Rugged, tough and intense can be used to not only describe the region of Abruzzo, but also hints at the personality of our chef Peppino Tinari for the study and preparation of the local cuisine.
The region of Abruzzo may be Italy's last great wilderness. The region is sparsely populated with the dramatic Apennine Mountains cutting through it.
Probably the most famous dish of this region and one of the most famous pastas in the world is chitarrina. The pasta is cut with a special tool, the chitarra. The instrument is a rectangular box strung with strings and resembles a small guitar.
You roll your pasta dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, lay the dough over the strings and use a rolling pin to press the dough through the strings to obtain square-cut spaghetti like pasta noodles. The pasta is usually served with a meat ragu, but can also be served with fresh herbs.
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The chef brought in a whole lamb for our class and we cooked about 10 different dishes over the two days, utilizing every part of the lamb including all internal organs, and splitting and roasting its head.
I have chosen two simple recipes this week. The first is Parrozzo, a cake made with almonds. It can be made and eaten the first day. The next day, you can use the leftover cake in the second recipe, Semifreddo al Parrozzo.
The cake will pair well with local seasonal fruits, whipped cream or ice cream. The Semifreddo will be great on a hot day, and you can easily leave the Parrozzo out and add in your favorite berry, or chopped chocolate or nuts. Don't be afraid of the raw eggs in the Semifreddo – it is common for them to be there. If you buy your eggs from a local farmers market, they should be safe to eat raw. Or you can buy eggs that are pasteurized in the shell.