Salsicce sulla Pietra Ollare
I’m not a vegetarian, though looking through all of the recipes that I have posted, you might think that I am. I just don’t eat a lot of meat, and I really don’t like to cook it. You could say that it intimidates me, but that really isn’t the problem, it just doesn’t inspire me, doesn’t get my creative juices flowing. So my husband cooks the meat in our house, and since he is Southern Italian, well, he doesn’t eat a lot of meat either.
I figured that I needed to throw some meat into this blog at some point and this post really isn’t so much about a recipe as it is about this cool barbecue stone that we have. It is called a pietra ollare, which is made of soapstone and has been used for cooking since the Roman Empire. It is typically used in the Valtellina, which is an area of the alps in Lombardia, for cooking meats and vegetables. It is great for the even distribution of heat, though it takes about an hour to heat up, because you have to start heating it on a low flame. It is healthier than grilling because it doesn’t have any carcinogenic issues, though I don’t think that it is an leaner than the grill. Those grooves on the side aren’t deep enough to drain all of the fat.
We’ve experimented with it with a number of different meats, but sausages have been our best results so far. The sausages we used are called luganega and even though you can find them all over the peninsula, they are the most popular in Northern Italy. Skinnier than normal Italian sausages, they are sold in a coil and you cut them at whatever length you like. They are spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon which are spices that are not traditionally used in sausages in Italy. They have a very mind flavor and are also good in a risotto or a pasta because they are not too over powering.