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A taste of Autumn luxury

by Maria Linardi last modified 2008-09-01 15:04

The best of Reggio Emilia's seasonal ingredients for two elegant dishes that will have you coming back for more

traditional balsamic vinegar Reggio Emilia paid homage to its traditional balsamic vinegar in the recent "Balsamic days" (Giorni balsamici) festival. The town's acetaie - vinegar factories - opened their doors to the public letting them in on an age-old and evocative tradition. On show were all the town's most famous titbits - cured meats, erbazzone (spinach pie),and, it being Autumn, we can't forget our friend the truffle. Here are two elegant and moreish dishes that make the most of these Autumn ingredients.

Baked apples with ham and balsamic vinegar

Ingredients (serves 8):
300 gr cooked ham
4 rennet apples
8 shallots
balsamic vinegar
Peel and core the apples, then cut them in half horizontally to make 8 "cups". Melt the butter and brush over the apples. Put apples in an ovenproof dish and bake at 200°C for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a spoonful of balsamic vinegar over them. Dice the ham, chop the scallions and sage and cook gently in some butter. Add the 'juice' left by the baked apples, stir and spoon over the apples. Garnish with some finely chopped parsley and serve as a light starter with a dry white wine such as Colli di Rimini Biancame.

TruffleVeal and truffle pie

Ingredients (serves 4):
350 gr white flour
50 gr butter
3 egg yolks
1 egg (beaten)
a pinch of salt
flour and butter (for dusting and greasing)
1.1 kg boned loin of veal
1 stick of celery
1 carrot
1 onion
bay leaves
1 white truffle
100 gr sliced Emmental corn flour
dry white wine
olive oilsalt
Béchamel sauce
350 ml milk
100 gr leeks
35 gr flour
35 gr butter

Sieve the four and make a well in the centre. Add the yolks, butter, salt and approx. 100 ml of cold water. Work into a dough as quickly as possible, then leave aside in the fridge for 30 minutes. Draw up the sides of the meat and tie firmly with string. Heat some oil in a pan and brown meat on all sides. Remove and place in an ovenproof dish with the chopped vegetables. Add 2 bay leaves, some sage, rosemary and then season. Drizzle oil over the top and cook for 60 minutes in an oven preheated to 200°C, adding the wine after approx. 30 minutes. Make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, adding the flour then gradually pouring in the milk, stirring all the time in order to keep the mixture smooth. Cook with some baked leek to flavour. Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible on a floured surface and cut into two pieces. Line a greased tin with one piece of pastry. Layer the sliced meat, béchamel, sliced truffle and Emmental finishing with the white sauce. Cover with remaining pastry and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes at 200°C. While the pie is cooking make a gravy from the meat juices and corn flour. Serve with a bottle of Gutturnio dei Colli Piacentini.

Truffles online - - An online magazine dedicated to truffles
Monari and Federzoni - Balsamic vinegar producers for four generations.

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