Thursday, 7 April 2011

GOURMET WORDS FROM THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: VERDURE RIPIENE - stuffed vegetables




Vegetables – mostly zucchini, but also peppers, aubergines, onions, potatoes and chards – are blanched for five minutes, stuffed (a scenting mix featuring minced meat, eggs, herbs and the vegetables’ pulp) and baked. Zucchini flowers are delicately filled with vegetables such as zucchini, green beans and potatoes. Wine matching: white, IGT Colline Savonesi Lumassina (try the spumante version, too).



Monday, 4 April 2011

GOURMET WORDS FROM THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: TRIPPE - tripes


Soziglia: the very heart of Genoa's medieval district was the seat of the city's first abattoir




From necessity to ingenuity. In the Middle Ages, the lack of conservation techniques (i.e. cold chain) fostered the creativity of both butchers (the first Genoese abattoir was established in Soziglia in 1152) and housewives. Thus, offal and organs became the protagonists of several dishes and fillings (from ravioli to cima alla Genovese). Tripes are still a local hit (often eaten on December 26th), prepared throughout the region in a myriad ways, from accommodate (potatoes, broad beans and tomatoes) to “alla sbira” (potatoes, stock and sea biscuits). Tripes’ stock was served in ancient tripperie (the forerunners of fast food joints), where the Genoese sat around huge marble tables. Wine matching: go for DOC Colli di Luni rosso to accompany trippe accomodate (tripes stewed with tomato sauce).






Friday, 1 April 2011

GOURMET WORDS FROM THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: TORTA PASQUALINA




The queen of Ligurian savoury pies boasts a glorious history, celebrated in the 1930’s by journalist Giovanni Ansaldo: the article “Le 24 bellezze della torta pasqualina” was dedicated to “a Scià Carlotta”, the owner of a friggitoria in Sottoripa (a medieval porticoed area by the port of Genoa). 16th century cookbooksalready mentioned “gattafure”, irresistible savoury pies whose name evoked the image of gluttonous cats stealing gourmet treats…). A must throughout the region – variations abound from Genoa to Mignanego (GE), Toirano (SV) etc… - it features golden dough layers (tradition accounted for 33 sheets, symbolizing the age of Christ, modernity opts for a less demanding 6), brushed with oil and filled with artichokes ot beet greens (in this case the pie is called torta cappuccino). Hollows over the vegetable filling contain eggs, which represent the solar circle. Wine matching: white, DOC Val Polcevera Vermentino.