Cucinando a Milano

Nov 23, 2015

This past week, we were lucky enough to get a city break and actually, a break from it all. We went to Milano to celebrate my husband’s birthday and got to stay in the most gorgeous mid-century modern apartment still boasting all of its original details, including one of the most beautiful kitchens I’ve ever seen; upon laying my eyes on it, I knew I wanted to cook there. It was an absolute pleasure to cook again over a gas hob and to bake in a 45 year old oven that puts to shame even the high-end new ones that I’ve ever tried.

Right around the corner from where we stayed, there’s a wonderful deli shop where they sell fresh pasta, a large array of cheese and fresh meat cuts. Its two owners, whose names adorn the shop sign, are inside, happy to serve, one a butcher, the other a smartly dressed clerk and a trusted adviser. A few blocks away, we discovered Peck, deemed “Italian temple of gastronomical delights” and we had quite a time picking up ingredients from the elegant old world displays that enticed you with beautifully arranged crab, a large glass dome under which the most beautiful tartuffo bianco was laid out and with rows of colourful fruit and vegetable market-like stalls. We made our pick and proceeded home, where we would start cooking dinner.

The menu was vastly dictated by what caught our eyes in the deli shops and that’s why we went for an appetizer of Anchovy Fillets soaked in lemon juice and drizzled with olive oil, as well as a pan-fried Cuttlefish with Peas. The main dish of Roasted Veal Chops was served with a side dish of roasted garlicky broccoli and a nice Trevigiana and Escarole chopped salad. For dessert, I made individual Lemon Meringue Tarts and served them with wild strawberries (the recipe for this dessert is available here).

The recipes are quite easy to make, but they’re the type of dishes that will pin you to the kitchen for the whole evening. For us, that was kind of the plan. We had friends over and we cooked while chatting them up and sipping on champagne. And to be honest, I’m really hoping to return to Milano, presto!

Cuttlefish with Peas

600 g/1½ pounds of Cuttlefish

500g/1 pound fresh peas

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 bunch of parsley, chopped

1 Tblsp of tomato paste

100ml/½ cup white wine

1 garlic clove

3 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and towel dry the cuttlefish. Heat 1 Tblsp olive oil in a large pan set over low heat and once hot, add the onion; allow to sweat for 5-7 minutes. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat for 10-15 minutes, all the while stirring, then add the parsley. Remove the peas from the pan and place in a serving dish. Return the pan over medium heat, add 1 Tblsp olive oil and the garlic clove. When hot, add in the cuttlefish and cook over high heat for about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and the wine and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the garlic and add to the peas in the serving bowl. Serve immediately with fresh crusty bread.

Getaria Anchovy Fillets 

Place the contents of 1 tin of Getaria Anchovy Fillets (or any other nice anchovies in olive oil) in a serving dish and drench in freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Roasted Veal Chops

1 rack of veal chops (1,5 kg/3 pounds)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180c/350F. Massage the meat with olive oil all over, season with salt and pepper and make sure to rub them in well. Place in a roasting dish and roast for about 1,5 hours.

Roasted Garlicky Broccoli

1 broccoli head, washed and cut into florets

3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

Extra virgin olive oil

1½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp pepper

2 tsp grated lemon zest

2 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place the broccoli florets on a baking tray, in a single layer. Toss the garlic over the broccoli, drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle the salt and pepper on top. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until crisp and browned. Remove the broccoli from the oven and toss with 1 Tblsp olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

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