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The barbarian cooking: "la scottiglia" of Conti Guidi at Porciano Castle

  • 2 Kilograms of various types of meat cut in quite small pieces (pheasant, hare, rabbit, cockerel, duck, pork, and so on...)
  • a chopped stuff composed by:
    2 red onions
    2 celery ribs
    2 carrots
    2-3 locks of sweet basil
    a small bunch of parsley
    4 garlic cloves
    the leaves of a small branch of rosemary
    the peel (just the yellow part) of half lemon
    a big garnished bunch composed by a bunch of thyme, one of sweet marjorana and one of "nepitella"
  • a mixture composed by:
    2 glass of white wine
    2 peeled apples, type golden, without core and cut in small pieces
    3 cloves
    one tea spoon of powder cinnamon
    1/2 tea spoon of spices
    a big pinch of dried oreganum basil
    a meat stock cube
    a boletus stock cube and a vegetable stock cube
    the juice of 2-3 lemons
    olive oil
    8 slices of stale Tuscan bread
In a big saucepan with thick bottom, brown the chopped vegetables and the various bunch composed by herbs together with 7-8 spoons of oil, cooking for about 20 minutes over a medium heat and using a lid, and then cook for 10 minutes over a brisky heat and without lid, turning the stuff continously in order to brown it without burning it. In the meanwhile make a tasty broth by using the 3 types of stock cubes in 1/2 litre of water, boiling them for 2-3 minutes. When the chopped vegetables and the herbs are well browned and have a hazel-like colour, make a sort of mixture with the wine, which has been previously warmed, the apples, the spices and the other mentioned ingredients. Add the above mixture to the vegetables in the saucepan, turn and mix very well and let it boil over a medium heat. Then start to add the toughest meats, such as hare and pheasant, and cook them over a medium heat for 15 minutes, turn them very often. Add the other types of meat and continue the cooking, always over a medium heat and turn very often, for 30 minutes more or, alternatively, until all of them are very tender, but not undone, and when the sauce starts to get thicker add the broth (made with the 3 types of stock cubes) gradually until you finish it. Let them cook until they are very tender, taste and if necessary add some more salt, in order to keep the light sweet-sour taste which should characterized the entire recipe (wild meats/domestic meats - mixture of apple/chopped vegetables), add abundant black pepper, bathe with some lemon juice (in order to mitigate possible greasiness), then serve over roasted slices of bread.
This meal is disputed between Casentino and Maremma and there are many existing versions, which have created great curiosity and confusion around it. Especially from some journalists and freelance journalists who write about cooking (and some of them win also literary awards) with the same hurried superficiality they use when they want "to make" journalism. As far as it is concerned, also according to our habit, we have avoided any type of anectodes and any serious attempt of pseudo-philology ethno-sociological in the effort "to re-build" a legitimate historical version.
We are not interested in any historical severity; what is important for us is the quality and the pleasure of this preparation, and they become optimal when, also the fascination related to a possible origin brings back to the dark period of the Barbarian invasions, to the Longobardi. The linking to this period and to the Conti Guidi, in the castle of Porciano, has been carried out by the mythical figure of Riccardo Fiorini, one of the last "continuatore" (he is dead) of an oral tradition dating back to those times. We met him (a very rough person) and investigated about "scottiglia" (he was not loquacious and well disposed towards this matter) and also tasted the "scottiglia" he used to prepare, which we found very good but not very convincing (because of the use of hot chili pepper). For this reason we have preferred using our imagination to prepare our "scottiglia".

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni

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