Tag Archives: italy

Pasticcio di Carne Ricoperto di Purè (or, “That’s Fancy for Italian Shepherd’s Pie”)

In my pantry today:

  • .5 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 hot Italian sausage
  • 6 sm-med red potatoes
  • 1 c asparagus, cut
  • 2-4 blanched tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • sprinkle salt

First, call the Waaahmbulance. It is such a pain in the bottomnotches to upload any photos right now. My computer needs an OS reinstall and I can’t do that until I make sure my freelance gigs are taken care of. There was a sudden death in the family and five days of IV infusions for me to control a particularly virulent MS flare… and now I am on steroids for three more weeks and OMG NOM SO HUNGRY NOM. /ninewaahwaah

To be fair — abundant silver linings do exist. In about a week I get to put on fancy clothes and go to a state museum exhibit opening because of the brochure and notecards I made. I am working with another state organization for an upcoming event. I can feel my hands again and I have not had eyeball seizures for a full 24 hours. These and other things remind me that life is good, that I am lucky… and I am hungry.

Mince one clove garlic and mix into ground beef. Remove sausage casing and chop animals while they brown comfortably on M. In another pan, put 1/2 tsp oil and 1 tbsp butter in pan to melt. Chop and add onion and 3 cloves garlic. Let cook over M heat while you dice up those frozen blanched tomatoes. Add that, liquid and all, and let it all boil down on M for 10-15m. Stir in corn starch, bring back to boil then remove from heat. Gently wring moisture from asparagus if frozen (always better of course if fresh) and chop into thirds or fourths. Pour everything into the meat and gently stir.

Meanwhile, you’ve been boiling whole taters and browning one clove of garlic on L with remaining butter. Once the potatoes are soft enough to smash, do that with a potato masher or fork. Pour the meat mix into a baking dish, then place smashed potatoes on top. Pour butter/garlic mix over potatoes, add a little more seasoning and top all that with Parmesan. Put in 350° oven for 20m. This is a gorgeous dish of which I took many photographs. It is not your time, apparently, to lay witness upon it’s glory. 5 spoons!

Whole Bird with Tubers!

In my pantry today:

  • 1 2.65 lb chicken
  • 1 extra large baking potato
  • 1 average sweet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 pearl onions, skinned
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c dill seeds
  • 1/3 c hot curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

Turns out I ate some spoiled cippoline sott’aceto in Venice about a decade ago that forever ruined pearl onions for me — just go ahead and use regular onions. I’m giving the rest of the uncooked onions to my brother upon this memories’ harkening to one of few moments that were un-outstanding during my summer in Italy. Grossballs.

"Living Room of the Renaissance"

I lived here in 2000. Jealous? (You should be.)

Fortunately, I had been too lazy to peel many and the potatoes and carrots were still just fine. Preheat the oven to 425° and set about to the washing, peeling and prepping of your root vegetables. Lay them in a gently overlapping layer inside a large casserole dish and drizzle 1/4 c olive oil atop. Layer seasonings:

  • 1/8 c dill seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Toss until everything’s evenly coated, then cover the pan and stick it in the oven for an hour.

Now it is time to handle the larger part of something’s carcass. Mix the remainder of your seasonings with the remainder of your olive oil until a nice, paste-like uniformity reveals itself. Rinse your chicken inside and out under cold water and cut off that little dangling fat turd that dangles off its butt. Cut finger-sized slits in the skin on the wings, legs, thighs and breasts and first massage in some of the seasonings and olive oil between the meat and skin, then move to all other major outer areas, and end with a cavity massage with 1/4 of the paste.

When the tubers come out, downgrade your oven temperature to 350° and slap in your foil-covered chicken pan. Now, I was under the impression that 20 minutes per lb was the general chicken-roasting rule. Maybe I should’ve checked the internet for a brain-freshening on this, because it’s taken a bit more than that. I’d budget 90 minutes before your first check, and possibly another 30 after that depending on your oven’s maw. Regardless, the deliciousness will repay your patience: 5 spoons!

Tonight’s bonus (since I just flipped through some old pictures) is this classy photo of me in my room at the Università degli Studi di Urbino. Nobody thinks to tell the fattest girl on the plane that a summer anywhere in Europe unofficially requires a physical fitness certification. I remember having waking paralysis in my bed there some nights, but above all else — the heat, the sun, forcing my legs up mountains — the determination to never be the last straggler on walks. It would be another eight years before my diagnosis and I just assumed all of my problems were due to my heft. That’s what all the doctors said, and who doesn’t believe their doctor? So, dogged in my resolve, I traveled the peninsula at about 300lbs with another 200lbs of luggage in my arms (art history courses abroad should be considered suspect to the over-burdened traveler). I like to regard the entire amazing odyssey as a small turning point in just how much shit I was willing to take from my body — nothing was going to steal even a moment of where I got to be. Not even that pubescent gypsy who stole my wallet on the subway in Milan.