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This year, Independence Day was not our usual American-style festive occasion. After a masked morning walk in the very quiet neighborhood (hopefully looking for local corn in the Greenmarket; but no, none yet), Tom and I came home, turned on the air conditioners, and resumed our now-inevitable cloistered activities – which, of course, always include cooking.

Toward evening, I took out two nice big veal scallops for our dinner.
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I’d chosen a new-to-me Spanish recipe to try with them. Tom declared that would make a fine patriotic dish for the holiday, to commemorate how the Spanish Armada helped George Washington defeat Cornwallis at Yorktown, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.

So we made Tenera alla Extremeña, or Veal with Chorizo and Green Peppers, from Penelope Casas’s The Foods and Wines of Spain. Preparing the ingredients provided plenty of knife work for my creative historian, starting with cutting both veal scallops in half for ease of handling. While he continued chopping vegetables, I salted and browned the veal pieces quickly in olive oil, in two batches.
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The pieces of veal came out to a plate, and in the same pan I sautéed finely chopped green pepper, red onion, and garlic, for five minutes.
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Next went in thinly sliced dry-cured chorizo, for two minutes.
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Then, very small amounts of a good manzanilla sherry, chicken broth and tomato sauce, along with dried thyme, bay leaf, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
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Back went the veal scallops into the pan, where they cooked slowly, covered, for 15 minutes. being turned and basted in the sauce twice.
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This was a very good dish – an unmistakably Spanish one, thanks to the chorizo spices and the sherry. Though the green pepper had almost disappeared, it had flavored the sauce very pleasantly, as had the onion and garlic, more lightly.
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A slight disappointment was that the veal wasn’t as fully tender as we’d have liked. That’s can be a problem about veal: If you don’t get it into and out of a pan very quickly, the muscle clenches, and it then needs long cooking to make it relax again.

In any event, we had a very nice dinner. It started with sardine fillets on baguette toasts, with extra-virgin olive oil. This was our last can of the excellent sardines we’d brought back from last year’s trip to Portugal.
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Dinner ended, finally, on a July Fourth-ish note, with strawberry shortcake. My historian informed me that this dessert had become a festive tradition because George Washington served it to the Spanish admirals Pulaski and Kosciuszko at the Yorktown victory dinner.

 

I knew it was summer when zucchini appeared in my greenmarket. The first ones I saw, in the first stand I came to, I instantly bought two. Normally I check all the market’s produce before buying anything, but with the first of this season, I couldn’t resist. Outsmarted myself, I did. Because as I moved on through the market, I saw not only more of the common zucchini but also one stand with the vastly superior Costata Romanesco variety. Oh, what to do?! I bought two of them too, of course.

After eating the delicious, small, heirloom zucchini that very evening, I had to think of what to make with their bulbous lesser cousins.

 

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There was no point letting them sit around in the refrigerator, because I could pick up fresh ones any day now. In the past, my usual solution to drive-by zucchini drops from friends’ over-ebullient vegetable patches has been zucchini bread – the sweet, quick-bread type, raised by baking powder and usually including walnuts. I have several good recipes for it, but I thought I’d look for one that would be a little different.

In the Breads volume of the Time-Life Good Cook series I found a very different one: not a quick bread at all but a yeast bread, totally unsweetened and, except for the zucchini, made with nothing but flour, yeast, water, and salt. This was intriguing. What would it be like – a French baguette dotted with the vegetable? I’d give it a try.

I grated both zucchini coarsely on my Kitchen-Aid mixer, stirred two tablespoons of salt into the shreds, and left them in a bowl for half an hour to give up their excess water.

 

They did that, copiously. When I squeezed them fairly dry, they came to two cups’ worth, which would have been exactly what the recipe wanted for a very large cylindrical loaf. In a spirit of caution, I decided to make half a recipe’s worth for this experiment.
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So, into a cup of the grated zucchini I stirred 2½ cups of flour mixed with ¾ teaspoon of instant yeast. It was a dry crumbly mass, not coming together at all. For that I had to knead in “enough tepid water to make a smooth but fairly firm dough.” Half the recipe’s suggested amount of water was ¾ cup, which at first didn’t seem nearly enough, so I gave it more. But as the kneading progressed, the dough softened and got all sticky. I had to add quite a bit more flour to achieve the right texture. I should have trusted my source.

