Umbria, a central Italian region home to the famous fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli, is often known for the Norcia prosciutto, the Castelluccio lentils, truffles and spelt.
I moved to this marvelous region just recently, but I immediately fell in love. One ingredient I can talk about is pigeon, typically from the Orvieto area, where they were bred. Traditionally pigeon is prepared “in leccarda”, meaning skewered and wrapped with fat like lard or guanciale, and then cooked over the fire. It’s placed over a pot with EVO oil, wine, herbs, anchovies, capers and the pigeon innards, and its fat runs into it while the liquid reduces. The pigeon is continuously bathed with this liquid and eventually served with toasted bread and some Fagioli Secondi del piano di Orvieto cooked in a glass jar – “Al fiasco.” Another beauty is the Cinturello Orvietano pork which has a tender and delicate meat with sweet livers tasting almost like chocolate. I would also highlight the Monteleone pear, an ancient variety which is now quite uncommon. It is perfect to cook a dessert, due to its hard texture and skin. I use it in a sorbet and in a sauce to complete a millefoglie of chestnut and Panpepato (a honey, chocolate, herbs, spices and dried fruit cake).”
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