What a wonderful and different springtime I have had this year! I am back from the most exciting book tour in the US where I have visited old and new friends and presented my cookbook at 4 different locations. Also, I have taken with me a little bit of Umbria: a hand-woven cloth by the Brozzetti Atelier, a Deruta plate by Franco Mari, several bottles of fragrant San Potente olive oil and Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino wine.
My wish was not only to talk about my book and food philosophy, but to be an ambassador of our marvelous region and its many talents. This has been so appreciated that I have even appeared in an article by Rita Cipalla on the Italo Americano.
During a month-long visit, I have been involved in a whirlwind of activities thanks to the dedication of many friends who hosted me in their homes and helped me arranging all events. Also, many more friends have joined the events traveling often from far away. I was overjoyed to see you and I am so grateful to all of you for your enthusiasm and generosity!
In Seattle I have given a presentation at the Seattle Perugia Sister City Association , had a book signing at Caffe Umbria at Pioneer Square and joined the students of Percorso Italiano language school (see below the video of both Italian class and presentation).
In Palm Springs I was hosted by my friends Jack and Angene and I held an outdoor pasta session 😀 thanks to the support of Just Fabulous, the only bookshop in California where my books are on sale.
In Nashville, where I was hosted by my friends Wes and Linda, Nick Pellegrino honored me at his brand new restaurant Mangia Nashville. He cooked a brilliant dinner based on my cookbook which was served with a perfect selection of Umbrian wines. I was almost moved to tears when I realized he had made my own meal gluten-free so I could taste the entire menu! Over 80 people attended, we ate and danced and had a fabulous time.
Now I am back home and it’s good to be with my family again, but I miss my lovely friends, it’s been such an incredible experience to be with you! I wish I had more place for all the photos but even if you are not in this page Deena, Alexei, Mary, Tammy, Jan, Mimi, Jeff, Kimberly, Patti, Sid, Duane, Margie, Marilyn, Heather, Josh, Norma, Cindy, Vicky, Michelle, Becky, John, Corrie, Beth, the list is long…. you are all in my heart!
In fact, I hope to repeat my book tour next year in the early spring. If you wish to host me and have ideas for venues for public events like the ones described above, please do send me an email. I am building up a list and start planning next fall.
Now life is back to normal and busy as usual, but I always take the time to cook wholesome food from scratch. Even when I have hardly any time. I can always find and easy recipe, just ask me, I’ll be happy to share.
Balsamic and Sage Chicken Scaloppine
- 300 g (10 oz) boneless, skinless, organic, thinly sliced chicken breast fillets
- wheat flour or a gluten-free flour of your choice (e.g. rice) for dredging
- 10 g (2 teaspoon) butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- one handful fresh sage leaves
- 3 tablespoon white wine
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- a sprinkle of brown sugar
- salt and black pepper to taste
The chicken in this recipe must cook very quickly, so it’s important to slice it as thin as possible without shredding it, no more than 0.5 cm (1/4 inch). Have your side dishes and the dinner table ready. Place all ingredients near the cooktop. Pour the wine in a small cup as it might flambè. You want to flash-cook the meat on fierce heat and serve it the very minute is ready.
Coat chicken slices in flour. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet on high then add butter, olive oil and 3-4 sage leaves. As soon as the butter starts melting, about 20 sec., add the chicken slices and brown lightly, about one minute per side. Season with salt and pepper.
Add wine and cook over high heat until slightly reduced, about 1/2 minute. Turn the slices once to coat them in the sizzling wine. Add balsamic vinegar and a small pinch of brown sugar (or half teaspoon honey) then shake the skillet to coat the chicken slices or turn once more. Transfer the chicken onto a plate, decorate with additional fresh sage leaves and serve immediately.
I like these scaloppine accompanied by an arugula salad simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice or with steamed/blanched greens saute in olive oil, garlic and fennel seeds or with my zucchini carpaccio. If I need starch but have no time I might take a few new potatoes, pierce them all over with a fork and microwave until tender – 5 to 10 min depending on size – then split and drizzle with my best olive oil.
Never ever, will scaloppine and pasta meet on the same plate in my house. Serves 2. Buon appetito!