Eventually I had a properly firm dough, which I shaped into a round and set to rise – skeptically wondering if it would ever do so, with all that vegetable material holding it down. But it doubled in bulk very promptly, raising my hopes.
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And when I shaped it into a loaf and left it for a second rise, it behaved very well again.
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Just before baking, for 45 minutes at 425°, I had to brush the bread with olive oil “to prevent the pieces of pieces of zucchini on the surface from burning.” Not that there were very many of them, and they seemed to have shrunk quite a bit in the kneading. The loaf didn’t rise much more in the baking, but it came out with a rich brown crust and a pleasantly loose, airy crumb.
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It was excellent: more subtly flavorful than I’d have thought possible in a dough with no butter or oil, no egg, no milk. How the zucchini accomplished that I can only wonder, because there was only the faintest ghost of its own flavor in the bread – if you thought very hard about it.

We ate that loaf as a dinner bread, as breakfast toast, and for lunch sandwiches. It was delicious in all those roles. I wish I’d used all the grated zucchini to make a whole recipe’s worth, in two loaves like this, one for the freezer. Well, next time for sure!

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P.S.  What I did with the rest of the grated zucchini was make a traditional sweet quick bread, using a recipe given to me long ago by my friend Jennifer. As always, it was very good of its kind too: delicious toasted for breakfast, and a very nice afternoon snack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs are wonderfully versatile foods. I’m always amazed to learn of someone who actually doesn’t like eggs. I feel sorry for people who can’t eat them often, or at all, because of the cholesterol in yolks. There are so many good ways to prepare eggs, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! And I’ve just come upon a new egg recipe that can serve for any of those meals.

It’s Parsi Scrambled Eggs, from Madhur Jaffrey’s fine cookbook Vegetarian India. The Parsis, a relatively small ethnic group in modern India, are Zoroastrians – a very ancient sect. According to Jaffrey, eggs are a prominent feature in the carefully preserved Parsi culture and cuisine. This scrambled egg specialty is called akoori.

The dish cooks very quickly, so all the ingredients need to be set out in readiness.

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First, you saute finely chopped onions in butter for one minute.
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Stir in cumin, turmeric, chopped hot green chile, grated fresh ginger, and chopped cilantro. (I had no fresh cilantro on hand, but from my last batch I’d made some plain cilantro pesto and frozen it in an ice cube tray. One defrosted cube worked perfectly well.)
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After two minutes you add cut-up cherry tomatoes and cook for one more minute. I used a multicolored selection of flavorful grape tomatoes from Mexico.
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Then add the eggs, beaten to a froth with a little milk, salt, and pepper. Stir very gently, inward from the edges, so that they form large, soft curds.
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The eggs need to be eaten immediately, while they’re still warm and moist. Jaffrey says to serve them with bread, toast, or Indian flatbreads. For this evening meal, I used parathas, which I buy frozen from Kalustyan’s international market and Tom toasts for me in a skillet.
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This was a charming little dish. Delicately seasoned and, despite the green chile, not extremely spicy. The blend of ingredients was very pleasant: gently warming, comforting, and quite pretty. Because my eggs were jumbos, I think they might even have liked a little more of all the flavorings. I’ll try that next time.

Early June brings two important dates for Tom and me, snugged around each side of D-Day. The 5th is my birthday, and the 7th is our wedding anniversary. Last year we celebrated them with a splendid week in Venice; this year, of course, we were confined to home. Accordingly, we indulged ourselves with two elegant dinners for those days.

 

The Birthday Dinner

The main dish at this meal was based on a long-time favorite recipe for casserole-roasted pheasant – Fagiano ai sapori veneziani – from our book The Seasons of the Italian Kitchen. It has done great things for guinea hen, as well as for pheasant, so I thought I’d see what it would do for a chicken. The “Venetian flavors” here are celery, carrot, onion, pancetta, prosciutto, sage, rosemary, and white wine. The savory combination contributed an intriguing hint of wildness to half an excellent free-range chicken.
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Our first course was two little parmesan cheese custards, sformati di parmigiano. It’s a clipped recipe I’ve had for years and keep forgetting about, then happily rediscovering. It’s rich, easy, and good. Essentially just eggs, grated cheese, and heavy cream, baked briefly in a bain marie, unmolded and served with optional tomato sauce on the side. Makes a lovely light appetizer for company, if one could only have company again!
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The Anniversary Dinner

