Cucina Povera is a lovely book. The pages aren't glossy but like smooth parchment, a pleasant feel to the touch as you turn the pages. This is a cookbook I can say I have read, like a novel, with so many stories and glorious photographs.
And This meal was declared one of the best I've ever tossed together. The best. That's a big statement considering all the dishes concocted in our kitchen.
The Tuscan bread, Pollo Arrosto al Vin Santo and the Pomodori, Fagioli, e Cipolline seemed made for one another. A romance of food combinations that melded better than anything I've put together.
Let's start with the bird.
The bird was a beauty when removed from the oven. Glistening with olive oil, the herbs and garlic all browned and pushed up through the breast meat.
Marsala and browned bits over the roasted chicken
Vin Santo is a Tuscan dessert wine but if you don't have it around your neck of the woods, use Marsala.
Mix up aromatic herbs such as oregano, thyme, basil, garlic powder and parsley. Mince up two garlic cloves and mix this all together.
Take a chicken and pull the skin upwards from the breast, stuffing your herb mixture into the pockets. Rub the bird with olive oil. Place in a 400 F degree oven on it's side for 15 minutes. Do the other side the same way - 15 minutes. Now flip it on it's back for the remainder of the cooking time.
The Tuscan Bread (Please note this recipe is NOT in the book Cucina Povera.........but it blended well with the meal)
I started the dough in the newly acquired bread machine. After it kneaded the first part, I took it out and shaped it, let is rise and brushed it with egg white. THIS was a perfect loaf of bread. I know, it's so vain to brag on oneself but I am not Amish and Doug confirmed what my taste buds were silently telling me.
It was excellent. Maybe the bread machine can knead better than my gnarled old hands, thus having the dough come out so light and pliable. Even the dog was trying to steal this loaf! She's a thief, without question, but she doesn't usually go for the bread.
Pomodori, Fagioli, e Cipolline
which is the sexy way of saying Roasted Tomatoes, Beans and Onions
This hearty vegetable casserole needs no meat for a vegetarian supper.
2 pounds potatoes, peeld and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 pounds onions, (cipolline which I did not have and used red onion and white)
1 bulb fennel, cored and sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
Lucky for me, the chicken was roasting at 400 F degrees, and that is the temp you need to roast these vegetables. Put potatoes, onion and fennel in roasting pan and add olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and roast another 10 to 15 minutes. When it's all tender and blended, add the cooked canellini beans - serve!