Sunday, September 9, 2007

Original Pasta alla Genovese

Summer is coming to a close. Temperatures are already cooler and days are shorter. Ragweed season is already taking a toll on me with a very itchy nose and watery eyes. I'm definitely not a big fan of fall season with its cold, humid and damp weather, especially here on the east coast of Canada. I am, on the other hand, looking forward to cooking lots of hearty meals and soups. Fall and winter are the seasons I can cook up a storm, just like today. I managed to post 4 recipes in one day! I wouldn't call it obsession, but prefer calling it a passion.
Today was a perfect day to try out an Italian-style stew that caught my attention last week, while I was watching my favorite cooking show A la di Stasio. The nice thing about cooking shows is that you see how a dish is actually prepared, making it easier for the viewer to follow a recipe successfully. And I was right, the stew turned out fantastic! It's a stew that consists of 20 minutes of preparation and 6-8 hours of braising! Sounds exhaustive. It's actually a meal that you fix in minutes and just forget about it for the rest of your day. 6-8 hours is plenty of time to catch up with my sleep, reading or updating my blog...even better, cook another meal!

Unfortunately, a good friend of mine who now resides in France, will probably turn green when she sees the ingredients of this recipe. As much as she loves eating good food, she can't stand onions! With all due respect, onions is used in almost every recipe around the world. But that's ok...I know people who will appreciate it for it's simplicity and for it's italian flavours.

Recipe "au pif":
4 1/2 lb regular yellow onions, peeled (12 medium sized onions)
olive oil
2 lb (about 1 kilo) beef chuck shoulder (beef side)
1 cup diced prosciutto
1lb ziti or penne pasta (or macaroni, rigatoni...any pasta!)
grated Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
salt and pepper

Blanch the onions by putting them first in a large pan filled with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Discard water and soak onions in cold water. Blanching the onions will release some of the acidic bitter taste and enhance the colour of the onions.

Cut the onions in halves and then in thin slices with a very sharp knife (blanched onions have slippery layers of skin, and you won't stop cursing if you don't use a sharp knife).

In a large pan, heat olive oil and a bit of butter and brown all sides of the beef shoulder. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the onions, a bit of salt and stir.

Add in the prosciutto, stir and cover.

Allow to braise on very low heat (the minimum) for 6-8 hours.

This stew can also be cooked in the oven at 250F for the same amount of time, 6-8 hours.

After 6-8 hours, remove braised beef, put aside in large dish and keep warm.
Cook pasta in boiling water in a large pan, until
al dente".

Drain pasta.

Add sauce and meat to pasta, wait 1 minute for flavours to blend, add grated cheese if desired, and enjoy...
Assolutamente delicioso!

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