All through May, the season for fresh morel mushrooms, we searched markets for them, with no success. At last we acquired a single batch of big, beautiful ones.
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After cooking them all and eating half immediately, we froze the rest to save for this celebratory first course: feuilletés aux morilles à la crème. The puff pastry dough was not homemade, but I did cut and shape it into bouchée cases, which became crisp, buttery, flaky containers for the morels.
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Our main course – extravagant, elegant, and utterly simple – was one big, rare, rib of beef, cooked in an open pan on top of the stove in a way that makes it taste like a classic standing rib roast. I’ve written here about this recipe from Roger Vergé’s Cuisine of the South of France. We chose it for this evening specifically to partner with a very special bottle of red wine, which it did to perfection. (See below.) This is a fabulous preparation for the very best beef.
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The Dessert

I saw a luscious-looking raspberry ricotta cake on someone else’s blog and fell in love with it. Google found the recipe for me on the Bon Appétit website, and I made the cake to serve for both our festive dinners. The 1½ cups of fresh ricotta that went into the rich, sweet batter produced a cake as light and cushiony as a cloud. In the mix I substituted fresh raspberries for frozen, which wasn’t entirely wise: fewer fresh berries fill a measuring cup than frozen ones. Fortunately, I had extra berries to serve alongside, with big dollops of whipped crème fraiche. Heavenly! The cake held up perfectly for the second dinner, as well.
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And to Drink . . .

Both days, we started with glasses of Champagne, of course. For my birthday, even though the food was Italianate, it went beautifully with a French wine: a 1990 Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin. The anniversary meal, as I mentioned above, was chosen deliberately to match a wine: one long-cherished bottle of the extraordinary 2006 Ridge California Montebello, which we’d been waiting for just the right special occasion to drink. And, for digestifs both days, snifters of a fine Spanish brandy called 1866.
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Tom has written about the wines in his own blog, for those who’d like to know more about them.

 

The quotation marks in my title above are an acknowledgement that only the tiniest fraction of the ancestry of the duck legs I used for this recipe was wild. They were from moulards, a hybrid of Muscovy and Pekin ducks. Muscovies are native to South America, and some have become feral in the US, but I think their hybrid offspring are all born in barnyards.

I wish we could have gotten hold of a truly wild duck for the dish, but that’s never easy. Moulards are very tasty ducks, though, and rich enough in flavor to suggest game birds. Big ones, too: Each of these legs weighed three-quarters of a pound.
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This Cajun recipe, which I noticed for the first time in my copy of The New Orleans Cookbook, by Rima and Richard Collin, is very time-consuming, but that’s not a problem in these days of sheltering at home. For much of that time, the dish just cooks along all by itself. I’ll also mention that, despite the recipe’s racy name and New Orleans’ bibulous reputation, essentially none of the alcohol persists into the finished dish.
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In the late morning of duck dinner day, I made up a marinade for the legs, using red wine, brandy, onions, parsley, thyme, marjoram, allspice, and bay leaf.
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I trimmed the legs of as much excess fat as possible, then salted and peppered them and plopped them into the marinade for five hours in the refrigerator. They needed to be turned over in the shallow liquid once every hour.
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Then the legs were to be browned thoroughly in butter and olive oil. They took the opportunity of this step to release a huge amount of fat from under their skin and did their best to spatter it all over my apron and the stove.
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Since wild ducks wouldn’t have had all that fat, I drew off most of it before continuing the cooking. The next step was to add minced garlic, thinly sliced mushrooms, some of the strained marinade, and a little beef broth from a bouillon cube.
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Finally, it was just to cover the pot and simmer gently until the duck was tender. The recipe suggested that would take 1¼ to 1½ hours. Mine took all of 2 hours, and I had to add some hot water to keep the sauce from reducing down to nothing but fat. Good thing I’d started very early in the day!

