This post was inspired by this lovely little comment from a post over at Bleeding Espresso:
Please let’s ignore the fact that Berlusconi has fooled a majority of Italians into voting him into office a third time, OK? And also that my local party lost as well. Instead let’s move on to happier, comforting topics.
Well, being a wee bit mischievous, as I am, I wondered if I could mix food and politics, so I asked myself: ‘Now just what is Berluconi’s favourite food?’. A quick hop onto the internet via good old Google, and I found that the Corriere della Sera had broached this very question to the tanned man, according to Italian blog Tagliatelle Vaganti. I can’t track down the actual Corriere della Sera article though.
So, just what is Italy’s most persecuted, but virtually immune from prosecution, billionaire’s favourite food?
And the answer is, apparently: Manzo alla California (Beef California), which despite its name, is an Italian dish. ‘California‘ is a place near Monza!*
Here is what it looks like:
Should you be feeling as hungry as a media magnate stroke prime minister, and wish to sample this dish, here is the recipe:
800 g (1.75lbs) of lean boned beef – one chunk
100 g (3.5oz) strips of unsmoked bacon
50 g (1.75oz) of butter
1 dessert spoonful of flour
1/2 a glass of red wine vinegar
1/2 a litre of milk (17.6 Fluid oz -UK 16.9 Liq. oz – US)
salt and pepper
Preparation and Cooking
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
The night before, rub the beef with the bacon rashers. The next day, and using a pan (which has a lid) big enough to hold the beef, chop the onion, and cook it in the butter until the onion is golden. Then, roll the beef in the flour, and pop it into the pan with the cooked onion. Add the vinegar, and cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Next, add 400ml of milk, salt and pepper to taste, and cover and cook slowly for three and a half hours. Just before the 3 and a half hours are up, add the rest of the milk. Finally, remove the beef, slice it, and place it in the remaining sauce. Serve good and hot.
As an accompaniment, potatoes and green vegetables or even salad would work well, I imagine.
Creamy Beef California
There are other recipes for Beef California around, and cookery expert Judith Greenwood, of Think on it, says that some schools of cooking thought, believe that cream should be used instead of milk.
Whatever, this sounds an appetising dish, even if it is not the best thing to prepare in the midst of a hot Italian summer. Unless, that is, you are up in the mountains, or you don’t live in Italy!
If you do try it, let me know if you think it is food befitting of an Italian prime minister.
Should you find yourself feeling the urge to set up a media empire, and enter politics after trying Billionaire’s Beef, please don’t blame me.
Now, I think I’ll have a go at tracking down Berlusco’s preferred tipple.
Have a nice weekend!
California is in Italy
*James Martin, over at Wandering Italy, was possibly a little surprised to have discovered that there is a ‘California’ in Italy. He didn’t quite believe it, so he went hunting, and found out that there are no less than two ‘Californias’ in the Living Museum! Here’s what he had to say:
The post claims there’s a place called “California” near Monza, and hence the name. I checked. Listen, there are two California’s in Italy. There is one north of Monza, a frazione di Camparada or a small village administered by the town of Camparada. The other California is a frazione of Castelfranco Emilia.
Thanks for the information James! Actually, when I mentioned the existence of a ‘California’ in Italy to my other half, she mentioned the one which is a frazione of Castelfranco Emilia.