BRASATO AL MIDOLLO – Marrow-braised Beef – Serves 6 to 8
Beef shank (about 5 pounds including bone) Marrow from shank
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful of fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds shallots, peeled, whole 1/2 cup vin santo
Have your butcher bone the beef shank, then ask that they top and tail the bone and cut the shaft in half lengthwise.
Heat oven to 180 (350°) degrees. On a cutting board, lay open the boned meat with cut side up. Season open side of beef with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. From the split bone, scoop out the marrow from each side with a small metal spatula.
Place the marrow in the center of the opened meat, along the same direction as the grain. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Roll the meat tightly, enclosing the marrow, and tie the roast with butcher string.
Place beef roast and olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the peeled shallots to the pan. Cover it and cook for 2 hours. Add the vin santo and cook for another hour. Remove the beef and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the strings, slice across the grain, serve with the shallots and pan juices.
ARROSTO FIORENTINO – serves 8 to 10
You need a good cut of roasting beef for this dish. I recommend a top round roast of approx.
2 to 2.5 kg.
Preheat oven to highest temperature. When the oven is very hot, place meat in a high-sided roasting pan and put in the oven.
Leave to cook for about 20 minutes without opening the oven. Depending on the weight of the meat, cooking time may vary slightly.
In the meantime, chop together a big handful of fresh sage leaves, a smaller handful of fresh rosemary, and few large pinches of “Profumo del Chianti” or salt. Once the ingredients are finely chopped, mix them with a good dose of olive oil (consider one cup of olive oil per kilogram of beef.)
Remove roast from the oven, and pour over it the sauce you’ve just prepared. Cover the roasting pan (a sheet of aluminum foil will do fine), and let stand for half an hour, steeping, allowing the flavors to develop. The dish does not go back into the oven, so the seasoning remains fresh and uncooked.
Slice thinly, and serve drizzled with the steeping sauce.
TENERUMI IN INSALATA – Serves 6 to 8
To boil the beef:
1 kilo meat on the bone, preferably pieces from around the knee joint 3 medium carrots, cut into large pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
1 large red onion, cut in chunks
For the salad:
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
3 or 4 stalks from the heart of the celery, julienned 2 medium carrots, julienned
Salt and pepper
approx. 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
approx. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
Place the meat, carrots, celery and onion for the broth in a stock pot and cover with water. Remove the meat and set aside. Salt the water, bring to a boil, then add back the pieces of meat, let the water return to a boil, then turn down to the lowest possible simmer. Simmer uncovered for approx. 31⁄2 hours. Midway through the cooking, turn the meat pieces over and check occasionally to make sure the water is not boiling away. Add hot water, if necessary. Remove meat from the broth, pull and chop into medium chunks. Include the cartilaginous bits and the tendons, and the boiled carrots. Dress lightly with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Clean and slice the salad vegetables.
When you’re ready to serve, re-warm the meat (if necessary) with a small amount of broth. Using a slotted spoon, lay the warm meat and carrots on a high-sided serving platter, cover with salad vegetables, drizzle with olive oil and a few drops of vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
CARNE IN GALERA
Carne in Galera (Galley meat) is a very ancient recipe. Legend has it that it was a dish fed to the Roman galley slaves, those taking up the oars on ancient Roman ships. It gave strength and flavor to a difficult life. Carne in Galera is one of the best demonstrations of making good use of every cut of beef, of the Tuscan-style “sustainability” that my family has sought to maintain for more than 200 years.
In a good-size, lidded, Dutch-oven style pot put some beef fat and melt it slowly over a low flame. Add beef from the fore quarter, cut into 10 cm. chunks. Brown the meat, adding salt, cracked black pepper and a dusting of flour.
After approx. 40 minutes cover the meat with half red wine vinegar and half water, and continue cooking on low heat, only now covering the pot with a lid.
After another 20 minutes, add a generous handful each, of finely chopped fresh sage and fresh rosemary. At this point, the pot must simmer for another 4 or more hours. The meat should be very tender but not dry; there should still be a good amount of cooking liquid.
CHIANTI CRUDO – serves 6 as a main, 10 as an appetizer
You need a cut of beef that is lean and flavorful for this dish. Approx. 1.5 kg. of bottom
round will do.
Tenderize the meat thoroughly with a Jacquard-style tenderizer and cut into chunks. I use classical ingredients to season this dish: olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, chili pepper, garlic, parsley and lemon juice. There is just a hint of each, to taste, so as not to mask the flavour of the meat itself, but rather to bring out its best aspects.
What you get is one-of-a-kind, best served raw on a warm plate or, kebab-style briefly grilled or sautéed.
PINZIMONIO DI VERDURE e Profumo di Chianti
Prepare and arrange in a large bowl or platter any combination of: sticks of celery and carrot, wedges of onion, fennel bulb, and baby artichokes, strips of sweet bell pepper, and any other fresh, raw vegetables you have. Supply a small bowl for each diner so they can make a dipping sauce of extra virgin olive oil and Profumo del Chianti (or salt and pepper).
COSIMINO – serves 6 to 8
gr. 800 beef
gr. 200 pork
gr. 100 onion, roughly chopped (1 medium onion) 1 clove garlic
A pinch of thyme
1 egg, beaten
Salt to taste
Put the two meats, onion and garlic through a meat grinder (4.5 mm holes on grinder). Stir in the thyme, salt and egg, mix well,. Shape the mix into a round loaf and roll in bread crumbs.
Cover with parchment paper and bake for approx. 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover and let brown for the last ten minutes in the oven.
We like to serve the loaf cut into big chunks, with a our Mostarda Mediterranea, a sweet and spicy sauce similar to red pepper jelly.