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63On the farm we raised and grew everything that we ate. It was abig farm, about 3,000 acres, and my parents were agriculturalworkers. I remember my father in the garden picking carrots,radishes, tomatoes, peppers --you name it. He would sit there ona little stool in the garden, wash and rinse them in fresh waterwith a bit of salt. He would have a bun in one hand, a bowl fordipping in olive oil in the other, and eat the freshly pickedvegetables. The food was all around us.My mother cooked a lot. She's over 80 now, and she still makespasta by hand. It was a totally different way of life. When I wasthree or four, my mother would clean a chicken and give me theraw liver to eat. I loved it! I would eat it right there --me andthe cat! Everything I ate until I went away to cooking school wasraised or grown in and around our village, except when my olderbrother joined the army and went away to Genoa. He would bringhome specialties from all over Italy.There was one chef in my town, and he traveled the world. Idecided I wanted to choose a cooking school. This would get meaway from the village, get me money quickly, plus food wassomething I really understood and enjoyed being around. My firstyear at school, at Salsomaggiore in Parma, I boarded. The schoolalways placed me in different hotels, which I liked, even thoughwe had to do a lot of menial work.Icame to Canada in February 1982, in the middle of a hugesnowstorm. My uncle had given me a 25-cent piece two yearsearlier so I could call him when I arrived in Toronto to work athis restaurants. I took a cab to his place on St. Clair AvenueWest and found my way through giant snow banks to the curband his door.When Rosa and I go back to Italy for the holidays, I love to joinmy friends for long and festive meals. Visiting my family is a greatbreak from the hustle and bustle of my life in Toronto. We have afew favourite things we love to eat, and I am pleased to sharethose with you. Not everyone can get to Italy for the holidays, butyou can make these at home, or come to Mistura where some ofthe classics from home are always on the menu. Salute!The saltiness of prosciutto is complementedby the sweetness of the figs, Gorgonzolagives a big flavour boost, and celery rootlends a refreshing zest. This is a classicexample of the Italian tradition that createsbig flavour sensations with very simpleingredients. - MassimoIngredients:3 oz/90 g Gorgonzola cheese1 oz/30 g mascarpone cheese¼ cup/50 mL finely shredded celery rootJuice of ½ lemonSalt and pepper6 ripe figs, cut in half12 small slices prosciutto¼ cup/50 mL honey12 celery leavesMethod:Mix the Gorgonzola with the mascarpone in a bowl until creamy.Season the celery root with lemon juice, salt, and a touch of pepper. Set aside.Place a scoop of the cheese mixture in the middle of each fig half; top witha small amount of shredded celery root.Place each stuffed half on a slice of prosciutto, roll it up, and garnish it witha drizzle of honey and a celery leaf.Makes 12 pieces.prosciutto-wrappedgorgonzolafigsFROM THE KITCHEN OF CHEF MASSIMO CAPRA""

64This is a recipe that has family meal writtenall over it. I have many good memories ofwaking up late on Sunday mornings andwalking into the kitchen, guided by thesmell of gently roasting garlic androsemary. Mom always made me a prince'sbreakfast, and I had nothing but free timeon my hands until the big family meal inthe afternoon. - MassimoIngredients for the Brisket:1 veal brisket, trimmed of fat and ready to roast (ask your butcher to prepare it)Salt and pepper2 cups/500 mL diced onions1 cup/250 mL diced celery1 cup/250 mL diced carrots4 cloves garlic2 bunches each of rosemary, sage and thyme2 tbsp/25 mL olive oil2 tbsp/25 mL butter, softened2 cups/500 mL chicken stock2 cups/500 mL white wineWater, as needed¼ cup/50 mL whipping (35%) cream2 tbsp/25 mL Pommery mustard1 tbsp/15 mL honeyJuice of ½ lemonIngredients for the Vegetables:8 green asparagus tips8 white asparagus tips8 baby cauliflower4 baby green zucchini4 baby yellow zucchini8 baby carrots, halved lengthwise4 baby golden beets, cookedOlive oilSalt and pepperMethod for the Brisket:Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).Season the brisket with salt and pepper and sear in a preheated skillet untilgolden brown. Place the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and fresh herbs in abaking pan with the meat on top. Drizzle the oil over top and spread thebutter on the meat. Roast for approximately 30 minutes.Reduce the heat to 325°F (160°C) and continue cooking for about 1½hours, turning the meat occasionally and moistening with the stock and winea little at a time. By the end of this stage, the roast should be almost cooked.Scoop the juices from the bottom of the pan and pour them over the meatevery 10 minutes for another half hour, or until the meat is tender to thefork. It is tedious work but worthwhile - the result is a tender, glossy roastfull of flavour.Remove from the oven, wrap the meat in foil, and strain the juices, addinga bit of water, if necessary, to make them run. Simmer the jus on mediumheat. Add the cream, mustard, and honey; reduce the liquid by a third.Squeeze in the lemon juice and set aside.Method for the Vegetables:Increase the heat to 500°F (260°C).Place all the vegetables in a bowl and dress with oil, salt, and pepper.Spread them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes,or until soft, stirring every 5 minutes.Serves 6 to 8.veal brisketwith roastedbaby vegetables""Massimo Capra is the Executive Chef and Co-Proprietor of Mistura Restaurant and SopraUpper Lounge in Toronto. His new show, Gourmet Escapes, launches on Travel and EscapeNetwork this season. 3 Chefs: The Kitchen Men, with Michael Bonacini and Jason Parsonsis a Canadian bestseller and winner of Culinary Book of the Year, produced and publishedby The Madison Press. Chef Capra's new book, Emergency Pasta, with wine writer BeppiCrosariol, will be published next year, as will a new edition of One Pot Italian.