Saturday, January 15, 2011


Judy Witts Francini
What a word! Charcutepalooza!  As you know, I am a big fan of pork, even though I did take a nasty tumble because of it.  I still think it is terrific, so when I catch a blog featuring meat, I am all over it. I want each of you to visit my friend's blog and read about the festival in Tuscany that is all about meat. It is guessed it....Charcutepalooza! Go to  and check it out. Judy Witts Francini was my guide while I was in Sicily for 2 weeks. She is the guide of all guides. What she doesn't know about Italy and food you simply don't need to know!
While you are visiting her blog, Over a Tuscan Stove, click on the "TV" tab and watch the video of Judy with
Gary Rhodes of " Rhodes Across Italy" which was filmed for the BBC. Judy gave him a tour of the Florence Central Market. I am so jealous!
If you are going to travel to Italy, contact me, she will show you the real Italy! As with our own country, food has played a major role in Italy's history. If you want to know more, visit for a history on Italian food. But of course, there is nothing like first hand experience. Travel to Italy and call upon Judy to guide you! Her contact information is available on her blog.

While you are reading her blog, go to search and enter The Secrets of Sugo -Tuscan Ragu.  You will be delighted with Judy's recipe for sauce.

This is a recipe I pulled from a Food and Wine magazine. I've served it to family, to guests. Most have asked for seconds, many have requested the recipe. Yes, there are more than a few ingredients, but is good! For the luscious meat sauce, Chef Gerard Craft braises pork with apples and honey, which adds some unexpected sweetness. Another surprise: He finishes the pasta with a sprinkling of smoked salt.

Photo: Anna Williams
 Smoky Pork Pappardelle
One 2-pound piece of boneless pork shoulder
Smoked sea salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1-inch dice
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch dice
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch dice
1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup Somerset Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay Wine
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound pappardelle
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 300°. Season the pork with 1 1/2 tablespoons of smoked salt. In a medium, enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned on all sides, 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

Add the apple, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme to the casserole and cook over moderate heat until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it deepens in color, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, vinegar and honey and bring to a simmer. Add the pork, cover and transfer the casserole to the oven. Braise the pork for about 3 hours, turning once halfway through, until very tender.
Transfer the pork to a plate. Strain the sauce into a large bowl, gently pressing on the solids. Pour the sauce back into the pot. Using 2 forks, shred the pork; discard any large pieces of fat. Transfer the shredded pork to the sauce and stir in the mascarpone. Season the sauce with smoked salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to the casserole with the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and the parsley over moderate heat until well coated, about 1 minute. Transfer the pasta to warm bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked salt and serve.
The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days
Want to know which Somerset Ridge wine I prefer with this?  Oktoberfest was always my choice, but now that Dennis has released his new Reisling, I can't resist pairing it with this pork dish....perfection! The experts at Food and Wine suggest a red, and of course, I do love Ruby Red,Flyboy Red and our Cabernet Franc Reserve. But for some reason, with this particular dish, I prefer the lighter German style wines.
Hope you enjoy!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker