regard the cuisine of Umbria to be the best in Italy. The region is famous
for its black truffles, superb olive oil, cheese and wine. Pork dishes,
such as suckling pig, are common, and the quality of the hams, sausage
and salami are unsurpassed. The town of Perugia is famous for its chocolate
and wines from the region are remarkably inexpensive, given their high
quality.Cooking in Umbria is varied: meat, fish, cereals, vegetables,
spices, and herbs are equally important and combined with an enviable
equilibrium, so it doesn't seem right to define this cooking as "poor."
Perhaps "essential" is a better description with its proud and
primitive disdain for any kind of sophistication. In Foligno, for example,
delicious "minestroni" (soups) with a fresh vegetable base are
made with egg pasta. Wild pigeons are served in the fall with a sauce
made with oil, wine, vinegar, and herbs. In the local fairs stuffed "porchetta"
is often served, young roasted pig served with a strong flavour of wild
fennel. A favourite dish in Todi is sweet and sour ox tongue and at Cascia
they prepare, with a very old recipe, veal with tartufo. In the towns
around Lake Trasimeno the local fish is baked or braised, seasoned with
is the land of the ancient Etruscans, and studies of frescoes in the ancient
tombs show that the locals eat in a manner very similar to that of their
is the most renowned wine, produced with Trebbiano, Grechetto, Drupeggio
and other white grapes cultivated on the hills of Orvieto and adjacent
towns. The wine is a straw-yellow colour and has an extremely pleasant
bouquet. From the 1930s onwards Umbrian viticulture has undergone
profound trasformations, particularly since the 1960s when the hectars
farmed incresed and now cover up to 20.000 hectars. Wine output averages
about 900.000 hectolitres, of which 17% is of controlled origin and quality.
From 1960 the following wines have been awarded the official stamp of
"Denominazione di Origine Controllata" (DOC): Torgiano, Orvieto,
Colli del Trasimeno, Montefalco, Colli Alto Tiberini, Colli Perugini,
Colli Martani and Colli Amerini. The Torgiano Riserva and the Sagrantino
di Montefalco bear the stamp "Denominazione di Origine Controllata
e Garantita" (DOCG).
250g/ 8oz black olives, pitted (stone removed)
1 tin anchovy fillets in oil
1 clove of garlic
25g/ 1oz capers (removed from their vinegar and rinsed)
125ml/ 4fl oz olive oil
grated rind of 1 orange
can make this by hand with a pestle and mortar but much the simplest way
is to place all the ingredients together in a food processor and process
for about 10-15 seconds. Scrape the sides down and process again for about
4 or 5 seconds. The mixture should be fairly smooth but should contain
it into small earthenware or ceramic pots, cover with a thin layer of
olive oil, cover and keep it in the fridge. To use, spread it quite thinly
(not quite as thinly as marmite but only just) on slices of good bread
that have been toasted in the oven or under the grill until light gold.
Serve immediately with plenty to drink as the flavor is intense and salty.
Strangozzi in Piquante Sauce
Flour: 0,5 Kg., 1.25 lbs.
Warm water: as needed
Salt: to taste
Extra virgin olive oil: .25 cup
Garlic: 2 cloves
Pork skin: 60 gm, 2 oz
Whole chili peppers: 2
Parsley in a bunch: 120 gm, 4 oz
Tomato pulp: 1 large can
Fine salt: to taste
On a large bread board from a flour well. Combine all the ingredients
and work vigorously by hand to obtain a smooth, consistent dough.
Let cool in the fridge for some 20 minutes. Prepare the sauce by sutéing
the minced garlic clove in a teaspoon of olive oil in a heated skillet
and add parsley bunch which will be discarded just after being just scalded.
Add the tomato pulp and the pork, add salt to taste, and add chili peppers.
Roll out the pasta, but not too thinly, and allow to dry some 8 - 10 minutes.
Roll up and slice thinly with smooth, even knife strokes into 'strangozzi'
with a knife.
Quickly boil pasta in an abundant amount of salted water.
Cover with prepared sauce. Sprinkle with minced parsley. Serve at once.
Grated black truffle: 75 gm, 2.5 oz
Parmesan cheese: 30 gr 1 oz
Salt and pepper: to taste
Grate the truffle. Allow it to settle to the bottom of pre-heated olive
oil with garlic.
Adjust this sauce to taste with salt. In a bowl beat the eggs and mix
in Parmesan cheese, then add the truffles. Heat a stick-proof skillet
and add some oil.
Pour in the mixture and let cook for a short time on one side before flipping
over, using an inverted plate on skillet, but also being sure that the
center to remains soft, not overcooked.
arugola and grapes topped with shaved Pecorino cheese
Arugola, narrow leaves: 350 gm, 12 oz
Whole Farro, shelled: 285 gm, 10 oz
White grapes: 200 gm, 7 oz
Aged Pecorino cheese: 200 gm, 7 oz
Extra virgin olive oil: 150 ml .5 cup
Garlic: 1 clove
Bay leaf: 2
Boil the Farro in large quantity of water with salt, along with garlic
and bay leaves, until it becomes cooked al dente.
