Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata made in the USA – Colonnata Lard Focaccia

Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata made in the USA

Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata made in the USA – Colonnata Lard Focaccia

My American son-in-law is an expert, avid, and good baker of bread, pizza, and focaccia. So there is a family feast whenever he prepares one of them!

Lardo di Colonnata by Salumeria Italiana, Boston

I gave him a piece of Lardo di Colonnata I bought online from Salumeria Italiana as a present. I wanted to allow him to experiment with this unique recipe for gourmet focaccia, not well known in the USA, delicious homemade focaccia, flavored with fresh rosemary needles and covered with thin slices of lardo di Colonnata IGP.

Focaccia with Lardo di Colonnata is simple focaccia but made delicious thanks to the use of a single main ingredient, Lardo di Colonnata which, is cut into thin slices and added to the hot focaccia, literally melts in the mouth, giving emotions to the palate.

After making the focaccia al lardo di Colonnata for the first time, my son-in-law pointed out that he would have preferred to have a slicing machine available instead of slicing the lardo with a knife. He is correct. The lardo will melt better on the focaccia if sliced very thin. He is becoming an Italian Cuoco!

Lardo di Colonnata

Pieces of lardo di Colonnata to slice B. Gramulin CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most prized parts of the pig is pork fatback cut into rectangular slabs, rubbed with sea salt, and layered with black pepper, garlic, herbs, and spices. Aged from 6 months to a year in marble troughs rendering it a sweet, buttery, silky treasure. Typically served in paper-thin slices on hot grilled bread.

Cellar for Lardo di Colonnata – Frigorbox CC BY-SA 2.0

Lardo di Colonnata is produced in marble basins in which are placed, in alternate layers, the strips of pork lard and the salt with the aromas: pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, sage, and rosemary. The basins rubbed with garlic have certain temperatures and humidity, so the finished product has unique characteristics. The entire bay is covered, checked periodically, and then reopened about 6-10 months later when the seasoning is complete.

Lardo di Colonnata has a moist appearance, is white and slightly pinkish, and has a smooth and homogeneous consistency. It has a delicate and fresh flavor, almost sweet, finely savory if it comes from the buttocks area, enriched by the aromatic herbs and spices used in its processing and its fragrant aroma.

Its ideal use is natural, cut in thin slices. In the past, it was considered as a simple condiment or the “poor man’s” companion for quarry workers, given its high nutritional value. However, it can be tasted like a dish by itself or in other combinations, for example, with shellfishes.

This most famous lardo is from the Tuscan hamlet of Colonnata, where lardo has been made since Roman times. Colonnata is a frazione of the larger city of Carrara, which is famous for its marble; Colonnata is itself a site where Carrara marble is quarried and, traditionally, lardo is cured for months in basins made of this marble. Lardo di Colonnata is now included in the Ark of Taste catalog of heritage foods and enjoying IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) status since 2004. It is composed of over 90% lipids.

Lardo di Colonnata – OneArmedMan Pubblico dominio

INGREDIENTS FOR 6-8 PEOPLE

  • For the dough:
  • 300 g 00 flour, 300 g durum wheat semolina
  • 1 cube of brewer’s yeast
  • 3 dl of water
  • 60 g of oil
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 10 g salt.
  • For the dressing:
  • 10 slices of Colonnata lard
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder.
How focaccia is served

How to make Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata

Chop the rosemary as finely as possible.
Mix the two flours in a bowl.
Pour them on the pastry board and form the classic fountain.
Make a small hole outside the fountain and put the salt in it (the so-called “salt house”) to not contact the yeast.
Pour the yeast diluted with a little warm water and the rosemary into the center of the fountain.
Pour the water little by little in small quantities, mixing everything with your hands until you obtain a soft and elastic dough.
Work it for about 10-15 minutes, beating it several times on the work surface.
Place the dough in a floured napkin and let it rest in a warm place, away from drafts, until it has doubled its volume.

It is possible to speed up the leavening time by placing the dough inside an oven heated at 100°C (212°F) but turned off or covering the dough with a woolen cloth.
When the dough is ready, roll it out to a maximum thickness of 1 cm on a baking sheet lightly greased with oil or on a sheet of baking paper greased with oil.
Crush the dough with your fingertips and drizzle with a bit of oil.
Leave the focaccia to rest for another 30 minutes.
Then bake at 200-220°C for about 30 minutes.
Remove the focaccia from the oven when it is perfectly golden.
If necessary, extend the cooking time.
When cooked, cover the hot focaccia with slices of Colonnata lard and, if desired, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and chili powder.

Carmen and Aida supervise the making of the focaccia

Focaccia al Lardo di Colonnata – Colonnata Lard Focaccia is a recipe from Tuscany made in the USA

Pici

Pesto Pici by Liliana and Mia

Pici

Pesto is not a traditional condiment used for Pici in the home provinces of Siena and Montalcino. Still, Siena is only a two-hour drive from La Spezia, and Pici is a convenient and simple recipe for homemade pasta to be dressed with a good pesto.
Hundreds of years of history have passed. The two hundred kilometers between the two cities have consolidated historical differences. But, especially if you live in places as far away as the USA, forget about the remnants of history, and prepare a recipe that, replacing the traditional Genovese trofie with the Tuscan Pici, is simple to make, as demonstrated by my two 15-year-old granddaughters, Liliana and Mia.

Pici (Italian: [ˈpiːtʃi]; locally [ˈpiːʃi]) is thick, hand-rolled pasta, like fat spaghetti. It originates in Siena in Tuscany; in the Montalcino area, they are also referred to as pinci (Italian: [ˈpintʃi]).

