September 11, 2007

Changing of the seasons

fresh whole porcini, caps to be grilled stems for risotto with wild mint

Coming from California, I really only had one set of clothes, the weather never really changed. Add a sweater, take off a sweater.

In Italy, not only are there the four seasons, there are also the mezza stagione, where one dresses like an onion, come una cipolla, in layers. Chilly and damp in the mornings and late evenings, hot sun during the day. Constantly layering and unlayering.

This syndrome also includes fully "changing" ones closet and wardrobe, a major weekend job for Italian housewives.

For me, it is a celebration of new foods, which disappear and reappear once or twice a year.
We just had our first porcini of the season.

These precious gifts from nature come on a hot day ,after it has rained , under chestnut and oak trees at a certain altitude, if you get them before they decay!

My favorite porcini preparation is to grill the caps, which have thin slices of garlic slipped into tiny slits and fresh nepitella, catmint, similar to oregano and mint.

the fresh grilled caps, served with roast pork

Fresh white cannellini beans, bought from the Central Market, already shelled.

First stewed with fresh sage, garlic and olive oil.
The stewed beans are recooked in a sage and garlic infused tomato sauce and
served with grilled sausage.

That is what I call pork and beans!

Recipe coming next!


  1. I never thought of studding the mushrooms like that. What a great idea.

  2. I love dressing like an onion! So glad the time is arriving!

    Also love porcini and cannellini and, and, and....

  3. I was fortunate to eat the porcini with judy and Marianne vandenburg in Florence last year. I can only dream about fresh porcini in Kansas.WOW! what memories!!!

  4. The passing of a season can be sad in some ways, but timely in others. Just when I can't stand finding another thing to do with a zucchini - beans and mushrooms come in to the picture. Yahoo! I love these fall flavors. You are so fortunate to have easy access to fresh porcini there. I never thought of using mint with them in a risotto. Will have to give it a try. And those beans and sausages I will definitely make. Grazie!

  5. 'Dressing like an onion' is my new favorite style, JFW! however today it was peel off, peel off... HOT!!L'indienne summer arrives in SW France but the French Kitchen is defintely Fall as those fecund figs, wild mushrooms and first game birds hit the stove. This weekend I used fresh coco beans to make a version of faux cassoulet like your pork and beans! Great minds....