Fake Fish and Any Excuse for Burrata

IMG_7008 IMG_7009Judy Witts Francini put up a photo on Instagram yesterday of a dish called ‘pesce finto’, meaning ‘fake fish’.  I am not sure it’s the sort of recipe that would appeal to people outside Italy.  Which is a shame because I, and Judy evidently too, think it is quite delicious, not to mention easy to prepare.  Basically it is tinned tuna and mashed potatoes … both usually a staple in any home.

I wrote a post about it a few years ago which I don’t mind reposting.  The recipe is my tweak on this recipe which also includes burrata – and so many people I know adore burrata: https://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/faking-fish-il-pesce-finto/

I hope you enjoy reading about this Italian nursery food comfort dish.  Who knows, you might even be prompted to try it out.

Denuding a Misapprehension – Egg to the Rescue when it comes to Gnudi

GNUDII think that today is the first Sunday in many many weeks that I have not had to hurry, to get on with things, or to travel.  I even managed to read a few online newspaper articles just now and it almost felt like being on holiday.  One of them, however, pricked by nose-scrunching, eyebrow raising, er dunno? what’s this all about? sentiments.  An article by Nigel Slater on how to make gnudi and why they should repose in the chill of a fridge for at least 24 hours before being cooked :(http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/feb/28/nigel-slater-gnudi-broccoli-minced-lamb-butternut-recipes).  I am not a gnudi expert (seek out Judy Witts Francini instead) but something atavistically Italian in me prompted me to question the wisdom of devising a recipe that requires refrigeration when said recipe was probably being cooked, and frequently so, even before fridges were a staple appliance in homes.  Does Nigel Slater have anything against eggs, one wonders?  Add eggs to the ricotta mix and you have no need for tampering with cold temperatures and can enjoy your gnudi in next to no time. None of this delayed gratification nonsense!

Here is a link to a gnudi recipe I wrote a few years ago and Buona Domenica to you all.


Vignarola – The Pilgrimage of Posh

The venerable vegetable stew known as Vignarola.  I have written about it before, yes I have.  I was prompted to do so again (vignarola mania?) because in today’s recipe I went to the added trouble of removing the outer sheath of the broad beans, an excercise in ‘poshifying’ the dish as it were, hence the title.
IMG_4701Simple ingredients, very grand finale.  I don’t know how many of you will go to the trouble of actually making a vignorala.  It is not at all difficult but it does take time.  I have tried to present the recipe to make it as time-friendly as possible.


Two artichokes, preferably the Roman kind that are at their prime in this season (Spring).

Fresh peas

Fresh broadbeans /fava beans

Spring onions


Pancetta or guanciale – or neither if you are a vegetarian

Olive oil (evoo), salt and pepper

Fresh mint leaves

Let’s take a look at the ingredients.  I have placed them on the same plate so that you can get an idea of the proportions   Roughly speaking, one needs the same amount of all the vegetables

1What you see on this plate are two trimmed and sliced artichokes.
2 These are fresh peas.3 Here are the fresh broadbeans / fava beans.4 Here are the spring onions and the lettuce.5 On the far north of this photo is the guanciale, the pork jowl. In the middle of the photo is a ceramic decorative object known as a ‘pumo’.  It comes from Puglia and it is symbolic of good luck and the augury of all good things to come.  I stuck it in the middle of the plates because I associate the colour green with Spring and with the making of the green vignarola vegetables: artichokes, peas and broadbeans.7It is traditional to also add mint to the vignarola stew … here is some ordinary mint from a plant on my balcony.
8 This instead (again on my balcony) is the mint called ‘mentuccia romana’ … and pennyroyal in English.  Even my herbs have to be ‘royal’, you see, ha ha ha!  Mentuccia romana is the mint that is used to stuff braised artichokes in the recipe called ‘carciofi alla romana’.  I decided to use both kinds. And now on with the :



Here is the guanciale thickly sliced into a matchstick shape.
10 The roughly chopped spring onions …11 Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the broadbeans …
13Simmer the broadbeans for about 2 minutes, then drain and place in a bowl of iced or at least very cold water to cool them down.  Then arm yourself with a good deal of patience … or better still, find someone else to step in and help you … and get on with the job of removing the skin of the broadbeans.  One by one … Oh yes … it takes ages.

