I once spent a fantastic trip touring Itria and Bari with my friends Luca & Luigi from Berkmann wine cellars. Here, we feasted on grilled sausages, heady with fennel, and bombette (little meat rissoles) baked in the heat of bread ovens. We gorged on the fresh semolina pastas of the region, orecchiette and capunti; sometimes with fish, sometimes vegetables, and very often with rich meaty ragu. And we ate young lambs, perfumed with rosemary and garlic, glazed with honey and wine, baked until soft and yielding, with a bittersweet mahogany crust. I cannot give a taste of skinny dipping at dawn in the clear waters south of Monopoli (as I did), but I can offer the food and the wine of this wonderful place.
For your meal you will need:
A large pot for boiling pasta
A wide-ish saute pan
A little salt
An oven tray or ovenproof pan for the lamb
The detailed recipes for the dishes are here, but in essence:
- Preheat your oven to 180C (fan) or 200C (static)
- Place the lamb on a tray, brush with the glaze and cook for 25-30 minutes
- When you remember, re-glaze the lamb for a dark and lacquered crust
- Meanwhile, cook the capunti, then the sauce, then eat
- Let the peppers come to room temperature, and eat with the lamb
- Eat the tits
Capunti with sausage ragu
Capunti are a small fresh pasta made with a semolina dough, and no tools whatsoever. Rolled into thin tubes, pinched into pieces, and then pressed out with the fingertips to resemble opened pea pods, their chunky dimpled shape marries wonderfully with coarse meaty ragus – in this case, sausages that we have crafted ourselves; from Apulia, to Soho, to you.
Your pack serves two and contains:
- Handmade capunti
- Sausage ragu
- A little lovely oil
- A pot of pecorino
- Cook the pasta in well-salted boiling water (10g salt/lt)– they will take 4-6 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat the sauce with a splash of pasta cooking water
- Add the oil to the sauce, then the pasta with a little of its cooking water, and cook together for a minute or two, until the pasta is glossy and coated
- Serve, topped with pecorino
Honey & rosemary lamb shoulder
In Itria, the counters of maccellai are crowded with rabbits & chickens, with sausages and meat rolls of all shapes and colours, and with entire young animals – lambs and goats and pigs – all sitting ready to cleaved into vast joints of meat, by butchers with heavy blades. I was once laughed from a shop for requesting a rack of lamb – here, you get a whole, a half or a quarter – and you take it home, perfume it with rosemary & garlic, and cook it very, very slowly, sweetened with just a little honey, until it is ambrosial.
Your pack serves 2 and contains:
- 1 generous chunk of lamb shoulder, on the bone
- A small pot of honey mixed with wine
- A sprig of rosemary, for brushing
- Place the lamb shoulder on a suitably sized tray, and use the rosemary sprig to brush with some of the glaze
- Cook for 5-10 minutes, then repeat the glazing
- Continue this process for 25-30 minutes, until the lamb is dark and burnished, and hot through, brushing when you remember
- Let rest for 10 minutes or so, then eat
In Altamurra, in the darkness long before the dawn, bakers stoke their ovens to a glowing red, preparing to accept the dense slow-prooved loaves of semolina bread that have brought the town renown. As the day moves gently on, the bread is baked, the fires die, and the ovens slowly cool. But what to do with yesterday’s bread, and today’s heat? Grind the bread to coarse crumbs, toss it with capers, oil and strips of the dark red and yellow peppers that fill the surrounding fields, then gently bake in the fading ovens. The bread crisps, the peppers soften and grow sweet, and you are left with a dish equally fit for kings & contadini.
Your pack makes a side for 2 and contains:
- Baked red and yellow peppers, with capers & crumbs
- Whole leaves of parsley
- Allow the peppers to come gently to room temperature or even a little above (sit them just close enough to the hearth to gain a little warmth)
- Place them on a plate, and scatter over the parsley
Tette delle monache
At Bocca di Lupo I have, for several years now, served a delightful & delicious Roman specialty – Le Palle del Nonno (Grandfather’s balls) – so it is no surprise that I pounced with indecent relish onto the cream filled ‘Nun’s tits’ of Apulia. These are heavenly cloud-like little sponge puffs, richly plumped with a delicate lemon scented pastry cream. First eat one, then the other. More tea, Vicar?
Your pack contents
- 4 little tits, stuffed with cream
- Eat; possibly erotically, certainly with abandon.
ALLERGENS: all packs are prepared in a mixed kitchen, we cannot guarantee the absence of ANY allergen. All packs of this dish contain dairy, gluten, alliums, eggs, celery, and nuts.