To serve alongside the duck I had a big bunch of the year’s first local asparagus, which I roasted in the oven, and some end-of-season local fingerling potatoes, which I just boiled.
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This was a very rich and unctuous dinner plate. The duck was intensely flavorful (though I must admit, still not quite as tender as we’d have preferred), the mushrooms almost meaty, the potatoes happy to soak up the sauce, and the excellent, really fresh asparagus hearty and glistening from having been tossed with olive oil for the roasting. It all needed an assertive red wine to cut through the fats, and Tom gave it one: a nice, earthy, five-year-old Pommard.

Sometimes I think cooking is more alchemy than science. One day you take ordinary ingredients, treat them in ordinary ways, and produce a delicious dish that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Another day, it’s just the opposite: equally good ingredients and equally normal treatments turn out what can only be called a bummer. Those must be days when you’ve neglected to activate the philosopher’s stone.

My latest case of the bad magic arose with a little cache of oxtails – four nice pieces that would be just enough for a small main course for two.

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I know several very good ways of preparing oxtails. I’ve written here about an Italian recipe, a Spanish one, and a British one. Now, when I found a French oxtail recipe in the Variety Meats volume of the Time-Life Good Cook series – which, moreover, is credited to Elizabeth David’s classic book French Provincial Cooking – I was eager to try it. It was oxtails cooked with black olives: a new combination to me.

The recipe calls for six pounds of oxtails, so I was scaling it way down. I did take the liberty of ignoring David’s first step, which is soaking the meat in cold water for two hours. The English author might have found that necessary with 1960s British butchery, but I’ve never done it or even seen it in any other oxtail recipe. Certainly, the tails we get here now are very fresh and clean. Other than that, everything about the recipe seemed geared to produce a rich, tasty braise.

I briefly browned my oxtail pieces in olive oil while I made up a little bouquet garni of parsley, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and orange peel. Then I sprinkled two tablespoons of brandy into the pot, flamed it, tucked the bouquet garni in among the pieces of meat, poured in a quarter cup of white wine and “let it bubble fiercely for a minute or two,” as the recipe advises.
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Next, I added broth and water to reach just to the top of the oxtail pieces, covered the pot, and baked it in a very low oven (290°) for three hours. Twice I looked in to turn the pieces over. At the end, despite the heavy pot lid, the liquid had reduced somewhat. Perhaps the meat had absorbed some as it rendered its fat, of which there was a good layer floating on the surface.

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David offers the option, at this point, of chilling both meat and liquid separately overnight, to solidify the fat and lift it off easily. I chose not to do that, since I wanted the dish for dinner that night. Besides, there was more cooking to be done, so I could draw off the fat later. I stirred in half a cup of pitted ripe olives and simmered the pot on a stove burner for about another hour, until the meat was ready to fall off the bones.
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This dish should have been good. I don’t know why it wasn’t. The sections of those same tails that I’d used for a previous dish were rich with natural flavor. These barely tasted of meat at all. The wine, the brandy, and the spices had clearly done nothing for them, and neither meat nor seasonings did much for the sauce. The only prominent flavor was the olives, and they were unpleasantly strong and acidic. Such a pity – and the dish had looked so handsome!

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Even more’s the pity, Tom had chosen an excellent Rhône wine to accompany our meal that evening: a 2016 Cornas. The interplay of flavors should have been wonderful. Oh, well: At least we could enjoy the wine while forlornly picking at our disappointing oxtails.

The favorite everyday desserts in our house are cakes with baked-in toppings or additions of fruit. The batter is usually quick and easy to put together – not even any separating of egg yolks and whites. The gentle contrasts of moisture, texture, and flavor are comforting and pleasing without being overly rich or sweet. I’ve written about several desserts of this kind in previous posts, such as these:
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Clockwise from top left: plum cake Cockayne, from Joy of Cooking; peach cake from The Seasons of the Italian Kitchen; blueberry grunt, with a sweet biscuit dough; cherry clafoutis, with a sweet pancake dough; 1917 cake, with raisins and applesauce; polenta cake with raspberries and blueberries

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Now I have another one to add to my repertoire: Torta di Bernardone, an apple and pear cake from The Tuscan Cookbook by Wilma Pezzini. This is the third of three excellent recipes from that book that I’ve made recently. (You can find my posts on the first two here and here.)

The recipe is credited to a trattoria run by three sisters in a country town near Pezzini’s home in 1977. Today, according to Google, there’s still a restaurant and inn called Bernardone in that town. I’d love to visit it one day, when transatlantic travel is possible again!