Meantime, clean and wash the arugola and clean grapes of any seeds.
Finish the salad by arranging the arugola and Farroand the helved grapes
and topped with shavings of Pecorino cheese.
Add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Purée with 'Imperial' Shrimp
Lentils from mountain: 500 gm, 18 oz
Garlic: 2 cloves
Rosemary: 1 sprig
Salt: to tastes
Pig skin: 2 pieces
Basil leaves: 2
Stock: 2 cups
Broth from boiled lentils
Large shrimp: 16 with heads
Extra virgin olive oil Santoni: quanto basta
Pepper, very coarsely ground
Extra, extra virgin olive oil fruity "La Rocca"
Boil the lentils starting with cold water with garlic, bay leaf and rosemary
sprig. Cook to 'al dente' texture and save all the broth. Season the lentils
with a mixture of oil, garlic, bay leaf. Heat up and add the preserved
Blend in a blender to a creamy (macco) texture.
Lightly sauté the shrimp in oil and garlic and rosemary. Ladle
a portion of the sauce into a clean dish and place four shrimp on top
to form a small pyramid.
Top with fresh-ground pepper and a generous drizzle of oil. This is a
simple dish of peasant origins and today enriched with the lentils of
mountain (always organically grown) which give an exquisite, if unexpected,
flavor to the shrimp. The extra virgin olive oil "La Rocca"
is also an absolutely imperative ingredient.
1 Thigh from a young lamb
120 grams black truffle crushed in a mortar
1/10 litre olive oil
the lamb in large pieces and brown it in a casserole, add salt to taste
plus four anchovies with the spines removed and crushed in a mortar. Halfway
through the cooking (about half an hour) remove lamb for a moment and
pour out the fat accumulated in the pan. Add the juice of two lemons with
a bit of water. Continue to cook over a low fire, check after twenty minutes
for doneness, the meat near the bone should be tender and no longer pink,
remove from the flame and add the truffles, carefully turning the pieces
of lamb to mix. Cover the pot and let rest for ten minutes before serving.
sausages for this dish will almost certainly, in Umbria and the Marches,
be the fennel flavoured pork sausages that are so common there, but impossible
to find except in one or two Italian delicatessens in Britain. I personally
favour the coarse but beef sausages often made with Aberdeen Angus beef
that a number of our better supermarket chains have begun selling recently,
but you may have a local butcher who will make you good, coarse cut, meat
rich sausages. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with the lentils and
the sausages kept separate until they arrive on the plate. I think putting
them together for a little while beforehand improves the flavour and texture
lb green or brown lentils (the red ones won't do for this)
2 tbsp olive oil
250g/ lb onions
4 stalks of celery
750g/ 1 lb good, meaty, coarse ground sausages
4 plum or similar tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
salt and pepper
the lentils in plenty of water for at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours.
Throw the water away. In a pan which will take all the lentil ingredients
and the sausages in due course, put the olive oil and fry gently the cleaned
and chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Add the lentils. Cover with water
to a depth of 2cm/1in above the boil. Simmer gently for about half an
hour until the lentils are cooked and almost all the water is absorbed.
You may need to add a little more depending on the individual lentils
you're using. Chop up the tomatoes and add those to the lentil mixture,
seasoning generously at this point. Fry the sausages, either in their
won fat or in a little extra oil, until they are well browned. Add them
and the fennel seeds, if you are using them, to the lentil mixture, making
sure that the mixture is still quite runny and moist. Cook with the lid
on and the sausages at least partly buried for another 15 minutes over
a very low heat for the flavours to blend. Serve each person their sausages
and lentil in a deep plate. The lentil should still be, while not soupy,
quite moist and runny. No other vegetable is needed at this point. A good
salad afterwards is wonderfully refreshing. Serves 4
Trifolata - Chicken with Mushrooms & Truffles
1 chicken, cut up into small pieces
6 tablespoons virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound Portobello mushrooms, caps cut into 1/4inch strips
4 ounces black truffles, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato conserva or paste
1 cup chicken stock
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
and pat chicken dry and dredge in flour. In a 14 inch frying pan, heat
olive oil until just smoking. Brown pieces of chicken until golden, 3
or 4 at a time. Remove to a plate. Continue until all the pieces are done.
Add garlic and cook until light brown. Add Portobello mushrooms and truffles
and saute until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add wine and tomato conserva
and stir through. Add broth and chicken pieces and bring to a boil. Lower
heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the juices of a thick piece of chicken
Add parsley and serve immediately.