- Crostini of tartufo
- Cappelletti pasta in capon broth
- Galantina of chicken
- Parmigiana di gobbo
- Serpentone (or Attorta)
Just inside the walls of Perugia, a city immersed in an uncontaminated natural environment, but also rich with important testaments both artistic and cultural, our Cesarina Giuliana’s house is the background for a culinary journey that brings into play Christmas traditions interwoven with vestiges of the past whose roots are found in the Etruscan and Roman civilisations. Among the more noble ingredients, ever present on Umbrian party tables, we find tartufo, which accompanies the crostini.
The Christmas tradition is such that Giuliana must of course prepare the cappelletti pasta in capon broth a “first course among first courses!”. Our Cesarina learnt how to prepare this dish from her great-grandmother Maria, who taught her the art of artfully filling a 4cm square of thin pasta with a cooked stuffing of chicken, pork and veal meats which are used in equal parts. The pasta, according to tradition, is rolled out with a “rasagnolo” (rolling-pin), which enables the correct degree of smoothness and thickness.
In family tradition, linked to the day of December 25, when the whole family is gathered around the warmth of the domestic fire, the galantina of chicken also plays a part. Almost certainly aided by her mother Lea, an essential guide and teacher of sacred culinary arts, Giuliana commenced preparation of the galantina the preceding day, when the chicken, boned, skinned and cut into slices, is mixed with veal and pork meats, proscuitto crudo, tongue and other ingredients which we will not disclose at this point in order not to ruin the delicious surprise…we will give only one or two tips, for those of you who are interested in reproducing this “culinary exercise”… after cooking, the galantina is wound in a thin un-perfumed cotton cloth and served with a glaze made with the meat broth to which our Cesarina adds a little colla di pesce (fish glue).
As the vegetable dish, a parmigiana di “gobbo”, without which, once more, it wouldn’t be Christmas: in fact, traditionally this vegetable is eaten at parties to celebrate the end of the year, recalling the farming custom of “paying the price” to his/her master with cardo and Capon.
Closing today this journey through Umbrian tastes arrives the serpentone (or attorta), a traditional dessert with a marzipan base where candied cherries are used to represent the eyes of the snake.
In a region like this, suspended between sacred and profane, there are in fact numerous culinary preparations linked to religious beliefs such as that which says that the cutting of the serpent, the symbol of original sin, symbolizes the supremacy of good over evil.
In addition, a taste of pinolata, typical Perugian amaretti with a base of pine-nuts and sugar.