1Trim the artichokes.  This means removing the outer petals  of the globe; and then quarter each artichoke, and quarter again : i.e. cut into 8 pieces.  Once cut, the artichokes must immediately be placed in a bowl of water to avoid the oxygen in the air turning them black.  Every single recipe I have come across calls for lemon juice to be added to the water, and lemony water is what I always used too.   But I found out only recently that it actually isn’t necessary at all – the water is quite sufficient.  And now that we have everything in place … we can get cracking.

Step 1: Cooking the peas
14Dribble a generous amount of olive oil into a frying pan. I have a penchant for pepper corns and tinker them into nearly all my recipes.  Here, I put six pepper corns into the pan.  You may wish to avoid them altogether – you decide.
16 Turn on the heat, and put the peas in the pan.  Add one teaspoon of sugar.17 Add one teaspoon of salt over the sugar.18 Pour boiling water into the pan. Plenty of it … enough to cover the peas by 2 cm (an inch or so).19 Simmer until the peas are tender.  It took the better part of 20 minutes to cook these.  Peas done. Turn off heat, set aside.

Step 2:  Cooking the Guanciale19a 20 Use another frying pan to render the fat of the guanciale over a medium heat.  This takes about 2-3 minutes.21 Once the guanciale has crispened up a bit, add some olive oil.22 23 Now add the spring onions.  Cook for only a couple of minutes.

Step 3: Cooking the Artichokes

24 Now add the artichokes.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes …25 Remember the peas?  See how much cooking water there was? a kind of pea soup?

26Pour some of the pea soup using a sieve into the frying pan.
27 Keep cooking … the artichokes will need this liquid to become tender.28 The flame is quite high.30 Keep adding the pea soup, as required.31 When the artichokes are tender (push a fork through one of them to find out when) … it should take about 10 minutes or so from start to finish …32 Add the cooked peas.  Turn the heat down now.

Step 4: Wilting the lettuce

33 Put the lettuce where the peas had been (please notice I used up all the pea soup) bar a tiny amount.34 Cover with a lid and cook for about 1 minute.35Remove lid and add them to the big saucepan with the artichokes and peas.

Step 5: Bringing all the Pieces Together
36 Remember these?  Add the broadbeans to the big saucepan and use a wooden spoon to gently combine all the ingredients, cooking them for another couple of minutes.37 The two kinds of mint …38 Add the mint and then swirl some more olive oil over the vignarola. It is now ready to be served.39 40

The vignarola is best served at room temperature, not hot.  The heat tarnishes the taste somewhat.  As with many a stew, vignarola tastes even better the following day.

IMG_4702And as you can see, a posh, indeed regal, vignarola … can never be ‘dry’. And don’t forget the bread … to mop up the sauce afterwards.

The making of a vignarola is a kind of culinary pilgrimage, it must adhere to season and month when these vegetables pop up all together – April.  And so one harkens to Chaucer and to his Canterbury Tales and to the ‘pull’ of pilgrimages that this month sparks off.  What is tugging at your soul this Spring?

Buona primavera everyone!

Here is the start of the Prologue, in old English, a modern version follows …

1: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
2: The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
3: And bathed every veyne in swich licour
4: Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
5: Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
6: Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
7: Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
8: Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
9: And smale foweles maken melodye,
10: That slepen al the nyght with open ye
11: (so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
12: Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

Translation into Modern English:

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage …

pumiBecause … two pumi are better than one.

Drunken Broccoli – Flavia’s Favourite

We had a very nice young couple come to visit us last weekend from Bologna, Flavia and Gabriele.  I had met Flavia last year, she and my husband were part of the same team organising an event called ‘Festival della Medicina’.  The event proved so successful and popular that it is being sequelled this year and my husband pops up to Bologna not infrequently for meetings and all the rigmarole and networking and preparation and background due diligence that an event such as this occasions.  Anyway, the long and the short of it is that he invited Flavia and her husband to spend a weekend with us so they could take some time off and visit Rome.  For my part, I wanted to prepare some food that would be typically Roman for them to enjoy.  Bologna is big on food as we all know (!), so there was an impish part of me that wanted to show them that Lazio is no slouch in the cuisine department … and what better way to wow them than with artichokes, carciofi, that are at their peak just now?

