Anne's Blog

Pino’s Artistry: From Stonework to Culinary Creativity

Date: November 9, 2019 - categories: , , - 3 Comments

Pino’s creativity has moved into the kitchen, now that retirement from stone restoration is (partially) underway (though not quite fully in action).

His artistic bent lives on in his stonework masterpieces. Like the meticulous restoration work on the medieval tower in Spello….

….and the medieval guard towers and walls of the lakeside hilltown, Castiglione del Lago

…just to name a couple of his projects. And not to mention those many rural homes he has restored. Ours included. Here’s our farmhouse in 1975, pre-“Pino restoration”:

…and after restauro da Pino

…and I love those chimneys, “rooftop sculptures”:

That same creativity is to be “tasted” now: literally. Pino often enjoys cooking up a feast for my tour guests.

For Kelli and James, he created a pasta dish starring mushrooms, garlic, the last tomatoes from our garden, a bit of guanciale (“pork cheek”), all sautéed in our olive oil.

I suggested serving it in one of our Deruta maiolica bowls.

Suggestion immediately vetoed by Pino. “Voglio servire la pasta come una volta facevano le contadine: nella pentola che usavano per fare la salsa” (“I want to serve the pasta as the farm women once did: in the pot they’d used to make the sauce”). Logicamente, for no farmhouse kitchen would have had maiolica in the cupboard.

Kelli and James wanted a shot of Pino serving up that pasta goodness:

..and I wanted a shot of them savoring the pasta, along with Miguel (from Pamplona, Spain and our Workaway helper for a few weeks):

After the antipasti (which had started off our meal) and his delicious primo piatto (first course), Pino served up un secondo (main course) which I, too, would be tasting for the first time: he’d created it for this dinner with Kelli and James.

Pino put together a tasty spezzatino (a simple dish of small cuts of meat joining any range of additions – and the word literally means “cut into small pieces”). He gently sautéed small cuts of chicken and pork with diced garlic in our olive oil, then simmered the meat gently in a splash of local white wine. After evaporation of the wine, sliced artichokes and diced ripe tomatoes from our garden (seeds eliminated) joined the meat along with fresh herbs Pino had snipped in the garden – rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram. Pino simmered his spezzatino until the meat was tender, though not overcooked.

….and once again, straight from the stove to the table without transfer to a serving dish. That was just fine with James:

No better way to serve up simple rural goodness.

Mille grazie, Pino!

Read about another rural dinner cooked up by Pino for tour guests.


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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)