How to make Pici

The dough is typically made from flour and water only. The addition of eggs is optional, being determined by family traditions. Alternatively, you can use finely chopped or shredded spinach in place of water.

Liliana and Mia are making Pici in the USA.

The dough is rolled out in a thick flat sheet, then cut into strips.

In some families, the strip of dough is rolled between one palm and the table, while the other hand is wrapped with the rest of the strip.

It can also be formed by rolling the strip between the palms.

Either method forms a thick pasta, slightly thinner than an ordinary pencil.

Unlike spaghetti or macaroni, this pasta is not uniform in size and has thickness variations along its length.

Cook the Pici in boiling water

Drain the Pici from the pan.

Making Pici is more fun if done in a family or friends group

How to eat the Pici

It is eaten with a variety of foods, mainly:

Food categoryItalianEnglish
saucesbriciolebreadcrumbs
aglionespicy garlic tomato sauce
boscaiolaporcini mushrooms
cacio e Pepecheese and black pepper
ragùa meat-based sauce
game meatcinghialewild boar
leprehare
anatraduck

Pici with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes in the USA

Pici with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes in the USA – Enrico

A good way of enjoying Pici is to accompany them with mozzarella morsels and cherry tomatoes.

How to make Pici with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes

Make the Pici, and cook them.

When you drain them, please put them in a bowl with the cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella morsels, and serve.

Pici is a regional recipe from Tuscany.

Scagliozzi

Scagliozzi – Fuente CC BY 2.0

Scagliozzi

Descrizione

Gli scagliozzi (chiamati anche scagliuzz , sgagliozzi o sgagliozze) sono un prodotto da friggitoria, presente nella cucina foggiana, barese, napoletana, messinese e toscana.

Ingredienti

Ricetta base della polenta Ingredienti per 4-6 persone –

  • 6 tazze di acqua o brodo
  • 2 cucchiaini di sale
  • 1 cucchiaio di olio d’oliva
  • 2 tazze di farina di mais

Come preparare gli Scagliozzi

Portare l’acqua ad ebollizione. Aggiungere il sale e aggiungere la polenta poco a poco, mescolando bene per evitare i grumi. La proporzione acqua/polenta è diversa per tutti, io uso più o meno 4 a 1. Ma non è troppo importante, devi solo continuare a mescolare fino ad ottenere un impasto consistente. Ci vorranno dai 10 ai 30 minuti, a seconda dell’acqua e del tipo di polenta che avete a disposizione. Si può usare il brodo invece della sola acqua, o aggiungere qualcos’altro per insaporire. Ho usato il sofrito all’aglio in questa ricetta, anche se molte persone aggiungono il formaggio. Non consiglio la polenta da sola, è troppo insipida.

Polenta fritta Una volta che la polenta di base è fatta, versatela in una grande padella o in diverse piccole padelle. Raccomando che non sia più di un dito di spessore. Il giorno dopo si sarà solidificato in una specie di gelatina dura. Potete tagliarlo a bastoncini, triangoli o qualsiasi forma vi piaccia. Ne lascio una parte in frigo e congelo il resto. Quando state per cucinarla, mettete una padella a scaldare con un po’ d’olio d’oliva e friggete i pezzi di polenta fino a quando non saranno croccanti su tutti i lati. Fate attenzione quando li girate perché quando friggono si ammorbidiscono un po’. Puoi rimuovere l’olio in eccesso con un tovagliolo di carta.

Sono fette di polenta, la quale generalmente viene lasciata a seccare qualche giorno dopo la preparazione per perdere un po’ del suo contenuto d’acqua e poter essere fritta senza sciogliersi nell’olio bollente, tagliate a forma di piccoli triangoli, fritte in abbondante olio bollente e salate. Fanno eccezione le sgagliozze baresi, quasi sempre di forma rettangolare o quadrata.

A Napoli si vendono nelle friggitorie tipiche della città insieme ad altri prodotti caratteristici, quali le pastacresciute, gli sciurilli (frittelle di fiori di zucca), le fette di melanzane fritte in pastella, piccoli arancini rotondi (palle di riso) e crocchè di patate.

A Foggia, la città degli scagliozzi, si vendono tipicamente in friggitoria e costituiscono uno degli alimenti base della dieta tradizionale.

A Bari, la sgagliozza nacque nel Medioevo grazie ai commerci con la Repubblica di Venezia, ed è tradizione trovare questa preparazione in bancarelle allestite nel centro storico, in particolare durante i giorni di festa, (Natale o le due festività dedicate a San Nicola di Bari) assieme ad altri prodotti tipici, quali panzerotto e popizze.

A Messina sono venduti esclusivamente da rivendite ambulanti e costituiscono un tipico cibo da strada locale.

La pietanza si può consumare da sola o accompagnata da pezzi di formaggio fuso, olive o varie salse.

Etimologia

A Bari il termine usato è esclusivamente declinato al femminile come sgagliozze, mentre in tutte le altre città menzionate si usa anche o esclusivamente il maschile. Il termine sgagliozzi rimanda all’etimologia di scaglia, pezzo grossolanamente tagliato; tuttavia, è bene ricordare che nel Sud Italia la parola scagliozza indica anche la moneta, quindi si può mettere anche in relazione con il colore dorato della pietanza.

Scagliozzi sono un prodotto da friggitoria, presente nella cucina foggiana, barese, napoletana, messinese e toscana: Puglia, Campania, SIcilia e Toscana.

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.