Good move on my part, no surprise there.  I fried some slices of artichoke dipped in flour and beaten eggs (carciofi fritti dorati alla romana) and also cooked carciofi alla romana.  I also made a simple recipe colloquially called ‘broccoli ‘mbriachi’, i.e. drunken broccoli.  The reason for the sobriquet is naturally to be sought in the addition of wine to the cooking process.  And it is a typical dish of the Castelli Romani area, where we live.  When I was at the greengrocer’s, the  Masi family-run shop in Frascati, their daughter told me that her mother made the best broccoli mbriachi with an emphatic appreciation that was difficult to ignore.  This not unnaturally aroused my curiosity and made me venture to enquire further.

And that is when I discovered that I had been making this recipe all ‘wrong’ all the time!  I used to simmer the broccoli for a bit and then add the wine.  Uh uh, that is not the way.  The broccoli need to be cooked in the wine from the very start. What an aha! moment for me.

The other aha! surprise was that this dish turned out be Flavia’s favourite (not that she didn’t like the carciofi).  So there you are, you live and you learn.  Always.  Thank goodness!  How boring otherwise it would be.

Here is the recipe, if you’d like to make it.  Easy.  Olive oil, garlic, salt and red wine.  And the dish takes one whole hour to cook, from start to finish (so much longer than I thought it would take!).  Tastes excellent the day after too.  Just saying …

And here is a link to the Festival : http://www.bolognamedicina.it/eng/

IMG_4598 Cut the broccoli into florets.
IMG_4600 Then, roughly slice the florets.IMG_4601Dribble (my new word … apparently ‘drizzle’ is rubbish, and we’ve all being saying ‘drizzle’ for so long now, but it’s just plain ‘wrong’.  The rain drizzles.  When we pour a larger quantity than the rain that drizzles, then what we are in fact doing is ‘dribbling’.  Except, and I don’t know about you, the word ‘dribble’ makes me think of people or children who can’t keep their saliva in their mouths, not at all attractive, if you know what I mean). Where was I ? oh yes.  Dribble a good amount of olive oil, add plenty of garlic (the more garlic cooks, the less pungent it becomes, so have no fear) and … if you like a bit of spice … do add some chilli flakes.
IMG_4602 Turn on the heat and cook the garlic until it goes golden in colour and then add the sliced broccoli florets.  Cook them like this for a minute or two …IMG_4603 IMG_4604 Have some red wine at the ready …IMG_4605 And pour a prodigious amount over the broccoli.  The wine has to cover the broccoli completely.  We are sozzling here, folks!  That’s the spirit!  And do sprinkle some salt.  No salt, no taste.IMG_4606 Cover with a lid and cook over a medium flame.
IMG_4608 This is what it looked like after 30 minutes.  Exactly the same, to be honest.  But I added a bit more wine.  And continued to cook it with the lid on.

IMG_4612 And this is what it looked like after one hour.  The consistency was fork tender, just this side of ‘mushy’.  This is how it is supposed to be, by the way! Non of this ‘crisp’ vegetable stuff.
IMG_4615 IMG_4616And … as I say .. Flavia couldn’t get enough of this drunken veggie!

IMG_4619I couldn’t resist inserting this photo of a lonesome carciofo alla romana standing to attention … looks rather like it could be part of the candle stick, tee hee.

Doctors Orders – Pasta ajo, ojo e peperoncino with a twist

Italian food is easy, the recipes can be readily executed even by a beginner.  It is simple – the list of ingredients rarely surpasses more than five or six ingredients and that’s not including salt.  It is not supposed to be difficult – if it were, only chefs would be cooking Italian dishes as opposed to single people and home makers all over the country and of every generation.  Preparations are rarely laborious and a proper meal can be concocted in under one hour.  The taste and textures it offers are wide ranging and refreshed by the passing of seasons, like milestones in one’s life.  The ingredients are rarely expensive.  Presentation can be tweaked to appear brashly peasant-like or chic, come hither-ish or aloof, tradtional or modern.  It is child friendly on the one hand but easily appeals to a sophisticated palate on the other.

Italian food is popular for all these reasons.

