The Ultimate Christmas Dinner

December 30th, 2018 § 3 comments

HG is not fond of the roast turkey and the vast array of fixings and vegetables that appear on holiday tables from sea to sea in the one time Land of The Brave and Free. Thankfully, there is no cliche food at the Riva home in Rhode Island. For Christmas dinner (served by candle light in the festive dining room) gifted daughter Lesley paid homage to the Italian culinary heritage of the Riva family. (Husband Massimo heads the Italian studies department at Brown University. Granddaughters Arianna and Sofia received much of their primary education in Italy. They and Lesley are fluent in Italian). Veal shanks (osso buco) are, when properly prepared, a hearty and succulent dish (alas, expensive). Lesley treated the ossibuchi with her own blend of attention, diligence and creativity. She browned each, lightly dusted with flour, and cooked the shanks in a number of steps involving a soffritto of varied vegetables (onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, etc.) , broth and white wine. The result, in a word, was stupendous. The juicy, falling of the bone meat, was moistened with a savory sauce and dusted with gremolata (chopped garlic, lemon peel and parsley). Massimo made an outstanding saffron risotto (a traditional accompaniment). There were side dishes of braised fennel and gently sauteed spinach. Freshly ground parmesan for the risotto. All elements were perfectly balanced and HG ate a very large dish with lip smacking gusto. Certainly, this was one of the best dishes HG ever ate in HG’s 89- year career as a champion (in Calvin Trillin’s phrase) Clean Plate Ranger. Generous Massimo provided the perfect wines, exemplary aged Barolo and Barbaresco. Dessert was home made flan provided by an aide. Also, some Enstrom’s peanut brittle and butter crunch. As usual, HG topped it off with a generous tumbler of Irish whiskey. Unforgettable dining.

§ 3 Responses to The Ultimate Christmas Dinner"

  • Alicia Atencio says:

    Marvelous soliloquy of the perfect meal with perfect companions! I daresay you have me salivating! Merry Christmas Gerald! May your plate always be full and your cup runnerh over. Here’s to a new year of “epic-ure” delights!

  • Leslie French says:

    Wow! That’s quite the description! Glad you had a wonderful meal with your wonderful family!!

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