So we are deep in winter. It is cold, the coats, beanies and scarves are out. The mornings are icy, the days shorter and need for us to fuel our bellies with some winter warmers!
Over the colder months, Pappardelle will feature a number of winter warmers on our special board.
We have a following throughout Australia and sometimes it is hard for you to visit us. So, we would like to share a few tips with you all on what we will be serving up @ the ristorante as well as a couple of tips to get the best out of your winter warmers at home!
We want you to feel confident in the kitchen so below you will find a couple tips on each of our favourites in winter!
Osso Buco is a classic Italian dish. It is a cut veal shank and normally served on a bed of risotto milanese - saffron flavoured rice. A lot of these slow cooked dishes are braised. For those who are not familiar with braising - all it is a method of cooking where first the food is normally sealed in a pan, then transferred into a pot, tray or what ever and cooked slow, in an oven with some moisture. When buying osso buco at your local butcher, make sure it in no thicker than 4-5cm. You don't want them too thick as they take too long to cook, and too thin will make the meat dissolve. Be strict with the measurements for perfection on the plate!
Seal the Osso Buco and then with the usual veggies cut and some stock or water, cook it in the oven for several hours on a low heat. The flavour of the meat will infuse the liquid which can be used for gravy or reduced to a Jus.
Lamb shanks, another great winter warmer and a perfect Sunday supper dish! When cooked right, the meat is so tender it falls off the bone and the big secret here is to buy small shanks. You may pay a little more for a smaller cut but it is well worth it with the finished product! The ideal cooking time is 1.5 hours and we like to braise the shanks for maximum flavour. The shanks can be accompanied by a variety of sides such as polenta, a sweet potato mash or even the vegetables that have been baked in the tray with the shanks! The juices are the best and can be used to make a red wine jus. The best flavours are stuck at the bottom of the tray so scrape them off and cook the liquid down for an amazing flavour to use with the shanks!
Pork Belly is another classic and the longer you cook it, through low temperatures, the gentle more gentle the meat. We like to cook it for up to 6 hours on a low heat but you can cook it well within 3 hours too. It all depends on your time! Crackling is king when your talking pork so the key here is to score the rind (skin) about 1 cm deep and massage your herbs and salts into. The more salt the better the crackle! We like to use a course Sicilian sea salt. Pork belly can be accompanied by any of the sides mentioned above.
Bistecca Fiorentina , what a cut of beef! This is the mother of all cuts of meat. Hard to find in Australia so save this dish for your next trip to Florence. A Beef Tomahawk, amongst some, would be the Aussie version of the Fiorentina. So next time your at a selective butcher, grab yourself one and turn your next BBQ into one your guests will never forget!
Pasta Sauces, a staple in any Italian home. Get yourself some nice mince to make a Bolognese that you can freeze and use when ever. Or do the same with a Ragu. We love the pork shoulder slow cooked with a bit of fat - the fat is necessary as it before too dry without it. You can be adventurous with your ragu so don't restrict yourself to just pork and veal, you can do it with lamb and even rabbit too!
So there you have it, a few of our favourite dishes to cook throughout winter. You can visit Pappardelle Ristorante for one of our versions of classic winter warmers or feel free to send us an email and we would love to assist you in your kitchen though our “Ask a Chef” feature online @ http://pappardellepantry.com.au/pages/ask-our-chef
Ps. It is truffle season - look out for our little article on TRUFFLES!