In May 2012, Peggy Markel, our Tuscany food tour partner, came to Ann Arbor and cooked up a wonderful Tuscan dinner, together with the chefs at Zingerman’s Roadhouse. There were 4 courses, and 4 wines.
Some menu highlights:
Antipasto: Finocchina Salume – Tuscan fennel seed salame, and, Crostino di fegato – Chicken liver pate on toasted Tuscan bread (freshly made by Zingerman’s Bakehouse). Primo Piatto: Ribollita – a bread, bean, and vegetable soup with Tuscan Kale. Secondo Piatto: Arrosto di Maiale con Sale Aromatico – Roasted pork loin with aromatic salt. Contorno: Patate arrosto con rosmarino – roasted potatoes with rosemary. Dolce: Percorino staginato con miele di castagno – aged Pecorino cheese with chestnut honey. And more!
The Ribollita was a big favorite, for sure. Here are the recipes for the Ribollita, the Tuscan Aromatic Salt, and the Roast Pork, enjoy!
La Minestra di Pane Ribollita (per sei persone)
(Tuscan bread and vegetable soup, for six people)
1 onion, 2 zucchini, 2 celery stalks, 2 carrots, 1/2 of a savoy cabbage, 20 leaves of black cabbage (also called Tuscan kale or Dinosaur kale) or swiss chard, 2 peeled tomatoes, 250 gr boiled white cannellini beans (or solfini beans if you can get them!)(keep the cooking water), 1 kg stale Tuscan style (unsalted) bread, 2 cloves of garlic (optional), extra-virgin olive oil: as required, salt and pepper, 1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional).
Chop the onion coarsely. Chop the rest of the vegetables into small pieces ie. zucchini, celery, carrots and cabbage. Place half the chopped onion and the rest of the vegetables in a large stockpot. Add the olive oil and cook until brown. Add half of the cooked beans. Then, puree the rest of the beans by passing them through a food mill and add to the soup, together with the cooking liquid. Cook for 1 hour on a medium heat. At the end of the cooking time, saute in a frying pan, the rest of the chopped onion and garlic (finely chopped) in olive oil. Add to the vegetable soup, stirring well. Toast the sliced stale bread; Rub some garlic over each slice and arrange a layer of bread in the bottom of a deep “terracotta” dish. Pour a generous ladleful of vegetable soup over the bread plus a little oil and pepper. Continue to layer the bread and soup in this way until the dish is full. Leave to rest for approx. two hours. Before serving boil the bread soup mixture, stirring well and serve with extra-virgin olive oil.
(Tuscan aromatic salt)
Equal amounts of fresh: rosemary, sage, thyme, sea salt, garlic.
Chop finely all together. It can be used immediately or dried out and preserved in a jar for several weeks. This salt mix (in addition to chopped black olives) is used for stuffing various meats: pork, turkey, chicken, rabbit, veal, etc.
Arrosto di Maiale con Sale Aromatico
(Roasted pork loin with aromatic salt)
Pork rib roast, garlic, rosemary, sage, sea salt, red onion, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, carrots, celery, white wine
Cut pork roast away from the bone. Trim the fat from the roast.
Make the “Sale Aromatico” (see previous recipe). Cut 5 slits into the roast – 1 inch and 2 inches deep, add stuff the sale aromatico into the cuts, and place a sprig of rosemary into each cut also. Tie the roast with string. Place Olive oil into roasting pan and roll roast in the oil. Also put ribs into the pan and cover with oil. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 75 minutes. In 45 minutes add 1 cup of white wine, place back in the oven. Add vegetables to the pan in the last 15 minutes. Peel carrots and cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Cut celery into 2-3 inch pieces. Quarter red onion.
Salt and pepper to taste.