Thursday, October 23, 2008

La Stalla

My dear friend Suzanne visited me recently and at the recommendation of her mother, she wanted to go to Asisisi (photo courtesy of Suzanne). Assisi is a wonderful city to visit full of history and beauty, but for me the highlight of our visit was having lunch again at La Stalla, The Stables, a countryside trattoria. It was formerly livestock stalls and is made of stone walls and low-beamed ceilings with long, wooden communal tables. I had eaten there once before several years ago and it was a fun and memorable experience. Suzanne ordered the sausage with polenta and a ragu sauce, delicious. I had grilled lamp chops and polenta al forno, a baked polenta with sliced mushrooms and topped with a layer of gooey cheese. Ahhh....

Mustard Rabbit

Yes, rabbit. It's very common to cook rabbit here in Italy and it's very tasty. Of course you can substitute chicken, but it's really not as delicious. The next time I make this -- because this was my first time but I intend to make it often -- I am going to try adding mushrooms. Hmmm, porcini or champignon?

1 rabbit, cut into pieces with bones

2 medium onions, roughly chopped
2 slices pancetta, diced

1-1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup cream

2 tablespoons flour
3-4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Rinse rabbit pieces under cold water and drain well. Salt and pepper the meat.
Generously drizzle olive oil into a pot. Brown the pieces and put aside.

Fry onions and diced pancetta for about five minutes in the same pot the meat was in, stirring frequently. Add the wine and stock and bring to a boil while stirring often. Add browned meat and thyme leaves. Cover with a lid and cook over low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Add cream and the Dijon mustard. Cook for a few minutes on the stove until the sauce is creamy. Remove about a 1/4 cup and mix in flour (more or less as needed). Stir until mixture thickens.
Serve over pappardelle noodles.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


.Well I found Shangri-La -- and I bought it! It's a 3 bedroom/2 bath home in a monastery dating back to the 11th century nearer to where I was before in Tuoro sul Trasimeno just north of the lake. "What!??", you say. "11th Century??" Yes, it's very old but it's been renovated about 14 years ago and they did a lovely job. There are three cellars beneath the house that I hope to one day make into a vacation rental. Did I mention that there is a pergola in the garden covered with passion flower? There are fruit trees too! Now please start clicking like mad on the google ads here on the site so I can pay for all this...