Recipe list

"My first job in New York was grilling chickens at DDL Food Show, the big fancy food store that Dino di Laurentiis, the movie director, opened on Columbus Avenue in 1983," Francesco recalls. "At most I had call for 3 or 4 Chickens a day, but when Dino asked how many chickens I was cooking, I told him 90 to 100 because I was afraid to lose my job." Francesco's own roast chicken could not be simpler. The secret ingredient is the herbed salt he uses as seasoning.
In Venice both rich and poor hunted birds for sport and sustenance. This recipe for guinea hen with black pepper sauce suggests the Renaissance, when spice played an important role in flavoring, often counterbalanced with a touch of sweetness. "Game birds are lean," Francesco says, "Which is why we use the bacon." Baby pheasant can be substituted.
"This is about as fancy as chicken gets in Venice," Francesco says. Chicken with cheese and prosciutto is a northern Italian combination of long standing, the ham and cheese is infusing the mild chicken with flavor. Francesco combines the pinwheel slices with mushrooms to serve either on a bed of greens or on pasta. This recipe can be expanded using as many chicken breasts as needed, to make a buffet party dish. It's convenient because some of the preparation is easily done in advance. Once the chicken is cooked, the slices of stuffed chicken rolls can be arranged around the edge of a platter of arugula salad or cooked pasta.
Here is hearty peasant fare from Treviso and the mountains north of Venice. "Dishes for the poor take longer too cook," Francesco observes. The pigeon soup enriched with bread is a second-day bonus using leftovers or extra pigeons (or ducks, for that matter) that have been sautéed or roasted. "This is traditional food, not something we would serve in a restaurant," Francesco says. Yet the result, a dramatic puff of bread layered with game, consommé, and cheese, is as magnificent as it is delicious.
This is Marcella Hazan's recipe. She prepared it for lunch on the terrace outside the lovely, antique-filled top-floor apartment she and her husband, Victor, share in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The Hazan's served the quail with polenta.
This is Marcella Hazan's recipe. She prepared it for lunch on the terrace outside the lovely, antique-filled top-floor apartment she and her husband, Victor, share in the Cannaregio district of Venice. The Hazan's served the quail with polenta.
"I love this dish the way it's done in Venice, with the liver in small pieces," Francesco says. "But when Americans come into Remi, they want the liver medium-rare and that's impossible, so I started making it with big pieces of liver." This is another of those dishes that Adam Tihany cites as evidence of the Chinese connection. It's simply a stir-fry. Another theory connects the small pieces of meat to the fork, a utensil first used at the table in Venice. Fynes Moryson, the early-17th-century visitor from England, marveled that Venetians do not touch their meat; they are served small pieces to be taken up with the fork. The liver in small pieces with golden onions, is one of the most superb dishes on the menu of the Hotel Cipriani.
"I can remember how we used to eat all the parts of the animal that nobody else wanted," Francesco says. "Poor women would go to the butcher and ask for two pounds of lungs for the cat. They did not want to look cheap. But then they'd take it home, flour and fry it, and serve it for dinner." It's no wonder that a liver dish is considered a Venetian classic or that this deliciously savory tongue dish is also popular. The sauce is similar to a green sauce.
Simply roasted racks of lamb are an excellent foil for many of the potato and vegetable dishes typical of Venice. Francesco recommends spezzatino di verdure, or vegetable casserole, with the racks of lamb. His mashed potatoes are excellent as well.
Roman Saltimbocca alla Romana: veal roman style

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