Friends who know my cooking, know I’ve kind of got a soft spot for warm wintery spices. A beloved past sous chef of mine, now owner of La Medusa, even goes to the extent of “affectionately” referring to me a “christmas wh@re” when speaking of the spice profile in my charcuterie.
What can I say, I love the earthy sweetness that spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and star anise can bring to a savory meat dish.
It all started about 10 years ago, when I asked a friend of mine, owner of a local salumeria (who may or may not be the father of a famous TV Italian chef) about the spices in his veal meatballs. He looked at me with that wink in his eye he gets, and said:
“it’s a touch of cinnamon, ….you need to go to Tuscany”
and so I did.
-so when you twirl a noodle of today’s
Pappardelle, with Beef Ragu alla Toscana
..and get a hit of that sweet earthiness mingling
with the aromas of red wine and caramelized beef.
Just imagine ‘Dino, with that twinkle in his eye, whispering
“shhhh….it’s the cinnamon”
Cavatelli, with salt cod, tomato, olives and potatoes
Fusilli, with toasted Almond-pine nut-basil pesto