But back to the cake. The recipe expects you to be making the batter by hand, with a wooden spoon. I chose the lazy route – my heavy-duty mixer. It quickly beat together ¾ cup of sugar and a jumbo egg, then incorporated a cup of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, a heavy ¼ cup of kirsch, and just a drop of vanilla extract.
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The batter waited while I peeled, cored, quartered, and cut into fairly thick slices an apple and a pear.
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With the batter spread into a buttered 9-inch cake pan, I arranged apple and pear slices alternately in a pinwheel pattern over the surface – entirely covering it with fruit, as the recipe instructed.
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The cake baked in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes, until the batter had risen around the fruit and the center of the cake tested done. It surprised me a bit to see that, while the apple slices stayed pale, the pear slices had browned. In retrospect, I think it was because the pear was very ripe. They made a nice color contrast, though, giving the recipe a bit more visual appeal than I had expected.
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Really, this little cake is a classic of its kind: a simple, old-fashioned, light, homey dessert. Like similar fruity cakes, it’s good warm or cold, and also lovely for breakfast for the next few days – if it lasts that long!
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According to Pezzini, the apples and pears make this the Bernardone sisters’ winter version of the cake. In summer they do it with peaches or cherries. I look forward to trying it with those fruits too, when they come into season.

I’m writing today about the second excellent recipe I made recently from Wilma Pezzini’s The Tuscan Cookbook, which is pollo in umido con cipolla. The English name given is chicken and onion stew, but it’s really what we call now a braise.

My regular readers know that I’m inordinately fond of chicken – any kind of chicken – in which I’m indulged by my long-suffering husband, who isn’t. It was the pairing with onions that particularly attracted me to this recipe. Of my 22 previous blog posts about chicken recipes, only one of them uses onions as anything more than a small amount of aromatic vegetable. (And that one didn’t come out so well.) Also, we both love onions.

The first step in Pezzini’s recipe is to simmer sliced onions in butter and oil in a saute pan.

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Next is to take out the onions and brown pieces of chicken in the onion-flavored fat. Nice idea!
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I salted and peppered my chicken legs, returned the onions to the pan along with a tiny dried hot red pepper, and poured on half a cup of white wine.
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After 10 minutes of gentle cooking with the pan uncovered, I covered it, simmered for 5 more minutes, then stirred in half a tablespoon of tomato paste dissolved in a quarter cup of hot water. I’d also been turning the chicken legs every so often, though the recipe doesn’t say to.
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The chicken was done after another 15 minutes of almost effortless cooking, by which time the sauce had smoothed out and thickened slightly.
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Then I had to uncover the pan and cook, stirring, for a few more minutes until the sauce achieved “a jam-like consistency.” Frankly, I don’t see why some of those interim steps couldn’t have been combined, but I followed the recipe’s directions for them – at least for this first time around. And they worked very well.
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What a good dish this was! The sauce tasted surprisingly complex, considering how few ingredients it contained. The meltingly soft onions played a low-key supporting role, and the chicken legs had picked up some rich overtones of flavor from their long simmering. Even Tom agreed it was good. One more feather in this poultry fancier’s cap!

In my ongoing quest to discover good new-to-me recipes among cookbooks in my current collection, I just made a three-base hit from one of my oldest volumes: The Tuscan Cookbook by Wilma Pezzini, published in 1978.

Pezzini, a Polish woman married to an Italian doctor and living in a small town in Tuscany, was neither a professional writer nor a professional cook. This, her only book, is a personal compendium of “the everyday dishes eaten in Tuscany today, with a few comments on where they come from, how they became the way they are, and anything else I thought might be of interest.”

The three recipes I’ve just made from the book span the principal parts of an Italian meal: a first-course primo, a main-course secondo, and a dessert, a dolce. I’m going to give each of them its own post, starting today with the primo, pasta with chickpeas.

