Fricasseed Chicken with Almonds

Fricasseed Chicken with Almonds

On Sunday, I attended a lecture sponsored by our local Italian cultural organization that was titled “Italy’s Third Golden Age.” After citing the Roman Empire and the Renaissance as the first two of these eras, the speaker turned to the post World-War-Two era as the beginning of the third. In support of her thesis, she cited Italy’s accomplishments in the cinema, automotive engineering, fashion, and food.

Although her talk was entertaining and illustrated with abundant slides of cinematic, fashion, automotive, and culinary icons, it seemed to focus more on the popular theme of la dolce vita than on any serious cultural achievements equal to those of the first two golden ages. I’m sure the Italian Trade Commission would have been quite content both with the turnout and the audience reaction.

I, on the other hand, was disappointed by some of her omissions from the roster of achievers, one of which led me to prepare the subject of today’s post. That oversight occurred in the speaker’s brief tribute to Italy’s culinary accomplishments, which began with Chef Boyardee and concluded with Lidia Bastianich.

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Pork Shoulder with Genovese Sauce

Pasta and Pork Shoulder with Genovese Sauce

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I typically let what’s available in my supermarket influence what will be on my table for dinner. Such was the case this weekend when a 50%-off sale on pork shoulder led to the purchase of a five-pound roast and a subsequent search for a recipe with which to prepare it.

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Braised Lamb with Red Wine and Prunes

Braised Lamb with Red Wine & Prunes

I’ve always been a fan of Mark Bittman and his minimalist approach to cooking. Not only are his dishes easy to prepare, but the typically limited number of ingredients in his recipes makes for clean, rich flavors Read more