VEAL SHOULDER ROAST
Quite a simple, tasty preparation. No need to huff and puff over the stove for geological eras.
Ingredients (Serves four hungry customers.)
All what you need is approximately 2.5 lb of deboned veal shoulder roast (or any other cut suitable for roasting in a pot) one medium onion, three leaves of sage (if possible fresh) , extra virgin olive oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pot), a glass of dry white wine, hot veal or chicken stock, half a spoonful of wheat flour, salt.
Heat the oil in the pot, add the roast ant let it brown on all sides; add the onion split in half and the sage. After a couple of minutes add white wine and let the alcohol evaporate (about one minute). Salt according to taste. Add the hot stock up to a third of the thickness of the meat. Cover and lower the heat to the minimum possible. Let it simmer for about an hour, checking every now and then how much stock is left. Let the stock reduce to a minimum (it looks, but is not, creamy). Lift the roast from the pot and let it cool; it will be easier to slice without crumbling. Warm the sauce left in the pot and add half a spoonful of flour. Let the sauce thicken. Add the sliced veal to the warm gravy and serve with steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Buon appetito.
Same ingredients except for the shoulder of veal. Use instead four chicken thighs (discard the drumsticks, they can be used to prepare stock or fried in batter). With a very sharp knife practice two or three incisions on the top of the thighs and place them skin-down in a very hot frying pan to which you had sprinkled beforehand a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil. Let the skins go a crackling brown color, then turn them on the other side and let them fry for five minutes. Add all other ingredients as for the veal shoulder. When cooked, leave the meat in the frying pan, add flour, let the sauce thicken and serve immediately, piping hot.
A DISH OF PASTA IN TOMATO SAUCE
The basic ingredients must be of excellent quality, otherwise the pasta would taste like something out of a tin.
The pasta (spaghetti or any other type) should be made of durum wheat extruded wtih a bronze implement which shapes its format (in italian trafilati al bronzo).
The fresh tomatoes should not be round red balls of tasteless water. Try to find the Pachino cherry tomatoes coming straight from Sicily; when you brush the leaves of the tomato plant you can smell a deep bitter scent, a sign of a decent tomato and, no ogm. If you can't find fresh tomatoes, use the tinned ones produced in Italy1.
Basil: grow some in the garden during summer; during the rest of the year use fresh or dried marjoram (it grows quite well also in cold climates).
Use extra virgin olive oil; it is good for your health (no cholesterol).'Extra virgin' does not relate to the sexual habits of the producer, but to the level of acidity of the oil (less than 1.5 percent).
Buy a 24-month-old chunk of Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. Less expensive, with a slightly milder taste, is the Grana Padano. Be sure that the cheese is produced in Italy.
Onions (cipolle): the sweet red elongated ones are called cipolle di Tropea, produced in Italy's Calabria region. Use those or any other variety of onions you like.
The sauce: wash and chop the tomatoes, add salt to taste and hand- shredded basil or majoram. Fry the onions until golden brown then add the tomatoes. Turn the heat to a minimum, cover the pot partially and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes, The sauce will have become thickish. Sieve it if you don't like tomato skins.
The pasta: salt the water with about 10 grams per litre of water. Throw in the pasta only when the water ils boiling. The cooking time is indicated on the package. I cook it one minute less, drain it and then finish cooking in the hot tomato sauce pot. Sprinkle with cheese. You're very near to Paradise.
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