When we lived in Florence and the cold, impossibly damp, wintry weather made our bones rattle, and we layered on sweaters in order to cut down on the exorbitant cost of heating our old stone-walled (small) house, Paolo would make meatloaf for dinner. He would season and combine the ingredients and form a shapely round loaf, and whip up a bright tomatoey sauce that had at its base a flavor-packed soffritto. The charming little loaf cooked in its zesty bath of sauce and meanwhile, Paolo would see to it that the equally-important potatoes were on a slow fire: these lovelies always filled our kitchen with the ambrosial scents of fresh rosemary, sage and marjoram (snipped from our garden minutes before), and would send shock-waves of sudden hunger throughout the house. Our kids would emerge from their lair and I would surface from that deeply-buried place called freelancing-from-home and we would gather in the small, oven-warmed, perfumed kitchen and feign to chat when all we really wanted was to hurry to the table, already set in happy anticipation, perhaps a candle lit because a mundane weeknight dinner suddenly felt festive, special.
And we would eat up the food, every last bit of it, and mop up the sauce with little chunks of bread, and warm ourselves in the good, soft glow of conversation and togetherness.
So here it is: Polpettone con Patate alla Contadina–Tuscan meatloaf with country-style potatoes–served with Paolo’s cart-made bread, $8. We hope you’ll come ’round and give it a try, and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do in famiglia!