Maiale al latte con torta rustica

This post is devoted to the culinary skills of my best friend, Chris (with sous-chef Andrew).  Chris is an excellent cook.  We work well together in the kitchen, which is a vast improvement from our first few times cooking together all those years ago.  Chris and I have different cooking style and different tastes in what we like to cook.  I love that he tends to pick things to cook that I wouldn’t think to cook myself.

On Sunday, Chris planned our weekly family dinner with milk-braised pork and spinach and ricotta pie.  After the week or so I have been having, it was nice to not have to put in any effort into this meal.  I arrived to a wonderful smelling condo with a bottle of wine, a package of cookies, and an empty stomach.

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, this was an Italian-centered meal.  Christopher is all about his Italian food.  One of the recipes he made for this meal came from the Tasting Rome cookbook.  To say Chris is obsessed with this cookbook would be an understatement.  If he were to lose this cookbook, I think he’d be heartbroken (and for good reason).  Everything I have tried from this recipe so far has rocked my world.

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Tasting Rome by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill – highly recommend!

Chris made the torta rustica from this cookbook, a spinach and ricotta pie.  When he was sending me these pictures as he was cooking, I was intrigued but a little concerned.  I expected a recipe that contains this much spinach to have a high risk of being too watery.  I was very wrong, however.

Chris managed to get almost every ounce of liquid out of the spinach (without the dish being dry).  He turned this green vegetable into this gorgeous pie.  Sure, he messed up the lattice slightly, but I was proud of his finished product.  This pie was so delicious and mouth-watering.  As I am writing this, I am craving a slice of that savory goodness.

The main dish they made was milk-braised pork.  When Chris told me this is what they would be making for dinner, I was skeptical.  Not only did my lactose intolerant stomach question this choice, but I found that an odd preparation for pork.

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It was so delicious though!  They  mostly followed this recipe from NYTimes Cooking.  The sage, lemon, and garlic flavors were definitely present.  The braising liquid turned into this lovely creamy sauce that was oh so velvety.  We added a touch of freshly cracked black pepper at the end to tie it all together.

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I have to give mad props to Chris for his cooking this week, especially with that pie!  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this meal, but what I got was a delicious home-cooked meal with my friends.  🙂

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