It is ‘meant to be’ because it can be handed down generation after generation and still remain current for most people’s palate.  It’s not supposed to be exciting or faddish although of course it can be surprising and delightful. Variety is the spice of life, indeed … but if it’s variety we are after all the time, the canon tends to come asunder.  And this, say I with a bit of preoccupation which I hope people won’t attribute to self importance, is what happens when people from abroad pounce on Italian cuisine in seach of what’s new?, what’s the latest ingredient?, what’s the novelty regional secret?  It undermines the canon.  What happened to pesto, for instance? It got furiously popular in the UK and northern America about 30 years ago and now … it tends to be overlooked or discarded in these places because it’s just so … so been-there, done-that, boring, what’s next.  And when one takes into consideration that most of those people haven’t even tasted real pesto, they simply haven’t had the chance bless ’em, the petulance-and-jaded-palate-syndrome of food designers in chase of new food collections takes on an even deeper gastronomic melancholy for me.  If you have the time, do read this article, it’s very good and I was even sympathetic to its author.  Even so … he just couldn’t resist ‘tweaking’ the pesto recipe.  Creativity is a wonderful thing – but can we just stop calling a recipe ‘pesto’ when it is not!  Stop piggy-backing on something that is beautiful for what it is, and if you want to make changes – go ahead but call it something else.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/in-italy-i-learned-how-to-make-true-pesto-in-america-i-buck-tradition/2016/03/07/69617e96-dfc7-11e5-8d98-4b3d9215ade1_story.html

And it’s not just foreigners who are at it.  It’s also many many Italians, especially young Italians, especially Italians who have trained professionally and who have worked abroad themselves.  Haute cuisine, Italian haute cuisine included, has a place in swanky and posh restaurants, in serious and elegant establishments where the meal is elaborated to impress and seduce.  That’s a given.  That’s why we spend lots of money going there (myself included on occasion, lest you should wonder!) in order to give ourselves a treat.  But when I spot a recipe on the menu or elsewhere that is bog standard and ‘homey’ even, ‘reinterpreted’ by chef so and so … well, what can I say?  On the one hand I am curious and impressed.  On the other I feel like rapping their knuckles with a wooden stick.  ‘Leave well alone!’, I feel like shouting.  ‘If you carry on like this, very soon, a couple of generations down the road, Italian food will have become so inflatedly ‘complex’ and fussy that it will lose its innate beauty – simplicity.’  An Italian rose is an Italian rose is a rose is a rose …

End of mini-rant.  Until the next one.

Despite my being unabashedly on the conservative side (!) when it comes to enjoying classic Italian food, not to mention somewhat averse to change for change’s sake, or downright dismissive of prettifications and updating of uber-traditional dishes, I do get won over occasionally when it comes to techniques that make life easier or that make sense gastronomically.  I only shudder and shriek within, and on occasion without, when said techniques end up with a complete make-over that’s only a virtual echo of the original.

So picture my face earlier this morning, slitty eyed, expression all screwed, nose scrunched up, my pursed lips relenting eventually to let out a long sigh, the mother of all sighs, I’ll have you know, when I read of a chic Italian chef in an ultra posh Milanese hotel holding forth about the spaghetti recipe known as ‘aglio, olio e peperoncino’.

Well. For a start … this recipe isn’t even Milanese.  So … why would a Milanese come to a Roman and tell them how to make an aglio e olio?  Stick to your risotto. And there is the culinary fact that … it’s hardly even a recipe. Not a high end one, at any rate.

It is the equivalent of making toast when you are hungry.  It’s the classic dish to make when you are in a hurry … or when you come home from a late night out and discover suddenly that you are hungry and need to eat something before hitting the mattress.  All it requires is a bit of olive oil, garlic and some chilli (cayenne pepper) and parsely of course, even though a lot of people will eschew the parsely.

Now why would a top chef even want to offer such a ‘plain’ dish on their menu?  Would you offer beans on toast at Claridges? or croque Monsieur at whatever Parisian restaurant is the bees’ knees?  Burgers are different.  They are made with meat.  Good meat is expensive.  So if a high end American restaurant serves a burger, that’s not culinarily seditious.

But … aglio, olio e peperoncino? Why? why, why, why, why, why?  Give me caviar.  Or lobster.  Or truffles.  I’ll make me own ajo, ojo e peperoncino at home thank you very much! (By the way, that’s the Roman spelling for aglio, olio e peperoncino.  The Roman use the letter ‘j’ to replace the letter ‘i’ – so think of it as an ‘i’ and pronounce it like this: ayo, oyo ey pe-pe-ron-cheenoh).

