Monday, January 7, 2008
How Far Would You Go For Love?
My husband and I hosted several dinners during the holiday season for friends and family; but one night in particular stands out in my mind. There were 8 of us that night; a few friends, my neighbor and her date (we'll call him Jim). We started our meal with a winter caprese salad and some nice Italian wine. Having only been on two dates with my neighbor Jim was new to our group. He seemed nice enough but I did notice that he didn't eat his mozzarella. I didn't say anything (so unlike me) but I thought to myself "who doesn't eat mozzarella?" The main coarse was Scottiglia, a Tuscan meat stew, (recipe below) with a side of butter sage gnocchi (recipe below) and Sicilian spinach. We told everyone the menu and then plated each meal. (There was ample time to protest) Without a word Jim devoured everything on his plate. Seeing this I thought to myself "So what if he doesn't eat mozzarella" The evening turned out to be a successful mixture of good friends and good food. Two days later my neighbor sent an email to tell me what a nice time her and Jim had. She also told me that she had no idea but Jim is/was a vegetarian and hadn't eaten meat in over 25 years. He didn't seem to have a problem that night. Why didn't he say something? There were plenty of opportunities. He wanted to make a good impression is what he told his date. I guess it's true when they say: "Love will make you do all kinds of crazy things" Scottiglia Adapted from Tuscany the Beautiful Cookbook Serves 6 4 lbs mixed meat (we used lamb, veal, beef, pork, and Cornish hens) 2 garlic cloves 1/4 cup Olive oil 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped 1/2 yellow onion, chopped 1/2 celery stalk, chopped 1 1/4 lbs plum tomatoes, pureed (we used Cento canned tomatoes) 1/2 cup light meat stock (we used chicken stock) 6 slices of country bread 1 Tbs chopped parsley 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil *Chop all the meats into medium sized pieces and set aside *Chop 1 garlic clove. In a heavy pot over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic, carrot, celery and onion and fry gently until translucent, about 5 minutes. *Raise the heat to moderate and add the meats. Brown well on all sides. Add tomatoes and lower the heat. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. *Pour the stock into the pot, stir to mix and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick, about 1 hour. If necessary, add a little water to keep the meats moist. *Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350. Toast the bread slices in the oven until golden. Rub one side of each slice of toast with the remaining garlic clove and place the slices on individual serving plates, garlic side up. *Divide the meats and sauce among the 6 slices of toast. Sprinkle with the parsley and basil and serve very hot.