I spent last Christmas in and around Lombardy. And while it’s not a region as famed for its food as other parts of Italy, it’s certainly no culinary slouch. After all, it’s the home of taleggio! But what you should truly be on the lookout for is the mushrooms, picked in the mountains and paired with a plate of creamy polenta enriched with salted butter, bay and nutmeg.
Minestrone is all about the seasons. My initial intention had been to describe this as an “Autumn Minestrone” – unbeknownst to me, and somewhat embarrassingly, I’ve already written that recipe. So, what you have before you is to be referred to as a recipe for Kale and White Bean Minestrone. It is to be made between the months of September and November.
It’s difficult to judge the general impression people will have of a recipe with the words ‘lamb neck’ in the title. Neck. It shouldn’t sound appetising. But to me, it does. Brought up on traditional Welsh cawl, lamb neck (or scrag end) evokes memories of simple, warming stew lovingly made by either one of my parents. This recipe for Braised Lamb Neck Ragu, though vastly different in flavour, retains that basic feeling. It’s a joy to consume.
There’s this little Italian coffee shop in my hometown. The coffee is superb. The food perhaps even better. But look more closely and you find a jar labelled ‘biscotti – 12p’. They’re only small. You might even want to order 4 or 5. But in biscotti lies the ability to bring forth the best from a strong black coffee. Orange and Rosemary Biscotti? Perhaps even more so.
With Britain having just experienced its hottest July day on record, it’s safe to say that now is the time for cold soups, salads and healthy portions of ice cream. But that doesn’t mean to say that comfort dishes are out the window completely. You might not fancy a heavy beef stew, but a Sausage and Butterbean Pasta Bake might just hit the spot.