Risu chi castagni o risu chi pastigghi – rice and chesntus from Messina, Sicily

Rice is not immediately associated with Sicilian cooking, apart from the wonderful arancini, those glorious deep fried rice balls stuffed with meat ragù, peas and cheese.. I was therefore rather surprised when I stumbled across this intriguing sounding rice and chestnut dish from Messina, in Sapori di Sicilia, by Giovanni Coria, It is nothing more than boiled rice dressed with a (dry or fresh) chestnut and olive oil “sauce”, with some pecorino and boiled, chopped finocchietto (wild fennel), the signature herb of Sicilian cooking. It is an unusual and tasty dish and if you like chestnuts you might find it appealing. Continue reading

Lepre in agrodolce con cioccolato, arancia candita e pinoli – Sour-sweet hare with chocolate, orange peels pine nuts

 

A long but highly rewarding, sumptuous cold months dish (forgive the bad pictures). It takes about 8-10 hours cooking on a very low oven and there is some prep to be made the day before; once done, it must be let to cool down and then the meat is taken off the bone and the sauce reduced. The dish must rest for 24 hours and only then the most voluptuous sour- sweet condiment is added to the meat: as I said, not a last minute dish, but an intriguing one, firmly rooted in Italian “special occasion” home cooking.  Continue reading

Pan di mort (All Souls spiced chocolate biscuits from Lombardy)

Italian spiced chocolate biscuits
Italian spiced chocolate biscuits

Here’s another traditional recipe from Lombardy that honours I morti, All Souls. Pan di mort (literally “dead people’s bread”) are quintessential Lombardy biscuits that are sold in bakeries between the end of October and the first week in November. They are diamond-shaped, chocolatey, spicy biscuits, full of nuts and candied citrus peels, quite chewy but not crunchy. Continue reading