Bollito Misto and Potato Gnocchi
When we came back from sightseeing Saturday evening, we found the meats already boiling in a pressure cooker, Claudio already mezzaluna-ing his salsa verde (which in Turin is called "bagnetta verde"-little green bath) and Annalisa elbow deep in potato gnocchi dough.
Here's a quick summary of Claudio's Bagnetta verde:
Claudio didn't specify quantities here but did say he added very little garlic so the sauce would be smoother, less punchy. He used the mezzaluna on the first 5 ingredients until he got the paste-like consistency you see here. He then added the last 4 ingredients to taste. The result looked everything like pesto sauce in color and consistency, if that gives you an idea, but tasted very different.
Get a load of this piece of meat! I swear to you it was at least 2 feet wide and 1-1/2 feet tall! Exactly what cuts went into the actual bollito, I'm not sure, except to say veal tongue was one element. All I can say was that ecerything was so tender, when Claudio tried to slice the meat, it fell apart before his knife could cut through anything. Here's a list of meats that would go well in a bollito: beef brisket, chuck, veal rump, stewing hen, cotechino sausage, or any other long boiling-braising meat you know of. The total cooking time is about 4 hours for beef or pork and about 2 for chicken or veal. Italians I know seem not to be interested in the broth that results from boiling these meats along with aromatic vegetables. So unlike with the Spanish "cocido" there is no first course of soup.
What we did have was potato gnocchi with a melted cheese sauce. I learned a couple things while helping Annalisa mane these gnocchi. In a previous recipe, I explained that to get the gnocchi to hold on to as much sauce as possible, you had to draw the tines of a fork across each gnocco. I had done this be putting the piece of dough on the table and pulling a fork across the top of it, thus making a rather flat oval shape with ridges on one side. Annalisa explained to me that gnocchi need not only the fork ridges but also an indentation on the other side made by your thumb. Here's how it works: Put a fork on the table and place a piece of dough on it. With your thumb, press into the dough and roll it down the fork tines. It will roll off the fork and be indented on one side and ridged on the other.
To top off this very satisfying meal, a guest brought Floating Islands (Oeufs a la Neige)! These are whipped egg whites poached in milk and then served with (in this case) a caramel creme anglaise. I have been wanting to make this ever since seeing Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery. The characters in the film made such a big deal of it that I figured Floating Islands were the most sophisticated dessert ever. In Italian they're called something like "peti di signora" (lady's farts) and so the guest who brought these didn't really think they were all that special. They were really tasty, though!