I do like to experiment, however hidebound my love for tradition might be, and I do like to ‘make sure’, to seek out the proof in the eating of the pudding. So … guess what I did today?  I made an ajo e ojo e peporoncino that requires very little cooking of the garlic which is then complemented by room temperature olive oil and raw parsely.  Raw.  Good for you.  Olive oil.  Good for you.  Parsely.  Good for you.  Cayenne pepper – very good for you.  Pasta – the good quality kind? Very good for you too.  We should call this the ‘Good for you’ pasta!  Doctor’s orders!

Away we go.

IMG_4549 I used three large cloves of garlic for just over 200g of spaghetti.  Start by peeling the cloves and placing them in a small saucepan with plenty of cold water in it, or at least enough to cover them completely.  Bring the water to the boil.IMG_4550 When the water comes to a boil, drain the garlic.  Repeat this thrice.  In other words, do this cold-water-come-to-a-boil for four times altogether.  In the meantime, put the pot with the pasta water on to boil too.IMG_4552 Measure out 30ml of olive oil (extra virgin olive oil, naturally) per clove of garlic.  In this case – about 90ml of evoo.  Pour the evoo inside a processing beaker or whatever these contraptions are called.IMG_4553Once the garlic has been blanched for the fourth time … cut the cloves in half and remove the green inside bit – the ‘germ’, what the Italians call the ‘soul’ of a clove of garlic.  This germ is actually probably the healthiest part of this allium but there you are.  It isn’t too healthy when you are sharing the room with another person (they’ll hate you for your overpowering breath) and most lovers would shy away from even a kiss on the cheek … continental you say? Hm.  But stinky too.  Better not.
IMG_4554 Here is the  soulless garlic, deprived of its stinky germ.IMG_4555Cut up the garlic a bit more and place inside the beaker.
IMG_4556 When the spaghetti have been cooking for about 5 minutes …IMG_4557 Remove a tablespoon  of the cooking water.IMG_4558 Pour the cooking water into the beaker.IMG_4559 And now … process. Blitz away.  Until you get a lovely emulsion.IMG_4560 I’d forgotten to add salt.  So I added a good pinch of salt and processed a little bit more.IMG_4561 I then chopped up some parsely.IMG_4562 I poured the garlic and evoo emulsion into a frying pan close to the pasta pot.IMG_4563 I dug out my cayenne pepper.IMG_4564 I drained the pasta directly into the frying pan – NO heat.  No need for any heat.  Mix well so that the pasta slurps up all the sauce.IMG_4565 Plate out the paste and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.IMG_4566 IMG_4567 My lunch guest does not like eating parsely so I added a little sprig just for a bit of adornment.IMG_4568 I instead added the chopped parsely.IMG_4569And lots of it.

And was it good, you might very well ask?

Yes, yes it was.  And I shall make it again – so there.

Interesting that the taste of the garlic was very apparent, but it did not overwhelm.  Nor did it make occasional appearances via a burp during the later phase of digestion.

See ? Never say never.  You live and you learn.

P.S. Here is another post I wrote about this recipe, done the ‘classic’ way: https://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/spaghetti-aglio-olio-e-peperoncino/

Flat and Coral like beans – Fagioli corallini

The good thing about people like me, about people who have had to adapt their taste buds to whatever food genre was going, six years at an English boardng school for instance, during the late sixties/early seventies … is that one is able to eat just about anything unless it is truly disgusting.  All this to say that ‘people like me’ will have gone through many a  dinner of uninspiring dishes, knowing that something better would follow very soon.

And thus it is where Romano Pole beans are concerned.

Their unpretentious botanical name is Phaseolus vulgaris ... and yes, let’s be honest, these weird string-cum-mangetout beans are indeed a bit on the vulgar side, nothing chic about them whatsoever.  In some linguistic circles they are known as ‘piattoni’ (the flat ones) and in and around Rome, they are also called ‘corallini’ – coral like beans … a term I find somewhat far fetched, nothing coral-like about them whatsoever … unless it’s their toughness. And oh my are they tough!

One would think that one could get away with cooking/steaming them for a sheer amount, and then adding flavour.  But no. Oh no.  These blighters need to cook and cook forever.  More than one would think necessary.  And then… surprisingly … they yield.  Their mellowness finally and at long last succumbs to the flavour one wants to grace them with, and voilà … we come up with a vegetable side dish that is strangely intruiguing.  Repeat … this vegetable side dish will never be chic.  It’s rough and ready stuff.  However, when it comes to rough and ready, this vegetable side dish can indeed deliver on many points.  Make sure there is plenty of bread to mop up the sauce. Fingers will get greasy.  Who cares… wash them afterwards.

