The Italians call it a tegame di coccio or a pentola di terracotta. What cooks in it–a stew, a sauce, a roast– is, well, bliss. During the long cook, fragrance permeates your house. Of rabbit ala cacciatore. Of polpettone. Of lamb shoulder. You smell the meat, but also there is the unmistakable fragrance of hot terracotta. You smell the pot. It smells so good. Why I don’t know. It just does.
In my wife’s region in Italy—San Marino and Romagna—you’re likely to find pasta served with tuna sauce. Wait, let me revise that statement. In my mother-in-law’s kitchen, and in the kitchen of my wife’s old aunt over there, you would be very likely to find pasta served with tuna sauce–like the local spaghetti with clams, only tuna. And red. It is crazy delicious. Where we live, in the US Midwest, you don’t find clams. Well, they’re there. But if you’re picky about clams, you’ll picture a “do not touch” sign, in neon, close by. Tuna, on the other hand, is available.
How to make a great roast and hardly lift a finger
It’s 4:00 a.m. I’m awake, in the kitchen, still not quite on local time since coming home from Italy. Times like these, I think about pork roast. It’s a way of dreaming back to Italy. Yesterday I bought a three pounder—pork butt, bone in—from Nick, my local butcher pal. What’s there to do at 4:00 a.m.? Get to work on lunch. Dream backward and forward.