To make half a recipe’s worth, I soaked four ounces of dried chickpeas overnight. The recipe calls for a 24-hour soak, with baking soda to help soften them, but I knew my chickpeas were reasonably fresh and didn’t need that much time. The next morning, I drained the chickpeas and put them in a pot with a quart of cold water, a sprig of rosemary, and a tiny clove of garlic.
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The covered pot cooked gently for two hours. Toward the end of the time, I chopped an ounce of bacon and a good chunk of a Spanish onion, and softened them in olive oil in a sauté pan.
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After dissolving half a teaspoon of tomato paste in half a cup of homemade broth (rather than the recipe’s bouillon cube) and stirring that into the onion and bacon, I set a food mill over the pan and milled in half the chickpeas.
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Next, in went the whole chickpeas, their remaining cooking water, salt, and enough more water to keep the mixture loose.
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Finally, it was time for the pasta. The recipe calls for “non-egg noodles,” which offers a lot of leeway. I decided to use four ounces of miscela – a mixture of odds and ends of left-over pastas and broken pieces. In Italy, those used to be kept on hand, often for use in soups, so nothing would be wasted. I have a big jar of it in the pantry, originally filled with a purchased bag of miscela, which I keep refreshed with broken-up bits and remnants of other pastas.
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When I added the pasta to the chickpeas, I realized it would have been wiser to start the bacon and onion in a deep saucepan. My sauté pan was so broad and shallow that I could add more water only in small amounts and had to stir almost constantly to prevent the pasta from sticking to the pan.
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Well, I’ll know better next time. It wasn’t a big problem, though – just kept me busier at the stove than I’d have needed to be. And the result was well worth the effort. At the dinner table, we completed our bowls of pasta e ceci to our individual taste with extra-virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, and grated parmigiano.
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Before this, I would have said my own version of pasta with chickpeas, from my book The Seasons of the Italian Kitchen, was the absolute best. Now that dish (which I’ve also written about here) will have to share the palm with this one: it’s different from mine, but equally delicious.

Last week I wrote about the emergency replacement of our gas-leaking 25-year-old rangetop. Immediately after that, we had to replace our also-25-year-old refrigerator, which had chosen that time to die in sympathy for its colleague. I’ll spare you the details and only say that we did achieve a functioning refrigerator just in time for Easter.

It wasn’t the Easter celebration we’d been anticipating before the coronavirus struck. Much earlier, I’d found an attractive lamb recipe called Gigot Boulangère in Mireille Johnston’s Burgundian cookbook, The Cuisine of the Rose. Looking forward to making it for dinner guests, I’d bought a lovely four-pound boned, rolled, and tied half-leg of lamb, and tucked it away in the freezer until needed. Alas, it had been sheltering in place there ever since.

With the prospect of any future dinner party getting increasingly distant, and with things from the nonworking freezer starting to thaw anyway, we realized it was time to do something with at least some of that lamb. So, two days in advance, we succeeded in chopping off a 1¾-pound piece from the small end of the roast for an Easter dinner for two.

Here’s the little thing, studded with slivers of garlic and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and dried thyme, ready to go into a 450° oven for an initial 20 minutes.
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Meanwhile, Tom sliced a big Spanish onion for me, which I sautéed in butter for five minutes.
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I spread the onions in the bottom of a baking dish and topped them with very thinly sliced German butterball potatoes. When the lamb’s 20 minutes were up, I transferred it to the baking dish, deglazed its original roasting pan with a little wine, poured the juices onto the lamb, and gave everything more salt and pepper.
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Back into the hot oven went the dish for an additional 30 minutes – just long enough for the potatoes to cook through.
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On slicing, the roast pretty much fell apart when its strings were cut, which was only to be expected from the way that end of the meat had had to be pared away from its bone. But it was beautifully rosy rare, just the way we like it.
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And those roasted potatoes and onions, further enriched by the lamb’s cooking juices, were absolutely beyond delicious.
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So, though our Easter dinner was much less elaborate and in a much lower key than it would normally have been, it was comforting and satisfying to us both.
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The satisfaction was helped along, I might add, by the additional Burgundian touch of a fine bottle of 2005 Morey St. Denis.

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To conclude this tale, I can’t resist a reflection on my new refrigerator. If I’d been able to see the model on display in a store, I’d have rejected it out of hand. It feels as if it’s made of tin, with an interior flimsily furnished in plastic. Obviously, one should never buy a major appliance sight unseen. But with all the stores closed now, we had to shop online, and this was the only model we could find that (a) had only the features that we wanted (e.g., no icemaker), (b) would fit into our kitchen’s tight cut-out, and (c) could get to us within a few days. We needed it, we took it, and we’re stuck with it. Sigh.