Feeding a Hungry Crowd/A Recipe for 100-120 People
The Lagoon of Venice is the most important survivor of a system of estuarine lagoons that in Roman times extended from Ravenna north to Trieste. In the sixth century, the Lagoon gave security to Romanized people fleeing invaders (mostly the Huns). Later, it provided naturally protected conditions for the growth of the Venetian Republic and its maritime empire. It still provides a base for a seaport, the Venetian Arsenal, and for fishing, as well as a limited amount of hunting and the newer industry of fish farming.
The Venetian Lagoon will be visited by our LBK Isles Life Travel Group when we journey on The Crystal Serenity from Rome to Venice, Italy from Sept 7-14, 2019. In keeping with the nautical theme of this issue, I have dug into my copy of A Venetian Cookbook - Recipes from the 'Settemari' Club. The Settemari is a cultural association with an active rowing club who row in the traditional Venetian style, that is standing up and facing forward. Over the years, they have actively promoted historical research, ecology, literature, music, art, put on Venetian plays, with their own theatre group and collected recipes to create a Settemari Cookbook.
This recipe is reflective of a philosophy of the Settemari: "Creativity is the essence of Italian cooking and experience is paramount to a good result. Many of the recipes are rather vague because being spontaneous, quantities and cooking times are often left to the reader's own judgment and imagination. They should be considered starting points."
The cuisine that will be featured on the Crystal Cruise Ship Serenity will be a different category altogether. In Crystal's own words: The culinary experience with Crystal is simply exceptional. From the extraordinary cuisine of celebrity chefs to the inventive menus created by Crystal's own acclaimed culinary team, diningaboard Crystal Serenity promises to delight and surprise even the most discriminating palate.
We will feature a Crystal Cruises Recipe this month. For January, our focus is on a simple, friendly recipe that is part of the reward for a job well done following a Regatta. The quantity is enormous. We can only imagine the generous chefs/rowers who offer to create such a meal.
Perhaps we will have our own version of a Regatta in Bay Isles one day ... if so, we will be prepared with a celebratory Recipe!
For a smaller group, you may adjust the recipe, keeping the general proportions.
ten kilos of borlotti beans - Great Northern is a fine substitute
half a kilo of potatoes
half a kilo of carrots
half a kilo of white onions
a piece of celery and a nice sprig of fresh rosemary
half a liter of extra virgin olive oil
six-seven hundred grams of lard and smoked ham, cut in pieces
coarse salt and pepper
three kilos of very short pasta
First of all, you need a pot that can hold around fifty-six liters of water!
Put the following in the pot:
Ten kilos of borlotti beans, soaked overnight
Half a kilo potatoes, half kilo carrots, half kilo white onions - cut in small pieces
A piece of celery and sprig of rosemary
Half liter olive oil, extra virgin
Six-seven hundred grams of lard and smoked ham cut into cubes
Coarse Salt and Pepper
Cover ingredients with water, cover pot
Place the pot on a hot plate - remember that you may be outside for the Regatta
Bring pot to a boil - it will take at least one hour
While "waiting for the pot to boil" ... prepare the rest of the meal: slice salami, cut cheese into small cubes, boil and shell the eggs, slice the bread, and pour the wine into jugs.
When the beans start to boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, taste for seasoning. Soup is done when the beans are soft.
Use an immersion blender to blend the bits of carrots and onion floating around on top, the potatoes that are hiding on the bottom, and you have to search for them, at least half the beans so that it becomes nice and creamy. Be careful, the soup is hot.
Stir well to make sure it is blended. Try to remove the rosemary.
When the beans are ready, boil 3 kilos of short pasta ( recommends Ditalini Pasta # 49); drain while still al dente, and put in another saucepan with some olive oil so that it doesn't stick together, either transport with the large pot of beans to the Regatta location, or add pasta to the beans, if cooking on site. Stir and Serve.
* Recipe contributed by Piero T of the Settimari Club who adds a bit of advice: "why don't you do the race and let someone else do the bean soup - you'll have more fun and it won't be as exhausting!"