Yuzu is a captivating versatile citrus that has been valued in Asian cuisines for centuries. This twist on an Italian condiment employs the yuzu in a fusion-style preparation. The young green yuzu fruit of September has turned a mellow golden yellow. Both the young green and the mature yellow fruits are used in cooking, so we’ve enjoyed fabulous yuzu all through autumn and winter. The rind is very aromatic, the juice is tart. Yuzu adds a striking bright note to vegetables. Its flavors are more complex than lemon – maybe like a combination of grapefruit plus mandarin orange with a hint of sour lime? Pair the zest with pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt – and this gremolata will brighten up any winter roasted vegetable dish!
Mario Batali’s Osso Buco
Martha Stewart’s Creamy Polenta
A match made in heaven…
Last Sunday Father Adam and I made this Osso Buco. We were impressed first with how absolutely delicious it was, and even more with how much easier it was to make than we had imagined. While Father Adam browned the seasoned veal shanks in olive oil in the hot Le Creuset French Oven, I prepared the Basic Tomato Sauce.
Once browned, the shanks are removed from the pot (to rest in the Italian countryside).
Carrot, onion, celery, and thyme are then browned in the same pot over medium heat. The tomato sauce, chicken stock, and white wine are added to the pan and brought to a boil.
The shanks and accumulated juices go back in. Cover and cook in a 375° oven. Now we have two and a half hours to relax, drink the rest of that bottle of wine, chop some parsley, toast some pine nuts, and zest a lemon.
Later the meat is falling off the bone and the sauce is rich and complex. About 20 minutes before the osso buco is to be done, we prepare the polenta, recipe here.
Serve the tender veal shank over Creamy Polenta and sprinkle the top with Toasted Pine Nut Gremolata, made by combining toasted pine nuts with chopped Italian parsley and lemon zest. The complete recipe for Osso Buco, Tomato Sauce, and Gremolata can be found here.
Perhaps you noticed the portion size of those shanks? There was plenty left over. So I cooked some mostaccioli, tossed with olive oil and the leftover gremolata. I shredded the remaining veal and heated it up with the sauce.
Mostaccioli, known in Italy as “Penne Lisce,” are a specialty of the Campania Region in southern Italy which includes the cities of Naples, Capri and Sorrento. Penne, which means “pen” in Italian, gets its name from its shape. Penne are tube-shaped with angled ends cut to resemble a quill or pen point. Unlike penne which are ridged, mostaccioli are smooth in texture. They are designed for chunky tomato, meat and cream sauces. (from Barilla website)
I have a fondness for mostaccioli because growing up in the 1960’s in a non-Italian household in Chicago, this was exotic! The spelling and pronunciation were foreign. In addition, we immensely enjoyed Mom’s elbow macaroni with butter and melting American cheese torn into strips, and spaghetti with broiled pork chops on top, which we called “PC & S.”
My mother served her mostaccioli tossed with butter and canned S & W Stewed Tomatoes with Onion, Celery, and Bell Pepper. We loved it.
I once asked her if she had to do that airplane trick to get us to eat when we were little. You know, where the food on the spoon is the airplane and the hangar is the mouth? She laughed. No. You kids? You ate everything. You were NOT picky eaters!
So, I just called my mother to find out more about this mostaccioli dish she used to make for us. She told me that she used S & W because it tasted the best. It did. I remember. Thanks Ma! Thanks so much…
Mostaccioli with Pine Nut Gremolata, Veal Ragù