Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A classic for piedmontese quiche...St Peter's pie

The pie of St. Peter is an unusual first course of Alta Val di Susa is a potato puree, broad beans and boiled chestnuts tied with eggs, cooked on a background of rye bread dough and then served seasoned butter and Rosemary.


Serves 4 hungry traveller

200 g dried chestnuts, 200 g broad beans, 500 g potatoes, 600 g bread dough (better rye flour made), 150 g butter, milk, salt, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 garlic cloves, 1 sprins of rosemary, a pinch nutmeg

Getting to the point

The evening before put to soak the beans and chestnuts. The following day, peel from skin and skin the beans and chestnuts and put them to cook in salted water. Halfway through the cooking, 30 minutes, add the potatoes and finish cooking, other 30 minutes. Drain and pass everything to blend, then add the butter and fry with thyme, two cloves of garlic and rosemary bunches, grated nutmeg and a little milk, if the mixture is too thick. Apart with half of bread dough, line a baking pan with a diameter of about 20 cm, fill it with mashed potatoes and cover with the remaining bread dough, seal the edges and bake at 180°. Remove from oven when the dough is golden and crunchy. Before serving, coat the surface of the pie with butter.

Bon aptì

Thanks for the pics to Nonna Paperina Blog

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bross (some calls it the truth or dare devil's cream)

Today i wish to dare with a recipe, even the most of piedmontese local find too strange. It is a re-fermented cheese cream typical of Valsusa and other alpine valleys. It was born from the need of not wasting anything, not even the cheese crust and not well aged rounds. It can be eaten after just 20 days but reaches its peak of its organoleptic characteristics after three months. As its availability is today limited to gastronomic fairs and high-end speciality shops (like Eataly but i never found it there): it could be funny to make it home-style.

BROSS (or brus or bruss)

Serves 4 hungry travellers

600 gr sheep's milk cheese, 600 gr goat's cheese milk, 2 cups of fresh cream, 200 ml of grappa (or another kind of spirits)

Getting to the point

Grate four fine cheese rounds (sheep's and goat's milk made), and put them in a earthen or glass pot (in piedmontese 'tupin-a'. Add three cups of milk or two cups of fresh cream and mix well (with a wooden spoon). Then close the container with the lid or with a cloth tied around the rim and place it in a room at a constant temperature, neither hot nor cold, like a basement cellar, Day to day monitoring the dough and if it tends to harden add a little milk. Stir everyday (the best would be twice a day for 10 minutes each time) with a wooden spoon. In three months the taste becomes a salter and spicier. At this point you can finally stop the fermentation process by adding ethyl alcohol or high gradations pirits such as grappa (about 20-30 cl per kilogram of product. You can keep the same tupin-a (always covered, in the usual place). In winter especially, you can eat it spread on toasted bread and melted over a mouth-watering dish of polenta.

Bon aptì

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cheesy Thursday #1: Robiola di Roccaverano

When one thinks of the Langhe, immediately the mind flies to the memory of its great wines: Dolcetto, Barbaresco, Barolo and Moscato ... the more prepared recognize the area as the homeland of truffles more valuable (and expensive, depending on the year): the White of Alba. However, not many know that the southern part of the territory, the more rugged and wild, is characterized by an still often pastoral economy, which gives the Piedmont its finest cheeses.  
These hills, up to 900 meters elevation in the walled village of Mombarcaro, are so different from the gentle and rounded hills of Bassa Langa, completely designed by rows and an ancient human presence. It is the realm of silent forests, salt routes and pastures, where the breeding of goats and sheep still occasionally takes the form of transhumance, wandering toward the plains and towards Liguria, which lies just beyond the mountains.  
It's a world of hazel groves, guard towers and small cheese dairies, whose undoubted quality allows them to survive in a marginal area compared to major cities and roads.   
Queen of the eastern part of the upper Langa, between the provinces of Asti and Cuneo is the Robiola, moist and soft wheel made with mostly goat milk .

