Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lidia's Lombardy Dinner

A couple weeks ago I watched an episode of Lidia's Italy where she made dishes from the Lombardy region of Italy. She prepared her recipes for Everyday Roasted Duck, Rice & Lentils and Almond Cake Alla Mantovana for dessert. I'd been craving this meal ever since that episode aired, so I picked up her book at the library and set out to make it last night!

The duck is rinsed, patted dry and placed in a roasting pan. Then it's stuffed with rosemary sprigs, and a mixture of 1/2 c. lemon juice, 1 c white wine and 1/4 c olive oil (i used less) is poured on top. Roast at 400 and baste with juices every so often.
The rice and lentils are prepared with a mixture of pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, and sage sauteed for a few minutes in a pot. Tomato paste is added, followed by white wine and broth, and it simmers to allow the flavours to develop. The lentils are then added, followed by the rice 15 minutes later. The dish cooks for another 15-ish minutes and is finished with parmesan and sliced scallions.
Lidia's almond cake is made with toasted ground almonds, lemon zest and almond extract. She butters the pan and then coats it with breadcrumbs which I haven't seen before. It gave the outside a nice, crunchy crust that was very nice! I served it with berries and slightly sweetened whipped cream with vanilla bean. (On a side note, I baked my cake in a 10 inch springform pan instead of the 9 inch she called for. I should've realized it would take less time since the cake was thinner! Anyway, mine was a tad dry, but next time I'll pay attention!)

These recipes can be found in Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: a feast of 175 regional recipes. After I return this copy to the library, I think I might have to pick up my own! (This is my new strategy for taming my out of control cookbook collection. I'm not allowed to buy one until I first check it out from the library to see if it's worth buying!)

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