Italian Food and Wine – Stay Warm with Northern Italy’s Favorite

My Bollito Misto Dinner

Italians, including myself, have various entrees and side dishes to warm the body and soul when we come in from the cold. Some of our favorites are Braised Beef with Red Wine, Chicken Tenders with Lemon and Mushrooms, Duck Breast Hunters Style and Grandma’s Delicate Veal Casserole. However, our favorite is a meal that dates back to the Etruscans, Bollito Misto. It is a meal that everyone enjoys. Although, some folks my not like an item cooked, there is something for everyone. However, just about everyone enjoys all the food cooked.

From the photograph, Bollito Misto may appear to be a difficult meal to prepare. It is not. If you can boil water you can prepare Bollito Misto. However, it is not a one-pot meal. It is best to cook the cotechino sausage in it’s own pot and the veal tongue and chicken in their pots. The beef and the veal briskets may be cooked together with the vegetables. When a food item is tender, remove it from the pot and keep it warm in warm broth. The liquid that the tongue and cotechino is cooked in is to be discarded. The chicken broth and the meat broth are to be stained, saved and mixed together for the broth served with the meal. We always serve Mostarda and salsa verde with Bollito Misto, and often chose a third or forth dip, such as Salsa Rosso or an herb-aioli.

The wines that pair best with Bollito Misto are Barbaresco, Barolo and Amarone Della Valpolicella; however, my father always enjoyed Bardolino Rose.

My fondest memory of a Bollito Misto meal was at our weekend home on a snowy February day. The evening before we drove to Somers with just a few snow flurries. In the middle of the night the wind began to howl and a peek out the window had us imaging a blizzard. In the morning, about eight inches of snow covered all the land and our frozen backyard lake. Anxious to ice skate, I went to the edge of the lake to check the ice. At the edge of the lake the ice was about three inches thick, and I walked out further on the lake and the ice was eight inches thick. Ideal for ice-skating, With a snow shovel and ice skates I cleared an ice skating ring for everyone to enjoy.  While six of us were out on the ice working up an appetite, Dad was in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

After a few hours of skating our stomachs were gurgling for food. We walked into the kitchen and the aromas of boiled meats and vegetables were a delightful surprise. We dug in immediately, and bragged about our skating.

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