5 October 2006 -
7 January 2007

At Home in Renaissance Italy

Renaissance Recipes

These recipes are adapted from Bartolomeo Platina's 'On right pleasure and good health' (1475).

Sicilian Macaroni - This is how to make pasta the old-fashioned way.

Mix together well ground white flour, moistened with the white of an egg, rosewater and plain water. Roll this into slender bits like a straw, stretched to the length of half a foot. With a very thin iron stylus, scrape out the middle. Then, as you remove the iron, you leave them hollow. Then, spread out just so and dried in the sun, they will last for 2 or 3 years, especially if they are made in the month of the August moon. They should be cooked in rich broth and poured into dishes and sprinkled with grated cheese, fresh butter and sweet herbs. This dish needs to be cooked for two hours.

Mustard in Morsels - A perfect treat to pop into your lunchbox.

Mix together mustard and raisins that have been well ground, with a little cinnamon and clove and from this mixture prepare little morsels or rolls. Once they have dried on a trencher you can carry them with you wherever you please. And when you want to use them soak them either in vinegar or must which was grape juice before fermentation was complete.

Potage with Turnips

Cook in rich broth turnips that have been well washed and cut up into nice bits. Then cook them a second time in broth even better than before, if possible. When it has boiled put in little pieces of lard, pepper and saffron. Serve it to your guests as soon as you have taken it off the fire.

A dish made from the heads and entrails of capons and hens - This dish makes use of all parts of the bird, showing that not wasting food was an important concern for Renaissance Italians.

You should wash well the liver, lungs, feet, heads and necks of hens and other birds, place them in water and boil them then transfer into a dish without the broth. Dress with vinegar, mint and parsley and sprinkle with pepper or cinnamon and serve immediately.

Roast Chicken - This is an interesting take on an old favourite.

This is an interesting take on an old favourite. You will roast a chicken after it has been well plucked, cleaned and washed, and after roasting it, put it into a dish before it cools off and pour over it either orange juice or verjuice which was slightly fermented juice of unripe grapes. Grape juice can be used instead, with rosewater, sugar and well-ground cinnamon, and serve it to your guests.

Fried Broad Beans

Take broad beans that have been cooked and mixed with onions, figs, sage and several pot-herbs and either put them into a frying pan that has been well greased with soft fat, or else rub them with oil and then fry them. Place onto a wooden trencher or a flat surface, spread into the form of a pancake and sprinkle spices over it.

Boiled Eggs - We would call these poached eggs.

Into boiling water put fresh eggs without the shell. When they harden, take them out right away; they should be tender. Pour over them sugar, rosewater, sweet spices and verjuice the slightly fermented juice of unripe grapes. Grape juice can be used instead or orange juice. There are those who sprinkle them with grated cheese, but this is not to my taste.

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