In the previous episode we dived in a gourmet tour in the most famous and appreciated region of Italy, Tuscany, but, as you know very well, the Bel Paese is a mine of fascinating and unknown places to the most common tourist routes. This is why I decided to explore with you a less famous region, Umbria especially in the area of Lake Trasimeno, a very mysterious and seductive lake.
Half-hidden, protected by greenery and prying eyes, the Scarzuola is an esoteric magical place where you dive almost by accident and from which you leave not only influenced, but deeply changed.
La Scarzuola is located in Montegiove in the municipality of Montegabbione. The convent built by San Francesco with its spuds – the marsh plant from which the name of the place derives – was bought in 1957 by architect Tomaso Buzzi who chose it as the perfect place to host his ideal city: an architectural jewel entirely made of tuff it is the perfect metaphor of a mystical-esoteric journey through human history, in the incessant search for truth.
Marco Solari takes you on a journey, always different, to discover the Buzziana Scarzuola alternating explanations learned to loud laughter.
It is two hours of a story made of fragments of esoteric, spiritual, religious, astrological notions, policies linked by a logical thread that is not always understandable but certainly fascinating and indispensable to move between the metaphors of the universe of Buzzi.
In the green heart of Umbria, among the reeds and the enchanting white water lily, lies the Trasimeno Lake, a real natural paradise where wild ducks, cormorants, the kite, the kingfisher are crowded. Beyond the flat slope, there are gentle hills with woods alternating with fields of sunflowers and corn, vineyards and expanses of olive trees. Here agriculture is very practiced and in a traditional way.
There are several municipalities in the Trasimeno area: some overlook the lake, others are not very far from the charm and attraction of this stretch of water. Lake Trasimeno is one of the few Italian lakes that has no river that feeds it, it is also possible to turn the lake with several boats, in the middle of the lake there are some small islands.
San Feliciano – Rosso di sera
The Little Village of San Feliciano on Lake Trasimeno is known for its fish, especially the big carp nicknamed “Queen” by local fishermen. The lakeside restaurant Rosso di Sera, filled with fish, seems like an extension of the lake. Its amiable owner, Federica Trovati, transforms local ingredients into exquisite delicacies using both her grandmothers’ recipes.
Crostini with carp roe
Because of its geographical position, Umbria doesn’t have its own seafood. But the Lake Trasimeno is filled with carp and perch, both widely used in local cooking. To prepare the delicate antipasto below, you need fresh carp roe, locally called the “caviar of Lake Trasimeno”
COOKING TIME: 20 MIN
Ingredients for 4 people:
Queen carp eggs g. 200,
Olive oil 3 tablespoons
Tomato passed 1 spoon.
Beat together parsley, garlic, capers and anchovies, put everything in a pan with a little pepper and salt, waffle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Add the carp eggs, a dash of white wine, season with salt and pepper, (turn well to fan the eggs) add fish stock as needed. Add very little tomato past.
Tagliatelle with tomato-perch ragú
A harmoniously flavoured dish featuring lake perch and a dense pasta. The density of the pasta is because Signora Federica makes her dough with goose eggs.
COOKING TIME: 2 hour
Ingredients for 4 people:
Flour 00 300gr
For Tomato Perch Ragu:
400 gr of grouper slices
400 gr of tomato pulp
half a glass of white wine
extra virgin olive oil
After cleaning the groupers, sauté in a pan a clove of garlic, onion, carrot, celery and a little ‘chili. Add the slices of grouper to the sauté, then blend with the wine. When the wine has evaporated and the cooked fish chop the slices and mix them with the sauce. At this point you just have to add the tomato pulp, salt and pepper. Then add a mixture of basil and parsley. Your grouper ragout is ready!
Carp “Queen” stuffed and roasted
This classic dish from Lake Trasimeno owes its name to the cooking method: the carp is stuffed and roasted in the same way Umbrians make Porchetta, the traditional stuffed pig.
The fatty pork stuffing, along with aromatic herbs including wild fennel, give a fish a rich porky flavour and crispy skin.
If you are not living near Trasimeno, take the idea of the stuffing and apply it to other lake fish, or even sea bass.
Montone – Antica Osteria
Time seems to have stopped in tiny Montone, a medieval village in the north Tiber Valley that offers up to visitors a quiet, “uncontaminated” vision of ancient Umbria.
Yet, in summertime, Montone turns lively; the Umbria Film Festival, attracts visitors from all over Europe.
The Antica Osteria, in the cozy main square of the village, is run by Giancarlo Colcelli and his wife Nicoletta, who cooks on her own for 40 people a day. Attached to the Osteria is the norcineria, a shop that sells local salami, truffles and other local products.
Pan-roasted pork with polenta bread cooked on a “panaro”
A “poor” dish that rich in flavour. This stew, typical of the medieval town of Montone, near Perugia, is traditionally eaten together with a savory polenta cake cooked in the fireplace on a terracotta baking they called “panaro”.
Stuffed and roasted duck
Just like carp (In Lake Trasimeno), duck is also cooked in the style of porchetta in Umbria, stuffed with fatty pork, rosemary, and fennel, and then roasted. Wild fennel makes this tasty recipe a seasonal one. But fresh rosemary will give it enough flavour, so if you have trouble finding wild fennel in your neighborhood, don’t despair.
COOKING TIME: 2 hour
Ingredients for 4 people:
a young duck of about 1.2 kg
2 thick slices of stretched pancetta
a handful of garlic cloves
dried wild fennel (the summits with seeds)
Flame the duck and perfectly clean the skin with tweezers. Cut off the legs and start at the wings, then I remove the fat deposits located in the back, I wash and let it drip well. Mix a pinch of fennel seeds with a pinch of salt and ground pepper.
Divide 2 cloves of garlic in half and coat them with the mixture of salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Dry the duck also inside with the kitchen paper and with a sharp knife I make an incision to the attachment of the thighs and the base of the breasts, inserting the knife parallel to the skin and towards the upper part of the bird.
Put the garlic cloves in the incisions. I generously condense the inside of the duck with salt and pepper and stuff it with a dozen cloves of garlic in a slightly crushed shirt, slices of bacon and a bunch of fennel sprigs. I close the two openings with the toothpicks, then I lightly grease the whole surface of the bird with a little oil to make salt and pepper stick.
Finally I place it in a pan with on the bottom, if possible, a grille that keeps the duck raised from the bottom. Pass the pan in the oven previously heated to 200 ° and cook for about an hour and ½. After the first half hour, I turn around a couple of times and puncture the skin several times where I see that it is thicker.
In the last 10 minutes of cooking, raise the temperature of the oven to make the skin crisp. When cooked, I let it rest in the oven off for about ten minutes. The hot servant, cut into pieces, accompanied with browned potatoes in a pan and a salad.