Posts Tagged ‘Anna del Conte’

Poor broccoli is often the butt of jokes–probably because people remember it from their schooldays, served up looking limp and tasting of very little.
These days the tendency is perhaps to undercook vegetables.
Not this time!
Italian cookery writer, Anna del Conte, first ate this unusual dish in a friend’s house in Milan.

In this recipe the broccoli is cooked longer-than-usual–covered–on a low heat. It becomes meltingly soft with the cooking time and the flavours meld wonderfully.

Not a great looker, but wins on taste!

for 2/4

700gms/1  1/2 lb broccoli–the bunched florets broken up into bite size pieces and the stalks stripped of their rough outer layer and diced

5 garlic cloves–peeled, halved lengthwise and the little green shoot removed

1 red chili–sliced (hot chili!)

2 tblsps olive oil

salt and pepper

a lemon--quartered

Heat the oil in a sauté pan that has a tight fitting cover.

Add the garlic and chili and fry for a couple of minutes.


Add the broccoli–stalks and florets.

Turn them over thoroughly in the oil.


Cover the pan and turn the heat down to the lowest possible.

Cook for 40 minutes–checking from time to time to prevent burning.

Take care when checking not to break up the softening broccoli into a mush!
Season with salt and pepper.
A little lemon juice squeezed over makes a good finish.
Season with salt and pepper.
A little lemon juice squeezed over makes a good finish.
We had it for lunch today with a baked sweet potato.

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I found this recipe in Anna del Conte’s Classic Food of Northern Italy. It originates from an Umbrian cook, Zia Lidoria, and though in her version is for rabbit, it works well for chicken. [see below one way to cut up a chicken].

The long initial browning of the chicken is a little scary; the pieces seem to be shrinking alarmingly, but they come back to life when liquid is added.

Browning up

1 chicken–cut up into 8/10 pieces

1 tablespoon sage leaves

3 garlic cloves

6 tablespoons olive oil

5 floz white wine vinegar

5 floz hot water

rind of half a lemon—removed without the white pith

2 tblsps capers—drained and squeezed

4 anchovy fillets

1 tblsp chickpea flour

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil  in a large sauté pan.

Chop the garlic and sage together.

Fry the mixture gently until the garlic begins to colour—a couple of minutes.

Add the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them over well in the garlic, sage and oil mixture.

This is the long bit and will take about 45 minutes!

Keeping the heat low, turn the pieces every few minutes as they begin to take on a good colour.

Hold your nerve and when they are nicely browned add the vinegar and hot water.

Turn the chicken in the liquid, season well with salt and pepper and cover the pan.

Cook on a low heat for a further 40  minutes.

While the chicken cooks on, chop the lemon rind, the capers and the anchovies finely together, then sprinkle in the flour, stirring it in well.

When it’s time, remove the chicken pieces and keep them warm in a heated serving bowl, covered with a lid or foil.

Try the sauce in the pan and if necessary reduce it a little to concentrate the taste.

Stir in the lemon rind mix and cook for a minute.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with brown basmati rice or chickpea mash.

We had some broccoli with it last night.

Mark Bitman of the New York Times bones a chicken in this video and explains clearly how to do it and why there are good reasons to try.

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