21 April 2014

Feast: Happy Easter! Buona Pasqua!

Happy Easter to all who celebrate!  I hope you and yours had a wonderful Easter, filled with good people, good fun and (of course) good food.

After a longer and harder winter than usual, Little Robin Redbreast hops through shoots of grass and tells me warmer weather will soon arrive.  This of course means soon trees will bud,  my irises will  their striated leaves through the ground, and of course favourite farmers' tweets about their spring rituals will fill my Twitter feed.

I start thinking about my Easter feast when the leaves begin to turn and we all begin to resettle into shorter days and longer nights.  Rarely do my plans hold true.  In September I thought about roasting turkey; in January that turkey became an Indian-themed dinner.  

By March, Italy and the thoughts of homemade porchetta filled my mind.  Previously I'd done a Tuscan-style pork roast--a bit of a cheat on porchetta for those who don't want to wrap and tie a pork belly around a roast--so going the extra step only seemed right. Our Dear Little Puff of Cream suggested a recipe, and Alessandro gave me some moral support and tips as to what he looks for in porchetta (tip:  it's all about the crackling). The meal was rounded out with roasted capsicums, garlic and onions tossed with marinated artichokes in olive oil and lemon, grilled asparagus dressed in balsamic and parmesan, and potatoes mashed with (more) roast garlic.  I took a bit of a liberty with dessert, opting for a citrussy limoncello tiramisu.

Instead of snapping pics of each item, I decided to offer images and recipe links to the porchetta and tiramisu.

140421 Easter Porchetta 2

Porchetta (Bon Appetit (Sept 2011))
If you ever need a reason to go to a real butcher, this is it.  Matt (my favourite butcher), presented me with some beautiful tamworth pork, and he trimmed the belly to fit the loin exactly.

The roasted, fennelly-spicy meat was simply sublime.  And the crackling?  Burnished and amazing.

140421 Easter Limoncello tiramisu 2
Tiramisù al Limoncello (Lidia Matticchio Bastianich)
As a means to shake off winter's heavy mantle, I wanted an Italian dessert that also brought a promise of sunny skies and warm weather.  Lemon and limoncello fit the bill.

Don't let the fact this contains alcohol scare you--it's cooked off in both the zabaglione and the simple syrup, allowing its boozy nature evaporate. And what's better?  It can be made ahead (up to two days).

 I'm a quill for hire!