Monday, January 11, 2010

A Bite of Tuscany

The weather remains amazingly cold, yesterday morning it was one degree (F) when we took Scott for his walk along the river.  Good walk, but even the wild life was hunkered down so there was little for him to chase.  His sister, Doer, stayed home to make certain the bed did not escape while we were out.

With those weather conditions dinner had to be something using the oven, the residual heat helping to warm the house.  The result became a winter inspired visit to Tuscany.

The entree' was porchetta, pictured above.  This is a pork loin rolled in chopped fresh sage, thyme, and garlic then encased in a section of pork belly.  It was browned on top of the stove then slow roasted in the oven to render a great deal of the fat.  Between the aromas of the warming herbs and the pork fat rendering the house smelled wonderful.  Once the roast rested it was carved into slices, those slices were briefly browned in a hot skillet.  There was a risotto made with an enriched chicken stock with a large handful of chopped, fresh spinach added at the end.  On the side was a chunk of ciabatta and some olio nuovo for dipping the bread.

The wine was a Fattoria di Felsina  2006 Chianti Classico.  It's a wine I love.  Bright red cherries, clean dry earth, a few fresh herbs, great acid, good tannin and all in perfect balance.  During the meal the wine opened up going from a little tight and restrained to open, warm, fragrant and inviting.  It was a little bit of summer in the dead of winter. It was summer when the above picture was taken, and the vintage in the photo is 1995.

Today we get another inch or two of snow, but warmer weather is coming later in the week.  When it gets above freezing it becomes grilling season again!

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