MEZZE MANICHE IN BROTH – MES MÀNAG IN BROD
A typical dish of the popular tradition in the low plain of Piacenza are the “mezze maniche” (meaning: half sleeves) stuffed with Stracotto (beef stew), breadcrumbs and Grana cheese. The pasta was worked by hands and our grannies, during the period of the Christmas festivities used to prepare this dish with poor and simple ingredients. This is one of those recipes that have profound and ancient roots and that evoke memories of grandmas who, in front of wood stoves, told stories while filling the “mezze maniche” for the winter Sundays’ lunches. It is always a pleasure to taste this dish sitting at the table in front of a nice glass of Gutturnio. It has to be remembered that it was a habit for the farmers to keep a second portion with the aim of “fä al sürbì” with a nice glass of red wine (in our dialect, it means pouring red wine in the dish, mixing it with the broth and the pasta).
Begin from the broth’s preparation; put the pieces of meat inside of a pot filled with cold water and maintain high heat, as soon as the meat begins to froth, use a sieve to delete the lather and then add vegetables, salt and simmer for about 3 – 4 hours. Use two hectograms of the Beef Stracotto prepared for the broth, pass it through the meat grinder and wet the breadcrumbs in Stracotto’s gravy. Add grated Grana cheese and mix the whole. Fill the “mezze maniche” and close the openings with egg’s albumens to impede the filling to come out. At last, begin to cook the “mezze maniche” in a large pot where they’re well covered by meat broth.
(Translated by Laura Fugazzi)