One of the first cookbooks I bought when I moved to Italy was Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread. I have a track record of stuffing up anything with yeast, so no knead focaccia was right down my alley. Who cares if you have to wait 24 hours before you can indulge in your carb craving? You’ll never have to worry about whether you’ve kneaded enough or too much/ if it’s risen enough or if it’s “passato al lievito” (over-yeasted) as my parents in law say. Well, they also laughed at the idea of 24-hour bread making. My mother in law can knock out a perfectly risen and baked loaf of Italian bread in 30 minutes. Bakers, right?
One of my favourite spring memories as a kid was helping my grandmother shuck broad beans. We’d sit under her terraced verandah with a huge bucket of fagioli, as they’re known in Italian, and we’d pluck out the beans one by one. I remember freaking out the first time I shucked them. The outside skin is really tough and you have split it with your nail to open it. Instead a handful of bright green beans are nestled into this furry little shell, which feels like peach fuzz. It’s the strangest texture. One time, I tried to take a bite out of the broad bean skin and I promise you, it’s bitter, horrible and leaves your entire mouth tingling.
A last minute Easter lunch recipe that is quick, easy and super seasonal.
Italian roast chicken with artichokes is a little vague for this recipe. It’s actually a really rich one-pot braised dish that you start on the stove and finish in the oven while you’re taking care of all the endless little jobs that seem to pop up whenever you have the family over for lunch.
Giulio and I won’t actually be home for Easter lunch this year. We have been putting off a holiday for the better part of 3 months. Every week since February, we’ve turned to each other and said, this weekend we should go somewhere and then the weekend rolls around and we can’t be stuffed leaving our living room.
Hunting is king in country Tuscany. It’s such a cliche to imagine country folk out with their guns shooting game, but it’s a huge part of what defines them and a real source of pride. When Giulio ran for mayor a couple of months back, one of the biggest criticisms lobbed at him was that he didn’t hunt. People couldn’t believe he’d never even seen gun, let alone not been raised to shoot and kill.
Giulio and I are headed on a weekend trip to Trentino, which is a snowy escape in Northern Italy. Since I’m only in it for the food, I am looking forward to the change in culinary pace. We country Tuscan folk don’t have very exciting lives and its nice to get away from all the wild boar and ragù pastas.