Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recipes and Tales from Chianti--Panzano

Dario Cecchini is the famous butcher at Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano in Chianti.  Here he is preparing porchetta which will later be served in his restaurant upstairs, along with delicious pork very similar to pulled pork and Beefsteak Fiorentina tartar.

And what meal would be complete without your very own Grappa?

We had several destinations in mind for day trips while in Chianti. One was to Panzano, only 11 km away from home base, to visit Dario, the Rockstar Butcher.  Even with stories on the Internet I was not prepared for the experience.  Dario Cecchini who is the butcher of Panzano now has three restaurants in his small village and has been visited by culinary celebrities and written about in many food magazines.  The butcher shop becomes a stage with frenzied patrons when Dario takes up his knife.  The day we were there he prepared two porchettas for roasting to the blasts of AC/DC.  By the end the wine was flowing and the people who filled the tiny butcher shop were cheering. It was amazing! I bought from the shop fresh tuna that he had preserved and sealed. And that night we prepared a very simple pasta dish using the tuna. (I know, tuna from a butcher shop, but it was one of his unique specialties.)
Several days later we returned to Panzano to eat in one of his restaurants and sample the delicious pork and beef dishes, another experience I will never forget.  We ate with a long table of guests, including many locals. The sample platter included Tuscan beef tartar, cubes of something that tasted like a fancy meatloaf, pulled pork and porchetta, all delicious.
Life is good in the Chianti region of Tuscany!
Easy Summer Pasta Dish with Tuna

Extra virgin olive oil
2 large red onions thinly sliced
4 medium tomatoes diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup chopped olives 
1 lb. good canned tuna drained
2 or 3 handfuls of fresh arugula
Salt to taste
Freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
12 oz pasta, your choice, prepared according to pkg directions

Add about 1/4 cup olive oil to large skillet over medium/low heat. Add onions and cook until caramelized. Next add the tomatoes, rosemary, pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, and chickpeas. Taste and add salt if needed. Cook until tomatoes lose their shape. Add tuna being careful not to breakup too much and finally the arugula.  Immediately toss with pasta and serve with grated cheese.

No comments:

Post a Comment