NEW YEAR'S EVE BANQUET for 2 - STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Italy is a wonderful place to spend the new year, from the snow capped mountains of the Northern regions – Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino and the Veneto, all the way down to the rocky cities and coastlines of Calabria and Sicily. They have a great number of traditions relating to this time; some of them odder than others. In parts of the South, they light huge bonfires, sometimes burning a straw man atop. Guns are shot into the air, pans thrown from windows, and firecrackers tossed around. To be honest, it’s all a bit dangerous – hence why everyone wears lucky red underpants.

In the North, they eat cotechino and lentils – the round disks of sausage signifying coins; wealth for the year ahead, and the myriad tiny lentils denoting plenty.   

In a break from our strictly regional menus, we are ringing in Capodanno – the New Year – with a feast from around the country. Lombardian panettone, Venetian prosecco, chocolates from Turin, Emilian cotechino, Roman pig and Pugliese taralli. Red underwear not included. Buon anno!

 

TARALLI & A TRIO OF DIPS
PECORINO CREAM, PESTO GENOVESE & SPICY NDUJA DIP
RADISH, CELERIAC & TRUFFLE SALAD
AGNOLOTTI DEL PLIN
COTECHINO WITH LENTILS & SALSA VERDE
TIRAMISU
PANE CARASAU WITH AN ASSORTMENT OF CHEESES & SALUMI
CASEARA, BOCCONCINO DI CAPRA, PECORINO DI PIENZA WITH TRUFFLE
PARMA HAM, CAPOLLO, MORTADELLA
CHOCOLATE SALAME

 

 

For your meal you will need:

  • A bowl and peeler for the radish salad
  • A couple of saucepans for the cotechino

 

 

 

Radish, celeriac, pecorino & truffle salad

 

This salad is one of my proudest creations; crisp earthy radishes & celeriac, sharp pecorino and bittersweet pomegranate all brought together with a dressing composed of white truffle oil, fantastic olive oil, and rich white balsamic.

 

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • A mix of shaved radishes
  • A chunk each of celeriac and pecorino
  • Some pomegranate seeds
  • A few leaves of parsley
  • A bottle of truffle dressing

Directions:

  • Drain the radishes of their liquid, pat dry and place in a bowl
  • Add the pomegranate seeds
  • Shave in the celeriac and pecorino with a peeler
  • Season with salt, and dress with the truffle dressing

Agnolotti dal plin

Agnolotti, tiny stuffed parcels of pasta made from a single, folded piece of dough are, along with tajarin (tagliolini), the signature pasta of Piedmont – and a source of pride for the locals. They can be made dal plin (with a pleat) for special occasions, or plain in a simple half-moon shape. They may be filled with any manner of stuffing, and whilst they are rather fiddly to make, are also most rewarding to consume.

 

Your pack serves two as a starter and contains:

  • Agnolotti
  • Butter
  • Sage

Directions:

  • Get a pot on with boiling salted water (10% salt ratio )
  • Just before the pot of water boils, put a sauce pan on a low heat
  • Once boiling, add in the agnolotti and cook for 3 minutes
  • Once the agnolotti goes into the pot of boiling water, add the butter and sage into the sauce pan and let it melt, but not split.
  • Add in a little bit of the pasta water into the sauce pan with the butter and the sage and stir continuously to emulsify the butter with the water
  • Once the agnolotti has cooked strain the agnolotti out of the water and add directly into the butter emulsion and take off the heat
  • Season to your taste and remove from the pan
  • Serve, and enjoy

 

Cotechino, lentils & salsa verde

Even a pig doesn’t taste as piggy as cotechino; this incredibly hearty boiling sausage is made of minced pig skin and face, stuffed into casings, and aged for a week or two to strengthen the flavour. Boiled slowly, then sliced into disks, it is rich, earthy & lip sticking. It is a porcine delight, and graces tables around the country for New Year.

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • Some cotechino, made and boiled by us, with a little cooking liquor
  • Lentils, braised with a soffrito of celery, carrot, onion & bay
  • Salsa verde

Directions:

  • Place the disks of cotechino in a pan with their liquid, and bring to a simmer
  • In a separate pot, warm the lentils, stirring regularly to stop them sticking
  • When the lentils and cotechino are both hot, spoon the lentils onto a plate, top with the cotechino, and serve with salsa verde alongside

Tiramisu’

There is something insanely satisfying about retro foods, and tiramisù is no exception. It is almost the definition of a cliché dessert – very safe… and very vanilla, to couch it in a bedroom term. It is hard to describe my delight when I learned its origins are not so salubrious as one might imagine. Tira-mi-sù means ‘pick me up’ – a rather charming name for a cheery pudding, spiked as it is with espresso. The academy of tiramisù (yes, there is such a thing – Italy treats its culinary heritage with due import, and every dish of note has its own guild or knighthood or foundation) tells a different story: ‘… this dessert was invented by a clever “maitresse” of a house of pleasure in the centre of Treviso. The “Siora” who ran the premises developed this aphrodisiac dessert to offer to customers at the end of the evening in order to reinvigorate them and solve the problems they may have had with their conjugal duties on their return to their wives.’ Not such a frumpy dessert after all...

 

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • A tiramisù, to share

Directions:

  • Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before eating, to take the edge off
  • Spoon gently onto plates, then eat