 Robiola of Roccaverano, is a fresh cheese, or subjected to maturation and matured for his production works full of raw milk goat, cow, sheep and derived exclusively from the production area.  
The origins date back to the Celts who produced a cheese similar to the current product. With the advent of the Romans the cheesy name for ' rubeola '. But the importance of ' Robiola ' was highlighted in a manuscript of 1899, of the historical political interest: in the municipality of Roccaverano five annual fairs were held, during which it sold for export excellent cheeses named 'Robiola'.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Celebration Day breakfast: Amaretti di Mombaruzzo and chestnut honey

In Italy today do not work. No. We work the same though it should be the feast of liberation from Fascism. Even the Piedmontese Epicurus works, but decided to take equally the satisfaction of a great celebration day breakfast .  
I went out on the streets of my neighborhood looking for a pastry that was opened despite the holiday and I found a small showcase that, from the tram, I had never noticed. Inside, a wizened dialect-speaking old Lady who must have surely fought in the Crusades, welcomes me between a puff and a shrug of eyes to heaven when I kept more than the two minutes I was tacitly allowed to make my purchase. But I don't care, I'm on culinary exploration and Tuthankamon can't distract me. In a cardboard box, wrapped in classical frayed paper I saw them: a delicacy from a thousand eggs and bitter almonds, 'amaretti di Mombaruzzo'. For those who are not Italian or from regions that are not used in this kind of pastry making, amaretti is a macaroon cookie variable and form hard, brittle or soft texture both characterized by almonds as the main ingredient. Every city, town, village and chicken run in Piedmont purports to have invented it, claiming to possess the oldest and more authentic recipe. This is due to the proliferation of different forms, the origin of which, though no historical evidence exists establishing who owns the alpha amaretto, can be traced back to a period between the 17th and 19th century. Good-byed with no politeness by the old lady that with had tried to not printing the receipt, but not to evade taxes, she says, to save paper of the recorder!  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wine, not Stress #1: Colli Tortonesi Timorasso DOC

There's nothing which make me feel more frustrated than reading and listening snotty snob chitchats about wine by supponent ranks #1 within my food related topics (well in an absolute rankings #1 position should be got by my nigerian neighbours who feast every fucking day at unthinkable hours, but this is another story). The more wine is respected the less one put it on a crystal throne and i have a story to tell you about what is for me an absolute truth.

In mid 30s my grandpa served as a medical officer in the Italian army, in the province of Cuneo (the province in which 90% of Langhe territory is situated). At night, he and his comrades often went to country inn to drink a glass or to play cards, seeing old villagers drinking Barolo (yes, the king of wine/wine of the kings and other blablablas), served as ordinary country wine and keeping the bottle between their thigs to warm it. Those guys were probably the most qualified people to talk about it (coz 99% of them cultivated Nebbiolo grapes or directly made what they were drinking). But none of those, according to my grandpa, referred to Barolo as a semi-god babbling about nose, vintages and looking from above younger ‘un-wine-educated’ ones.

I really appreciated NormalPeople's way to talk about wine and i decided to assume him to talk about my land's nectars: Piedmont wines, spirits and sometimes also local beers!

So no more chatting, let's drink some

Monday, April 16, 2012

Castelmagno and Porta Pila strolling

Taking advantage of the reprieve granted by bad weather, I went strolling at Porta Palazzo market. Actually, I had even to do the grocery shopping, but walking among the nearly one thousand stalls of what still remains the largest open-air market in Europe has always relaxed me in times when stress becomes too heavy. Dribbled a Jehovah's witness and a couple of drug dealers (who are mostly local folklore) I got under the arches of steel and glass art nouveau entrance pavilions of the covered market.
This is the first clearly perceptible feeling inside, a moment before also my eyes get used to the change in light. A Babel of scents: spicy sausages, cheeses, the smell of baked bread, just perceptible aroma of sauces in delis' stalls. And then the people: like strates in an archaeological site here you can find all past and present stories of Turin just by looking at the stall owners, side by side you may see piedmontese mountain farmers, sicilian pastry shops, the new Romanian butcher-delicatessen shops. There is no other place in Turin (nevertless Eataly, which is a real tourist trap) where food is a serious thing!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bagna Cauda...The ultimate try-out for Piedmontese cuisine!

Just last night I was thinking about how to start a blog dedicated to the hidden pleasures of Piemonte, wondering which topic was most noted as the first post. Wine? Art? Completely out of the way, man.

Accomplice to the bad weather looming since days over the skies of Turin, more reminiscent of autumn that spring, I had as a mind lighting: bagna cauda!
No word in the world is both reassuring and traditional for a Piedmont native and esoteric and worrying for a foreigner. Bagna cauda, meaning a fondue of olive oil, salted anchovies garlic to dip with cooked and raw vegetables: a dish absolutely authentic, old style, without the clever bastard desire to please everyone, it is quite the contrary!