Reveling in boar-dom and black cabbage

Yep, it’s time to hunker down, cozy up and console ourselves over the end of a glorious summer. Two new menu items herald the arrival of autumn and cooler temps: the first is Ribollita, $5, a beloved Tuscan peasant dish made with the very typical ingredients of black cabbage (cavolo nero, or dinosaur kale in americano), cannellini beans (ain’t no coincidence that other Italians refer to Tuscans as mangiafagioli ;-) ) and bread along with other vegetables, is hearty and deeply soul-satisfying and guaranteed to chase the chill away. Seriously, you could handle a full day of vendemmia on a bellyful of this stuff.

The second dish is Pappardelle al Cinghiale, $8, another heavy-hitter from the Tuscan repertoire. Paolo makes the pasta by hand every day and labors lovingly over its sauce: a heavenly–or is it sinful?–concoction of sassy, range-roving wild boar that’s first marinated with juniper berries, bay leaf and rosemary and then stewed with red wine and a touch of tomato until it’s fork tender and as burnished as the nose of the Porcellino in Florence’s Mercato Nuovo.

So unleash your inner Tuscan and come on down! Ti aspettiamo….

Inzimino

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Molto, molto fiorentino… this dish is dear to the hearts of many a denizen of the city on the Arno. A poor man’s dish, like so many of the honest-to-goodness stars of Italian cuisine, its base is vegetables–in this case mainly spinach–simmered with tender morsels of squid in a sauce of tomato, red wine and herbs. In Tuscany, vegetable-based dishes have always been an economical way to feed hungry bellies. (Just think of the classics like ribollita or pappa al pomodoro). But in Italy, one need never sacrifice feasting to the God of frugality.

So come feast on inzimino with us!