Somewhere along the way, I wound up with a copy of “La Cucina Italiana” magazine. Then, I actually read it – that hooked me, and now I’m a subscriber. The magazine has been in print since 1929, and I can see why. Beautiful pictures, enticing recipes and, well, Italy! Apparently I have no Italian heritage, but I sure feel Italian when I eat pasta, slather the garlic around and drink Italian wine… I think something must be missing from the family tree.
For last Sunday’s dinner I made the cover recipe, Stufato di Vitello e Verdure (Veal Soup with Vegetables). The recipe is generously shared, along with many others, on the magazine’s website. The soup was hearty, flavorful and easy to make – even easier since I left out the last few steps of separating out the meat and vegetables, removing the broth to another pot, melting butter in the original pot and stirring flour into that, then adding the broth back to thicken and, finally, adding the meat and vegetables back to the thickened broth – phew! I was too lazy (and hungry), but I don’t think I suffered for it – in fact, it was so good I made a 2.5 times batch on Monday night for a group of 9 at the parish house.
This magazine will nudge me out of my regular patterns a bit – always a good thing. I’ve never cooked with veal stew meat before and I didn’t love the process of butchering it into smaller pieces. It was a lot like working with slippery chicken, only more slippery! Or like cutting silk fabric with a butter knife! Or like… well, nevermind. The veal was very tender in the soup, and I decided that the penance of butchering in the beginning had a nice reward in the end. My husband was ogling the Vellutata di Zucca con Cozze (Butternut Squash Puree with Mussels) picture, so I’ll have to try that soon. I also enjoyed the article about Brunello di Montalcino wines – except my husband now says the few Brunello bottles we have must age more before we can drink them. Hmmm… I may have to hide future issues until I can vet them properly – chopping the veal was penance enough!