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#1016 - Al’s Excellent Roman Adventure
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Just before Thanksgiving, Al and his girlfriend Vickie had a chance to go to Rome...for both, the first time. If you haven't been, Rome is a totally delightful city. Along with the art and the history comes the food and wine, which are first rate. And as Jerry already knows, it's a great place to eat.
Artichoke is real big in Rome: stewed usually, but often cut up and used as a featured ingredient. At Zeppelin Ristorante in Orvietto, Chef Lorenzo Polegri taught us how to make pasta, and serve it with an artichoke sauce.
His technique was to simmer cut up artichoke with onions and garlic in white wine and chicken broth. Cook it down, add a few pinches of thyme and mint, and pour over handmade pasta...the fettucine shape seems to be best.
One dish that made a huge impression was aromatic spinach, from Tempio de Bacco in Rome, done in the manner of Emilia-Romagna. Here is Al's best guess on the recipe:
A Radio Kitchen Original Recipe
1 pound fresh (not frozen) spinach
1/3 stick of butter
1 tbs food grade lavender, crushed
1 tbs dried rosemary leaves, crushed
grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste
1. Cut up the spinach with a knife, including the stems, making the average size about 3/4 " square.
2. Prepare a large pot of boiling, salted water, and a large pot of ice cold water. Place the cut up spinach in a large sieve, and immerse it in the boiling water. With a wooden spoon, push all the spinach down into the water. Blanch for no more than thirty seconds. Lift the sieve out of the hot water, and plunge it into the cold water.
3. When the spinach has cooled down, lift the sieve again, and allow the spinach to drain. Shake the sieve vigorously to dislodge the excess water. Try not to compact the spinach.
4. In a small sauce pan, melt about 14 sticks of butter over very low heat. Sprinkle about two thirds of the crushed herbs into the butter, and allow it to infuse the butter.
5. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, and toss the drained spinach in. Sautee the spinach over low heat, stirring frequently, burning off any excess liquid. Before the spinach starts to wilt, pour the melted herbed butter over it, and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese, the remaining herbs and salt over the re-heated spinach and mix thoroughly.
6. Serve immediately, it makes four servings.