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Baked greens and pork loin

Nov 5th, 2013 | Category: Cooking

by Mary Ellen Carter

A Tribute to Marcella Hazen

Often referred to the “godmother” of Italian cooking Marcella Hazen, passed away last month at the age of 89.  She is credited with bringing true Italian cuisine from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy to the U.S.

She started teaching in the early 70’s in New York and quickly caught the eye of culinary heavyweights including NY Times food editor Craig Claiborne. She went on to win numerous awards and the admiration of many.

Baked greens. PHOTO BY MARY ELLEN CARTER

Baked greens. PHOTO BY MARY ELLEN CARTER

Eventually she and her husband of 60 years, Victor, a noted wine author, moved their cooking school to Venice, where for years they taught Italian cooking using the region’s most iconic ingredients – balsamic vinegar, sauce from Bologna, risotto from Venice, parmesan cheese and mortadella.

So even for those who may not know about Marcella, she has influenced our simple way of Italian cooking.

 

Ah, Nutmeg

Nutmeg is the feel good spice of the holiday season, often reminding us of egg nog and cookies. But the affinity of winter greens and nutmeg is often underused and unappreciated.

Once you discover the savory side of nutmeg you’ll be reaching for the nutmeg grater all the time. The whole nutmeg, a tropical nut from the spice islands of Indonesia, is far more flavorful when ground to order, so use your micro planer or the small side of a box grater.

Keep the unused portion in an air tight container in a dark cupboard. Please do not use ground nutmeg!

 

Baked Greens with Ricotta Cheese

 

Ingredients 

½ onion chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 bunch lacinto kale

1 bunch spinach

A good grating of nutmeg (1 teaspoon)

A big pinch of salt

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

2 egg yolks

¾ cup light cream or whole milk

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Sauté onion and garlic in a cast iron skillet or oven proof pan. Throw in the kale and spinach and cook until wilted. Take off the heat. Blend the ricotta cheese, egg yolks, nutmeg, salt and Tabasco sauce in a bowl.

Fold into the spinach mixture and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until ricotta is golden and puffy.

 

Pork Loin Braised in Milk

(Adapted from The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan)

 

Ingredients 

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 pound pork loin

1 tsp. salt

freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg

2 1/2 cups whole milk

Nutmeg.

Grated nutmeg.

 

Directions

Heat butter and oil over medium high heat in a casserole that is barely bigger than the roast itself. Brown the meat on all sides.

Add salt, pepper, milk and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and leave the lid slightly ajar.

Cook slowly for about 2 hours, turning and basting the meat from time to time. If necessary, you can add a little more milk. By the time the meat is cooked, the milk will have coagulated into small, brownish clusters. Remove the meat to a cutting board, carve, and arrange on platter.

Add 2 or 3 tbsp. warm water to the pot, turn the heat to high, and boil away the water while scraping and loosening the entire cooking residue in the pot, you will end up with mounds of nutty, slightly disconcerting-looking, sweet-smelling clusters of milk.

Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve with sautéed shaved Brussels and roasted potatoes.

2 Comments to “Baked greens and pork loin”

  1. Sarah Stoner says:

    I had a feeling I’d love this Baked Greens with Ricotta Cheese recipe! It’s *delicious* I made it this week & I’m a fan.

    As I was making it I also wondering about the mention of Tabasco in the body of the recipe. It’s not mentioned as an ingredient in the list, so I just dashed some in – tasted great. Conversely, the milk is mentioned in the ingredients list, yet there’s no instruction in the body of what to do with it/ when to add it.

    Luckily, it’s a very simple intuitive recipe and turned out just fine – just great, in fact. Thanks!

  2. Sarah Stoner says:

    I also added shitake mushrooms, because I had them in my fridge, and yum yum yum. Again, this is a great recipe as is, and also seems highly adaptable as a base veggie ‘souffle’ type dish.

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