This recipe is about hastening the cooking process of corallini beans via that extraordinary invention that is … the pressure cooker.

IMG_0864 So let’s begin at the beginning. The corallini have been washed and I thought they would benefit from being cut up into smaller morsels.IMG_0865 A saucepan.  Some cloves of garlic.  Plenty of good quality olive oil (evoo).IMG_0866 It’s that time of day when a glass of wine is definitely called for.  Wine is red, and tomato sauce is red.
IMG_0874 Add the tomato sauce to the olive oil and garlic and corallini beans.  Cook them over a high heat for at least five minutes.  Sprinkle an appropriate amount of good quality sea salt.  A good amount means … rather a lot of !IMG_0875 Pop the lot into a pressure cooker.IMG_0887 And cook for 30 minutes.  Yes, indeed! Thirdy minutes! That’s a long time for a pressure cooker.

IMG_1762 In a serving bowl.IMG_1763 IMG_1764And what can I say?  If you like this sort of dish … and now I do … it can be so very heart warming, so very satisfying, so very senses awakening (it’s all about dipping broken bread in the sauce too, and licking one’s fingers, and making slurping noises).

Not an elegant side dish. But then again, not always is elegance the number one requirement for a hearty meal, for a good meal.

Sausage Galore – Ramolacce ripassate con salsiccia

At one point as I was preparing this dish,  I began humming a song that Billie Holiday used to sing, and one I love because it’s not her usual gut-wrenching, heart breaking, mournful cantata.   Maybe you know it? It’s called “Ooo what a little moonlight can do”.  Here is a link to her singing it live, followed by the lyrics below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7VNrRS3Sv0

Ooh, what a little
Moonlight can do
Ooh, what a little moonlight
Can do to you

You’re in love
Your hearts fluttering
All day long

You only stutter
‘Cause your poor tongue
Just will not utter
The words, I love you

Ooh, what a little
Moonlight can do
Wait a while
Till a little moonbeam
Comes peepin’ through

And then don’t ask me why, but I substituted the word ‘sausage’ for ‘moonlight’ as in … oooh, what a little sausage can do.  To enhance a dish, naturally.  Add crumbled sausage to any vegetables and you open an Aladdin’s cave of taste buds doing their bidding.  Sausages are cheap, they are cheerful, and don’t like standing to attention much.  And yet, their addition in a recipe somehow engenders a note of regal presence.

I had some ‘ramolacce’ … greens that are somewhere related to the family of mustard, I believe.  Here in the Castelli, where we can be pretty rustic linguitically speaking, the ‘l’ gets changed into an ‘r’ and we call ’em ‘ramoracce’.  Anyway … they are great with potatoes, and they are great with sausages and pecorino as a stuffing for ravioli.  To me .. they were great that evening as a vegetable side dish.  Take a look.

1 I was crooning the song and so chose this dish with the rooster …1a Here are the blessed ramoracce … trimmed.  And lots of them!2 Such a large amount of ramoracce to clean that I had to put them in the largest tub I own, and wash them in the bathtub.3 4 Wilt the ramoracce in boiling salted water … for as long as it takes to make them tender.  Ramoracce abhor the very idea of being ‘crunchy’.5 I had to wilt the ramoracce in batches …5a It takes a bit of patience, but it’s not the end of the world.6 And now it was time to remove the skin from the sausages.7 There is olive oil and plenty of garlic in the frying pan.8 9 Cook over a fairly high heat, but the meat does not need to brown, just cook through.10 Some good red local wine … Cantina Santa Benedetta, Le Tre Maria (and don’t these ladies look fierce!).11 Splash the wine in, to add merriment and sizzle and also to confer that je ne sais quoi that wine always does.12Once wilted and taken out of the cooking water, the ramoracce need to cool down and then get squeezed.  Squeeze out as much water as you can.  Then add them to the frying pan.
13 Salt and pepper at some point.  Hot chilli flakes would be excellent, except some members of my family take exception to too much heat in a dish, forcing me to add some to my own plate later on in the meal.14 15 16 Gleaming on the medium sized serving plate.17 18Looking jolly good on my own plate – greedy guts that I am.  Meatballs, pan fried potatoes, and ramoracce with sausages.  We’ll reserve understatement for another evening.