Recipe Category: Preview Issue 201

Recipe

JAPANESE BRAISED PORK

Buta no kakuni, or braised pork, is, I think, one of the most comforting winter dishes. It was a complete revelation when my husband, Nori, cooked this for me for the first time – the flavours and textures were something I had never experienced before. I watched in awe as he trimmed the sharp edges of the daikon to make them slightly rounded – so it would cook evenly. Feel free to do this, but it is by no means a make-or-break step. There are a few other tricks to make a great buta no kakuni – blanching the pork to remove impurities, and making a caramel to coat the pork, but overall, this dish is very quick to prepare. The pork and daikon gently simmer, absorbing all of the wonderful flavours, and later, soft-boiled eggs are added. It is best left to sit in the fridge for several hours after making. The excess fat will solidify and can then be scraped off for a lighter, more pure braise before being reheated. We eat this simply with wilted greens and steamed rice.

Recipe

SPICY PORK & SHIITAKE UDON NOODLES

I have a real love for udon noodles – they’re so comforting. It must have something to do with their thickness, I think. I never tire of eating them in different ways. In Tokyo, for breakfast, served in broth with tempura; topped with many slices of sudachi – a small green citrus fruit with a very sour flavour; or eaten cold with a dipping sauce. At home, though, I usually make them like this: fried with pork mince, wombok and shiitake, all topped with a spicy chilli oil.

Recipe

GNOCCO FRITTO

If you find yourself in Modena, chances are you will eat gnocco fritto (pillowy fried dough) at some point in the day. Whether for breakfast or as a snack with prosciutto, cheese or salami, they’re incredible. They are really easy to eat – almost too easy – so I suggest having a small crowd at the ready to help you devour them. Traditionally fried in pork fat, I’ve opted for a neutral vegetable oil here.

Recipe

PICI WITH LEMON MASCARPONE

Originating in Tuscany, pici are like a fat spaghetti. The exact recipe for the dough varies from family to family – sometimes made with semolina flour, sometimes with an egg added. They are very textural and so comforting to eat. There are a few sauces that traditionally accompany this pasta shape – most often a simple garlicky tomato one but also one of toasted breadcrumbs – which are both delicious. However, I’ve been making variations of this lemon sauce since I was 16, after reading a similar recipe in a River Café cookbook. The sauce doesn’t even need its own pan – it is simply warmed over the pot as the pasta is cooking – making for a simple meal that doesn’t require you to stand at the stove for long periods of time. I have had great success using a combination of pure cream and mascarpone, and an equally fine substitute is, of course, dried pici, spaghetti or bucatini (use 320g for four people). I like my sauce quite zingy, so I’ve left the amount of lemon up to you to adjust – start with one lemon and add the rest if you like.

X