Not far from here is a little town in the Sibillini mountains called Montemonaco, a place we like to visit several times a year. The Sibillinis (a protected national park) are part of the Apennine range, the mountains that split Italy into East and West, the “spine” of the country.
see here for more: http://www.sibillini.net/en/index.html
Both Le Marche which lays on the East side of the Apennines and Umbria on the West side are famous for lots of fabulous food stuff, including prosciutto, salamis, truffles and porcini mushrooms.
Once you eat a local prosciutto you’ll never go back to eating the famous prosciuttos like Parma for instance. Ours are so flavorful, and in the case of the butchers I go to, are made from animals that are raised humanely by the butchers and eat food grown by the same butchers; in other words, animals that get to run about outdoors with their mates and are fed good quality food without hormones and antibiotics.
Back to Montemonaco.
I love to visit this quirky little shop in the main piazza:
They sell wonderful local delicacies: proscuitto, salamis, cheeses from sheep, goat and cow, all sorts of lovely breads, pickles, pasta, legumes and my favorite, truffles and porcini mushrooms.
You can get a sandwich made for you and wine served in a 5 liter jug with a plastic cup to consume in the piazza. I’m not sure how they charge for the wine, by estimated consumption? Often I see a group of men with the jug and sandwiches, hunters, mushroom hunters and farmers all having a grand time outside the shop. Dare I say gossiping?
Here is a view towards the sea (and our house) from Montemonaco
Dried Porcinis are available year round, fresh ones are available earlier in the season
Notice the bread to the left of the mushrooms. It’s a local seasonal bread made with dried figs and walnuts…nice stuff.
Once home again, too tired to make a large dinner, this is what I did:
I quickly sauteed some broccoli rape in olive oil, hot pepper flakes and a touch of garlic:
Shaved some black truffles I bought in the shop in Montemonaco:
Cooked some lovely purchased tagliatelle made from unrefined flour (more on that subject soon).
Then drizzled over the pasta some of our just pressed olive oil…oh so green and spicy that I had gently browned a garlic clove in, and mixed in the shaved truffles.
A dinner fit for kings.