In the early days of the COVID pandemic lockdown, I posted a recipe … well, the story behind a delicious recipe that Greg and I discovered- brasato al barolo. It had become our signature dish.
The problem with signature dishes is once you’ve served it to all your friends, you have to find a new one. We’ve played around with recipes, come up with some new favorites … but somehow I keep getting asked, “What is your go-to, lazy-night-at-home, easy-with-whatever’s-sitting-around, meal?” The truth is, it’s something we’ve dubbed “mescolare tutto” (“mixed everything” in Italian).
It’s so easy and so flexible we’ve even made it our go-to when we’re traveling and want something to cook on a single cooktop with the limited supplies provided in a Residence Inn kitchenette. I admit the recipe seems vague, but here goes:
- A meat. This can be fresh or leftover. It can be beef, chicken, pork, shellfish (I haven’t tried it with other fish. I don’t think fish would hold up but, it might). Really anything goes.
- A veggie. I’ve used everything in this: asparagus, squash, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, carrots … seriously any veggie.
- Wine – white or red, but red can make your dish kinda ugly. It adds some cool depth of flavor though.
- About ½ an onion. More if you love onion, chopped to your preference.
- Italian seasoning to taste.
- One Tomato chopped into rough chunks.
- Garlic (if you have it or want it).
- Tomato paste. I’ve done the recipe without and it totally works.
- Olives. I love the pop of Kalamata olives, they add some fun zing.
Get everything pre-chopped and ready. Cook your pasta first. For most combinations, the rest of the dish cooks so fast your pasta won’t be done when you’re ready to add it to the mix.
Drizzle some olive oil in your pan. Let it get hot. Toss in your onions and get ‘em soft and a little browned. Add in a tablespoon (or so) of butter and a healthy splash of wine.
Throw in your veggie. As it bubbles and simmers, keep enough moisture in the pan to cook your veggies. I semi-steam carrots or asparagus since they take awhile to soften like I prefer them.
Add a little more butter and wine and dump in the meat. If you’re using leftovers, cut them into bite size pieces. At this point, you’re just heating those bite-sized chunks. I love this with shrimp because it cooks quickly and looks great, but I like to remove the shells and tails so it’s ready-to-eat.
Sprinkle some Italian seasoning over the mix, toss in the tomatoes and olives. Add a little more wine and butter and just cook off some of the liquid.
Pour the cooked pasta into the pan. Mix well. Eat!!
I’ve used as much as half a bottle of wine and as little as 8-ish ounces. Everything about this recipe is to-taste. It’s pretty much f0l proof. Make what you love, add your favorite flavor. Make it yours!
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Let your taste buds have a little adventure while you’re at it.
Many thanks to Cailin … who suggested a pizza Margherita and a glass of chianti at a fun little Italian place in Alexandria, VA (Mia’s Italian kitchen). She asked me about the pics I was editing on my phone and became the latest person to hear about Mescolare Tutto. Her questions inspired this blog … and shook my writer’s block loose.
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