Friday, October 16, 2009

Italian dinner (by Kat)

When someone mentions Italian food, do you think of tomatoes and mozzarella?

I do. But I should know better. My favorite Italian food has neither. And as much as I love making and eating cheese, I stand by my comment.

Tonight's dinner was broiled lamb ribs, olive oil rolls, and red potatoes from the garden.

I don't make olive oil rolls very frequently because I can't stop eating them. It's an addiction stronger than fudge, or caramel, or even cheeeeeese.

The rolls come from this book, "The Italian Farmhouse Cookbook" by Susan Herrmann Loomis.

I just noticed that I've talked about two cookbooks on our little website so far, and both books have bright cheery orange covers. Hmmmm. Do I judge cookbooks by their cover? Am I that shallow?

My favorite recipe from this book, by far, is for olive oil rolls. So it's fortuitous that they're sooooo easy to make!

In a bowl, whisk together 1 1/3 cups of warm water, 2 teaspoons yeast,
1/2 cup olive oil, and 1 tablespoon salt.
Add flour, about one cup at a time, for an approximate total of 4 1/2 cups of flour.

Stir as much of the four in as you can, and then plop it onto your counter
and knead briefly, about 4 minutes.


While the bread dough rises, open your package of lamb ribs.
Mine was about 2 pounds.
Inspect the meat, cutting off any excess fat, and rinsing the meat
if that's the kind of thing you do.

I don't bother.

Gather some fresh rosemary from the garden, or dried rosemary
if you have that instead.
Grind the salt and rosemary in the mortar with the pestle until fine.

Next, coat the ribs with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally
with the salt and rosemary.
Check out this garlic from the farmers' market.
Mash it up, and rub that onto the meat as well.

See the salt crystals, the rosemary needles, and the garlic?
To me, it looks like candy.
This is true food porn!

Ok, let the meat sit on the counter and do it's thing while you go back to work on the bread.

When the bread dough has doubled in size, punch it down and let it rest for a few minutes on the counter. Tear off about an ounce at a time and roll into a snake.

Roll one end of the snake toward you, the other away from you, and then pick up the ends and move toward each other.

The dough will twist into a cute little spiral. Pinch the ends, and place on a sil-pat or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to rise.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Don't let them get too brown, just a teensy bit tan.

As soon as you remove them from the oven, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Can you handle a close-up shot?

Are you drooling? I am, and I already ate about a dozen of these guys!

When the bread comes out, crank the oven up to broil.
See the salt crystals on the meat below?
Nope! They've been dissolved and absorbed.
The rosemary still sits on the surface, as does the garlic, but their
flavor has infused the ribs throughout.
See how juicy that meat is now?

So, when the broiler has come up to temperature,
put the ribs in the oven and watch closely.
Test the rolls to make sure you've put on *just* the right amount of salt.
Flip the ribs over after 10 minutes, and wait for the other side to crackle and crisp.
Test a few more rolls for texture, for flavor, or for whatever you reason you can think of.


We ate our ribs and (more) rolls with fresh new red potatoes from the garden. This is a very traditional northern Italian meal, and perfect for a cold almost-winter dinner.

Excuse me now while I go eat another half-dozen rolls!


  1. I was just sitting there drooling, thinking "I'm drooling," and then you said, "Are you drooling"?

    Thank God my daughter's making brownies right now, at least.

  2. Well now, that's my kind of daughter!

    Brownies sound so good...

  3. Hey!!!
    I had that for dinner too!!!