Monday, October 3, 2011

Il Mercato

Friday Mikey had the day off. Waiver exams were completed (and passed!), classes were prepared for, and to-dos were mostly checked off the list. We spent the morning cleaning the floor and then headed out to the Mercato di Mezzo in the center of town. It's a conglomeration of tiny vicoli and strade packed with vendors selling fruit, vegetables, fish, cured meats, cheeses and a myriad of other goods. In the New York Times travel article on Bologna, they called the area around the Mercato di Mezzo a "gastronomic must."

image via
The produce was more expensive than another street market we stop by on the way to SAIS, so we stuck to having an experience in the meat department and later bought our produce at the street market in the Piazza Aldrovandi.

image via
See the guy on the left? He was the same one who helped me (by happenstance. I didn't even know the salumeria in the photo was the one we went to until I was browsing the NYT article). I was slightly disappointed with my experience because I practiced all the phrases I thought I would need to know before we headed over. Then I didn't know you had to take a number. And there are a lot of phrases about sorry and not knowing about the number thingy that I hadn't practiced. And I asked for dodici grammi di pancettathe amount my recipe called for not really putting it together that I was asking for like half an ounce. The guy looked at me like I was really confused. I was confused. I just wanted 12 grams. Not 100. I ended up getting a centigrammi di pancetta anyway. There's nothing wrong with having left over pancetta right?

I understand how the metric system works, I just don't really have in my head what 100 grams looks, feels and tastes like. I'm getting there though.

To finish up grocery shopping Mike and I headed to the market near our place to get the rest of what we needed for dinner that night. The recipe called for Marsala Wine. Being the big drinkers that we are (wink) we had a hard time figuring out what Marsala Wine looked like. We stood in front of a wall of wine bottles for probably 10 minutes with puzzled looks on our faces. We ended up just getting a generic white wine, only to find out when we got home that Marsala is a red wine. We have so much to learn.

However, obstacles or not, we were determined to have a delicious dinner. Macaroni Grill style. We picked up some fresh rosmarino di pane at a panificio on the way home and I got to work sauteing, adding, reducing, chopping, cooking and baking. The result was delicious.

Here's the recipe:

Penne Rustica
adapted from this one on
serves 4-6

Gratinata sauce
1 t butter
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t Dijon mustard
1 t rosemary
1/2 c marsala wine (or white wine, if you're a bonehead like me)
1/4 t cayenne pepper
3 1/4
Directions for sauce:
- Saute butter, garlic and rosemary until garlic begins to brown
- Add wine, reduce by one third (boil rapidly until the volume decreases by a third)
- Add remaining ingredients. Reduce by half. (While boiling, start in on pasta). Set aside.
 Penne Rustica
8 - 10 oz penne pasta, cooked
1/2 ounce pancetta (or bacon)
5 oz grilled chicken breasts, sliced
8 shrimp (we didn't buy/use any)
1/8 c butter
1 T chopped shallot (the white part)
pinch of salt and pepper
3/4 c Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions
- Grill chicken (I just did mine in a pan on the stove) and season lightly
- Preheat the oven to 425
- Saute pancetta until it begins to brown
- Add butter and shallots (and shrimp, if using. Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent)
- Add chicken, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Add gratinata sauce and 1/2 of Parmesan cheese.
- Simmer until the sauce thickens (and your pasta is done cooking).
- Combine with cooked and drained pasta.
- But in a casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.

1 comment:

Becky Smith said...

Wow! It sounds like you're living quite the exotic life. Which would be really, really good if it didn't require having to understand the metric system. :-) That's where I would be lost forever.

But I love your sense of adventure and the feeling I have when I read your blog that I am being transported to a new place and being exposed to new (fabulous) food. Even with the wrong wine and leftover ingredients!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...