Monday, January 12, 2015

A Proper Italian Supper

In 1986, a Slow Food movement started in Italy as response to the opening of a McDonald's near the Spanish Steps in Rome (more of the history of Slow Food here). Although the movement has gained legs to reach 150 countries around the world, the threats from modernity and fast food were perhaps more benign than expected.

Because as real as the threats might be, the lifestyle of slow food is still very much a part of the Italy that I know.

Nevertheless, my wife and I honored the Slow Food movement by planning a proper Italian supper on Saturday night. What constitutes an Italian supper? Well, time and leisurely-paced courses of drink and food to start. The courses generally follow this sequence:
1 - Aperitivo, pre-supper drink(s) to whet the appetite
2 - Antipasti, snacks and samplers to acclimate the palate
3 - Primo Piatto, first course(s) to enjoy with wine
4 - Secondo Piatto, second course of meat(s) to fill the belly, usually with a side dish, or contorni
5 - Digestivo, after-supper drink(s) to settle the stomach, can include espresso (but never capuccino!)
6 - Dolci, dessert(s) to linger on the palate

Give yourself 3 or 4 hours, so that each course can be enjoyed on its own merits. And if the aperitivi or digestivi carry over on their own, you might need more time.

Of course, we did cheat a little bit, on both the antipasti and the primi piatti, as we prepared another secondi piatto to compensate. But the drinks and the food were delicious and Slow Food triumphed to distract us from the ongoing winter doldrums.

This week I'll share a few of the drinks and recipes that we enjoyed, which carried a more Tuscan flavor. Stay tuned as I assemble some of the menu from our Italian Supper:
Negroni cocktail (aperitivo)
Sangiovese wine (to accompany the piatti)
Peposo, or Peppered beef (secondo piatto)
Bocconcini di pollo alla toscana, or Tuscan-style chicken (secondo piatto)
Fagioli all'olio, or Tuscan beans (secondo piatto, contorno)
Panna cotta dessert (dolci)

Until next time, or as the Italians say, alla prossima...

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