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5
Jan

la stalla-on the way copy

There aren’t many restaurants that I love to return to again and again but La Stalla near Assisi is one of them. For one, I love the drive to get there, through spectacular countryside with stunning views of Assisi. Then, there is the torta sul testo, an Umbrian flat bread from the province of Perugia which they still bake over a wood fire — it is a little like piadina but thicker and possibly drier.

torta sul testo copy

In fact, they do all their cooking in a huge fire place. The back part where they burn the wood is closed off by big metal doors. The wood burns down to charcoal which are then swept to the front where the grill is. One part of the grill where the heat is kept low is used for warming the torta sul testo while the other part where the heat is higher is used for grilling the various meats, sausages and potatoes. And if you sit in the first room, you can watch your meal, and everyone else’s for that matter, being cooked by large women dressed in white uniforms who look more like nurses’ than cooks’ and who don’t seem to mind the intense heat.

la stalla-our lunch today copy

I always go there at least once for lunch when I visit my friend in Perugia and this time was the first time we shared a long communal table with three charming Italians — I hate communal tables except in Italy where everyone is so friendly and warm although I am not sure they eyed us as benevolently as we did. We were two and we ordered twice as much as the three of them did. I can recommend their pork ribs, lamb chops and of course the torta sul testo. I love the one filled with spinach and sausage and that filled with prosciutto or prosciutto and cheese. And I couldn’t resist at the end a plate of pig skins cooked with beans having seen my neighbours order one.

la stalla-our neighbours at the table copy

We finished with a few biscotti and a glass of vin santo. Not a very slimming lunch but the calories were definitely worth it. Totally delicious, from beginning to end, in a convivial and rather medieval atmosphere that added to the pleasure. The whole meal came to just under €50.00 which is amazing value considering how much more it would have been in London, that is if you can find such a place there!

la stalla-vin santo & biscotti copy

La Stalla, Via Santuario delle Carceri, 24 Assisi PG, +39 75 81 36 36 (make sure you go to the bistrot part and not the restaurant, at least this is where I like to go).

And here is the recipe for piadina romagnola from Savory Baking from the Mediterranean. The main difference is that the torta has no fat in the dough, and it is thicker.

Piadina Romagnola

Piadina is traditionally cooked over a teglia or a testo (in which case it is know as torta al or sul testo). A testo is a flat, earthenware disk while a teglia is a cast iron griddle. Usually, either of these are placed over an open fire to cook the piadina and as a result, the bread has a slightly smoky taste. However, you can just as easily use a cast iron frying pan, a smooth griddle or even a non-stick pan and heat either over a gas or electric fire to produce very good results except for the smoky flavor. Makes 6

500 g unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and shaping

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons lard or extra virgin olive oil

1 cup whole milk

Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add the lard to the well and, with the tips of your fingers, rub into the flour until well incorporated.

Gradually add the milk and mix with the flour until you have a rough ball of dough.

Remove the dough onto your work surface. Knead for about 2-3 minutes. You don’t want to develop the gluten too much as piadina is supposed to be slightly crumbly.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into balls. Cover with a wet, although not dripping kitchen towel.

Place a cast iron frying pan on medium high heat.

While the pan is heating, roll out one ball of dough to an 8 inch disk. When the pan is really hot, lay the disk of dough on it. Using a fork, prick it in a few places. Cook for 2 minutes, or until there are golden spots on the bottom. Turn the piadina over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove onto a cloth and cover while you make the other piadine, rolling them out and cooking them as with the first one. Stack them up in between layers of cloth. Serve hot or warm, filled with slices of prosciutto, salame, cheese, or cooked sausages (salsiccie). You can either fold the piadina over the filling or roll the bread around it.


There is 12 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Torta al testo is delicious.
    If you have another opportunity to eat in that area, I’d recommend torta al testo at “Trattoria Faliero da Maria” near lake Trasimeno, there they are preparing the bread on the spot, on a large rock heated on the fire.

    Cheers
    Tlaz


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    thank you for the recommendation tlaz. i will try it next time i am there 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    If you don’t mind my changing topics, Anissa, I’m hoping you can help me identify a Lebanese dish that I had recently. Sadly, I managed to leave the restaurant without asking more about it.
    It was roasted lamb served over a big mound of the most incredible rice mixture I’ve ever tasted. And the rice mixture is what I want to recreate here at home.
    The rice mix included a very finely ground meat, cinnamon and other spices, golden raisins, pine nuts, and some other elements. The chef/owner brought out some lovely yogurt for me to spoon over it. It was incredible.
    For me, it was a culinary revelation! If you can help me identify the dish and perhaps point me to a good recipe for it, I’d be grateful.
    And keep posting about your adventures in Italy. It’s been so enjoyable!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it’s basically kharouf mehshi meaning stuffed lamb or ghouzi but this name applies to different preparation depending on the country. i am not sure if you have my lebanese cookbook but there is a recipe for that rice in it minus the raisins. we don’t put raisins in that rice, nor in any savory dish for that matter. iltaly is sadly over until the next visit. v soon i will be in california and i should be able to blog some fun stuff 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I borrowed your cookbook from the public library and will look for the rice dish in it.
    California should be nice this time of year, neither too hot nor too cold. My mother’s family lives mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area. My parents and I lived in Colma, just south of San Francisco, but that was many years ago.
    Now that I’m thinking about it, I really miss the Mexican food from that area. So fresh and wonderful. Not like the stuff that passes for Mexican in most restaurants today.
    And the Alaskan King Crabs that were available from vendors who basically put a big cooker in the back of their pickup truck and along with a load of live crabs. You’d pick out which one you wanted and they’d cook it for you right there! Yum!


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    love the idea of the king crabs. once ate a whole giant crab in black bean sauce from a hawker’s stand in Singapore right on a bench or perhaps it was a table. i can’t remember. all i remember is my pigging out on this amazingly delicious crab. as you say, yum 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I’m in the Mastichohoria-area of the mastic producing villages in S Chios.  Specifically I’m in a cafe in the ancient very beautiful medieval village of Mesta (which incredibly has free wifi!).  Headed in a bit to another beautiful village called Pyrgi which claims to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Took a spectacular hike into the countryside early this morning and saw my first mastic tree which is a very handsome plant indeed! Kept collecting the “tears” seeping out of the trunk and pretty soon I had a big ball of gum in my mouth!

    Will be back in Gaziantep in a couple of days. Any new discoveries that I should visit?

    Richard


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    hmm… i am not sure. i’ll have to think about it and let you know. so lucky that you are in chios. send me pics of the mastic trees 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I will if you send your email. Also of old ladies in Pyrgi cleaning mastic. And of fantastic architecture of Mesta and Pyrgi.

    Richard
    Opplicario AT yahoo


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    A friend just alerted me that Chios and mastic made it to the frpmt page of NYT today

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/world/europe/amid-economic-strife-greeks-look-to-farming-past.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Ciao Anissa come stai:Quì tutto ok .la piadina lo sò è buonissima , ma ho visto che ci sono anche i cantuccini ,. sono come li faccio io? Baci Beatrice a presto


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    ciao bea. le tue cantuccini sono meglio e piu buoni que la stalla. loro sono un po soft e un po heavy 🙂

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