I haven’t been very active on my blog lately and apologize for that. Many things have kept me occupied, however, I could not let the Holidays go by without thanking all of you for your support through my first year of blogging.
I shall also thank two very special bloggers, Meg at Meg Travels and Letizia at Dutch goes Italian for awarding me with the Blog of the Year 2012 Award. I am humbled and honored to be in such a great company . . . GRAZIE, GRAZIE, GRAZIE!!!
To celebrate my 1 year Anniversary, my Award, and the Holiday Season I want to share a recipe that I think you will love: Brasato al Barolo. A dish typical of the Piemonte region and perfect for a special occasion such as Christmas.
The beef is marinated in Italian Barolo wine for almost 24 hours then slow cooked in the same marinade for 3 more hours, the result is a rich dish full of flavor, elegant and earthy, comforting and intense all at the same time.
Barolo is a full-bodied Italian wine from the Nebbiolo grapes. It is quite expensive (especially in the US) so I often substitute Barolo with Nebbiolo, You will still have to pay around $20 for a bottle of Nebbiolo, however, for a special occasion, it is wort the expense.
You can read about my visit to the Marchesi di Barolo ‘s winery in the town of Barolo clicking on this link: A day in Barolo
I prepared Brasato al Barolo last week for a Holiday dinner with some dear friends, but the first time I cooked Brasato al Barolo was in 1982 when I invited my boyfriend to meet my parents. Although it was not my intention to – as they say in Italy – “prendere l’uomo per la gola” (literally: take a man through his throat; meaning: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach), that man is today my husband of 26 years . . . I think he was impressed!
The Brasato al Barolo is typically served with a side of polenta, mashed potatoes or stewed pearl onions. For my Holiday dinner I served my Brasato with my mom’s version of mashed potatoes (simply boiled and mashed and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a lot of extra-virgin olive oil), sautéed broccoli rapini and cipolline all’aceto balsamico (pearl onions stewed in balsamic vinegar). My Holiday dinner turned into a two days cooking affair as I also served a primo piatto (first course) of rondelle (fresh pasta roll ups) spinach and ricotta with bechamel sauce. I also prepared pears cooked in red wine served with Sabayon sauce as dessert. And since I LOVE desserts, I made mini Panettone cakes covered in chocolate ganache and lastly chocolate-chestnut truffles!
I promised that I will share all these recipes soon.
I would like to encourage you to read my previous posts on Italian Christmas’s culture and traditions. You can learn about the fascinating Neapolitan Presepe (Crèche), the truth about the Feast of Seven Fish, and New Year’s Eve Italian traditions. You can also add some traditional Neapolitan desserts to your table with my recipe for struffoli and mostaccioli.
Lastly, I would like to nominate three bloggers that I have being enjoying following, for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award:
Congratulations and thank you for such enjoyable blogs!
Please read the rules of the award at the bottom of this post.
Happy Holidays to all and don’t forget to keep the little angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School in your hearts throughout this Holiday Season.
Brasato al Barolo
Cosa serve (What you need)
2 pounds beef (shoulder, chuck or boneless short ribs)
1 bottle of Barolo or Nebbiolo
1 onion quartered
1 large carrot chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 small cinnamon stick
4-5 juniper berries
1 sprig rosemary, 1 small bunch of sage, 1 small bunch thyme – tied together
1/2 cup cognac – optional
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz. prosciutto fat – minced
Cosa fare (What to do)
Pat dry the meat and place it in an earthenware pot. Add the chopped vegetable, the herbs, and all the spices.
Sprinkle with salt and then pour the wine.
Cover with the pot and let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours (24 hours would be ideal). Turn the meat over few times during the marinade period.
When ready to cook, remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Also remove the vegetables and herbs. Strain the marinade and discard any remaining solids, including the spices (I did not remove the spices which resulted in a too intense flavor).
In the same pot, heat the oil and butter. Add the vegetables and let them browned. Also add the bunch of herbs.
Add the meat and brown on all sides. At this point if you decide to use the optional cognac, you should splash the liquor over the meat and light it and let the flames go out. I am still not comfortable with this step so I simply splashed the meat with cognac, raise the heat to high and let evaporate.
Season the meat with salt, pour the wine from the marinade over it.
Cover and cook on very low heat for 2 hours.
Spoon out the vegetables and remove the bunch of herbs. Discard the herbs and puree the vegetables in a food processor.
Add the puree to the pot and continue cooking for 30 minutes. At this point the meat should be cooked. Remove it from the pot and keep it warm.
If the sauce appears too liquid, add 1 teaspoon of potato starch, bring to boil and let thicken.
Slice the meat, pour the sauce over and serve with the side dish of your choice.
What are you serving at your Holiday dinner?
Rules for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award
- Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
- Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
- Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
- Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
- As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…