Lamb Bolognese

Happy Friday and welcome to another day with Giada’s Italy *Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita. I continue to utilize the recipes in this wonderful cookbook; adding my own versions to the recipes.  I used ground lamb and ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Both lamb and turkey are lower in fat but not losing any flavors.  By slow cooking in a dutch oven; the flavors are allowed to marry together and fill your home with delicious scents.This recipe makes 6 cups and yields 8 servings so you can use half for now and freeze the rest for later use.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. ground lamb
  • 3/4 lb. ground turkey (90/10)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Calabrian chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3 in. piece of Parmigiana-Reggiano rind
  • 1 8 oz. package of pappardelle pasta (see homemade pasta recipe under my favorite things!)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Heat a medium dutch oven and add the butter and half the olive oil until butter melts. Add carrot, onion, celery and 1/2 tsp salt and cook stirring frequently for about 6 minutes until the vegetables are soft.  Add the lamb and turkey and cook and break up into small pieces until meat is cooked through.  Add garlic, Hot Chili Peppers Crushed in jar, McCormick Culinary Ground Hot Red Pepper and tomato paste, cooking for a few minutes; stirring to cook down the tomato paste.

 

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Stir in the milk and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the milk evaporates.  Add the wine, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, cheese rind and remaining 1/2 tsp salt.  Reduce heat once it comes to a simmer, gently cooking for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Skim oil off surface.  Remove half the sauce into a container for later use. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze. Cook pasta in well salted boiling water cooking until al dente. Remove from water and toss the pasta with the herb butter.  To serve place pasta in a beautiful dish : CERAMICHE D’ARTE PARRINI – Italian Ceramic Art Pottery Serving Plate Dish Food Hand Painted Decorated Lemons Made in ITALY Tuscan add the sauce to the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and some fresh Italian Parsley.  Enjoy!

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

*Adapted from recipes from Giada’s Italy cookbook.

Adventures in the Pugliese Kitchen

Day 15:

Last full day of this absolutely incredible vacation. Today we venture even further south, to Gallipoli. Gallipoli is a coastal town in Apulia, southern Italy. The historic center, on an island off the mainland, shelters churches like St. Agatha’s Cathedral, with its ornate facade. Nearby, the Church of St. Mary of Purity has a maiolica tiled floor. Gallipoli Castle includes the Rivellino tower, standing apart from the main building. Across the bridge, on the mainland, is the Greek Fountain, dating from the Renaissance.

We meet for a day of cooking with Anna Maria.

We go to the market to select the ingredients for our class and then proceed straight to the kitchen for a hands-on cooking lesson. I’m in heaven. Here our new friend shares the secrets for preparing some of Puglia’s most beloved dishes.

We prepare a dessert with custard which is a traditional salento cake. This has to sit and chill before going into the oven.

We cut up zucchini and cherry tomatoes for our antipasto. The zucchini sautes in a pan of garlic and olive oil.

Natalie loves fresh zucchini.

The calamari and tomatoes for our appetizer.

We mix semolina flour and water together and roll our dough into a ball where it will rest

Once rested we roll and cut into orecchiette.

Dessert out of the oven.

Now that the meal is prepared it is time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes and olive oil.

We sit together to enjoy our beautiful meal and some outstanding local wines to accompany our lunch. Buon Appetito!!!

Love and light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Cooking Lesson at Ristorante Degli Archi

Day 5:

After breakfast at the hotel we head out towards the village of an Quirico d’Orcia along the gravel paths of the Via Francigena; an ancient pilgrimage route. The scenery is breathtakingly beautiful; every vista a perfect portait

The scotch bloom is a vibrant yellow, the smell seeet and fragrant. The red poppies dust the fields creating more color along with sprinkles of lavender and white roses everywhere. I slow down taking pictures trying to absorb every detail. The colors of the green fields of alfalfa, wheat, and hay against the browns and tans of the stone buildings.

Once we arrive in San Quirico we are left to explore or stop for an espresso, visiting this charming town before continuing on to Val d’Orcia, a World Heritage site. (see UNESCO for a list of all World Heritage Sites) Our route takes us on farm roads, past cypress trees and verdant land en route to a favorite agriturismo (working farm and country retreat); right up my alley! Such beautifully landscaped hills. Picture perfect spots everywhere.

The hike for those of us wanting to continue takes us across rolling hills to magical Pienza. This town was designed by the 15th century Florentine architect Bernardo Rossellino who was chosen by Pope Pius II to transform his birthplace into a hamlet that exemplified Renaissance ideals. The main square (piazza) showcases two of his masterpieces: Palazzo Piccolomini and a classically inspired duomo. (Italian cathedral)

We continue our hike to San Quirico to put our Tuscan cooking (and eating) skills to the test. At Ristorante degli Archi, the owner and master sommelier Lorenza puts on a full Tuscan spread from start to finish. Can you say Heaven! It all starts with an aperitivo but for me I want in on the action as cooking and Italian cooking are my passions so I grab a glass of vino and I join in on the cooking excitement. The food lingers on my palate with the wine and I know I will be re-creating these dishes for family and friends in the near future.

