s loads of recipes in it that I want to try out, and some I might hold back on such as Brussels Sprouts Parmigiana…ummh. Tonight though I just needed a simple dinner.
Pork Chops Modena Style or Costolette di Maiale alla Modense
8 large pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1/2 tspn rosemary
1/2 tspn sage
1/2 tspn garlic
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
Mix rosemary, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub chops with this mixture. Place chops in a large greased frying-pan, add water and cover. Simmer until all the water has been evaporated (about 45 minutes). Remove cover and brown chops in their own fat. Add wine and cook for a minute or so, turning chops occasionally. Wine should be almost evaporated. Serves 4.
- I reduced the amounts to make 2 chops worth.
- I used slightly more seasoning than suggested, as I felt it would result in rather weak flavouring otherwise.
- 45 minutes of simmering is far far too long for 2 chops (even on the lowest heat) – I stopped after about 20 minutes and set the remaining liquid aside to be used for stock at a later date (I dipped some bread in this and it was tasty!)
- Getting chops to ‘brown in their own fat’ after they’ve been simmering in liquid is hard.
- The chops were pleasantly, if delicately, flavoured but tough. They were tough after the simmering and browning them further only exacerbated the problem.
The veg dish:
Broccoli Roman Style or Broccoli alla Romana
1 1/2 lb broccoli
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
Salt and pepper
Saute garlic in oil until golden but not brown. Remove garlic if desired, then add broccoli and simmer uncovered for 4- 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper and wine; cover and cook for about 25 minutes. Serves 4.
- I left the garlic in, of course, and in fact a couple more cloves would have been fine (for my distinctly un-vampiric tastes, that is).
- I served it up slighty before the 25 minutes was up – it had a little more crunch than I would usually go for, but it was perfectly acceptable.
- The wine was a little on the sour side. It was some cheap ass stuff from Somerfield though; you gets what you pays for.
Quite successful – once again with the vintage books I find the recipe lacking in depth in seasoning. I feel that the chops would have benefitted from steaming rather than simmering in liquid, anything to keep some softenness in the meat. The broccoli was servicable but again more flavour, if only just to increase the garlic, was needed.
I need to improve my food photography skills. I’m just too keen to tuck in to bother, normally (nb, this does not explain the poor photography on this recipe).
Unfortunately the amounts of wine needed were small and I have had to drink the rest of the bottle. Curse you Bacchus, I have work tomorrow.