We continue our hike to Pienza stopping to take pictures of where the Gladiator movie was filmed, you can see the house with yhe cypress trees in the distance and we walk to the church where the wheat is rising. The small church is beautiful, standing on the top of a knoll. Then into Pienza for some shopping.

Dinner tonight is at Cisterna del Borgo where we indulge in so much food once again. This is our last night here. New friends, new memories and a new sense for more adventure

Vegetarian lasagne

Chocolate Salami!!

Hiking options: San Quirico Route: 3.2 miles; II Rigo Route: 5.2 miles; Pienza Route: 8.6 miles.

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene

Panzano/Le Bocce Winey

Day two:

My active walking culinary adventure starts in Castelvecchi along strade bianche to the ridgetop town of Panzano.  Panzano’s artisan boutiques and enoteche (wine shops) summon me in before I hit the trail to Le Bocce Winery.  The incredible selections of medieval spices at the Macelleria Cecchini (considered the best butcher shop in the region) have me dreaming of barbequing a juicy rib eye steak.
From here we walk to Fattoria Le Bocce where we tour the grounds, wine taste and enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the vineyard.  This family owned winery is housed in a former convent surrounded by 175 acres of vineyards and olive groves.  This is a special visit as this winery is not open to the public but exclusively to Backroads guests.  If you are an outdoor active venturer in hiking, biking, swimming or just enjoy the great outdoors please visit www.Backroads.com.

After our wine tasting we continue our hike, taking in the beautiful Chianti Countryside through densely shaded oak forests and cypress trees.  The smell of the earth, the trees; the manicured olive orchards. Inhale a deep breath of mother nature and let it linger in your mind and body; a true feeling of being grounded with God’s gifts.

That evening we enjoyed a lively pizza-making demonstration with Ciro and Umberto as we summon our inner pizzaiolo (pizza chef).

Hiking options: Panzano Route: 4.7 miles; Le Bocce Route: 5.7 miles: Panzano Loop: 8 miles.

Love & Light,

Jeanine On The Scene

 

Cooking in Chianti

My Tuscany vacation; Italy’s Bella Toscana Active Culinary Adventure by Backroads

I am on the train to Arrezo at 6 am passing through fields of yellow hay cut on the ground ready for bailing and row crops which look like tomatoes. We go through dark tunnels and then back out to the sunshine and the greenery. Red poppys line the tracks as we go through many towns and stops along the route.

The train arrives at 8:43 where I meet several of the people on the tour and am greeted by my backroads tour guide Michael; we will meet Guilia once we arrive.

We head towards the town of Castellina in Chianti, a fortified hamlet with commanding views of the Pesa, Arbia and Elsa River Valleys. Castellina served as a Florentine army outpost until the fall of Siena in 1555, and its military past can be seen in its old ramparts and arcaded walkway, Via delle Volte.

We begin along pedestrian walkways, forested paths and strade bianche (gravel roads) en route to Radda in Chianti.

Along the way, we stop by a family-owned farmhouse-turned-villa for a visit with their friend Roberta and Marco who is the expert on olive oils. We do a blind tasting. First using our smell to see what fruits or vegetables we smell, next is a taste where we swirl in our mouth and swish around almost like wine before swallowing. The pepper taste hits our throats and makes us cough a little, which is said to be the best olive oil. This is our first taste of Tuscan hospitality, olive oil that’s produced right on the property! Next we’re treated to an alfresco pranzo (lunch) buffet hosted by Roberta’s brother, Giovanni.

After lunch, we hike through the woods and vineyards, a quintessential Tuscan landscape that seems too beautiful to be real.

Our destination is the charming Il Borgo di Vèscine, offering striking views of the surrounding Chianti Valley.

After a short rest we then head to Tutti a Tavola, a cooking school operated by four Tuscan women who share a deep passion for cooking and their homeland. Here we’re welcomed into the heart of the home, the cucina (kitchen), to learn how Tuscans cook on a daily basis. It’s a marvelous evening with great food and wonderful company. Mimme, Lele, Ellissa, and Franca show us the ropes and I even get in on the action making the gelato for the evening dessert. A delicious meal is prepared starting with spaghetti, a delicious frittata, followed by chicken cacciatore and gelato for dessert.

What a great first day. Blessed in so many ways. Until tommorrow, arrivederci!

Hiking today: 4.2 miles

Love and Light,

Jeanine on the Scene