Stuffing the Hollow Legs

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

It never ceases to astound me just how much food the Italians (and the Spanish, and the French) can pack away, and still not be beset by the obesity issues that so trouble some Anglo-Saxon countries.

I spent a truly delightful evening in the company of my neighbours and some of their friends a few nights ago, but had to practically roll myself home afterwards. The combination of a five course meal (FIVE courses on a TUESDAY!) accompanied by five different sorts of alcohol ensuring that the following day passed in a cumbersome blur of post-overindulgence.

Accompanied by copious amounts of red wine, we began with anti-pasti; stuffed courgette flowers (fiori riempiti), courgette quiche and spinach (ge in dialect) quiche.

Followed by pasta; pappardelle (very wide tagliatelle) with anchovies, tomato, mint, basil, garlic and eye-wateringly hot peperoncino.

Then came the plat de résistance, for which I felt emboldened enough to fetch my camera, as it was apparently something of an event.

A local delicacy…

Massêtti are the intestines (bielu) of very young lambs or kids, slaughtered before they have started to eat grass. They are tied into knots, and then cooked with white wine, olives and parsley.

This used to be one of the signature dishes of the village until (possibly due to EU regulations) this particular part of the animal became almost impossible to get hold of. My fellow diners were thrown into paroxysms of nostalgia remembering la mamma and la nonna preparing such delicacies.

Now I am not a lover of offal in any guise, but I valiantly battled my gag reflex and managed one small knot. The taste was not unpleasant, and the texture not rubbery as I had expected; more like a very soft kidney. That said, I’m not sure the scarcity of such delights is going to give me many sleepless nights…

(Luckily we were also provided with boiled courgettes, green beans, and a huge platter of fried whitebait to keep the ever-baying wolf from the door.)

With red wine still flowing, we then got stuck into the cheeses. Only seven different types to choose from, thankfully, because by this time I had no buttons, belts or zips left to loosen.

But my goodness the dolci…. It was inevitable, I suppose, given that the man of the house is a retired pasticcere (pastry chef) that the desserts were going to be to die for. And he sure did us proud…

Ode to a Tart

White wine and prosecco were rolled out to accompany the enormous wagon wheel of fruit torta and the shockingly wicked cannolo filled with chocolate cream and zabaglione.

Giant Cannolo

After an orgy of such calorific proportions, there was nothing left to do but sit around contentedly supping snifters of genepy and homemade limoncello whilst putting the world to rights.

The general consensus of opinion being that we still have some matters of international politics to iron out, so may have to repeat the experience in the near future.

Oh the hardship…

This is Status Viatoris, not sure she’d want to swap it for fish, chips and mushy peas, in Italy.


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24 Responses to “Stuffing the Hollow Legs”

  1. Lesley Says:

    By sheer coincidence, we had fish and chips last night (home cooked) followed by apple strudel (not home cooked). Am I jealous – yes I am… but thank you for the photos, cos now I’ll imitate the desserts and wow my friends!


  2. sabina Says:

    Uh, dear SV, now I’m pretty sure you’ll appreciate the typical “trattoria genovese” where I would like to bring you when you will come here 🙂


    • statusviatoris Says:

      I once went to one that was near the port. They wrote your order on the paper table cover. I chose seared tuna with boiled potatoes, sprinkled with the most delicious aceto balsamico that I have ever tasted… I have never forgotten that meal!


  3. CrisLawson Says:

    My first food memory is of cannolis at my local Italian’s bakery, and slices of fruit and cream cakes. That connolo looks like heaven! The Italians surely rival the French when it comes to desserts.

    I never did appreciate any kind of organs. I don’t even like a well cooked liver. But I will scarf pate. Odd.

    Did you see the new BBC america commercial? I don’t know if you get it over there. It says: “We LOST our empire. We SUCK at tennis. Our food is TERRIBLE. But our television is KICK ASS!” Followed, naturally, by Doctor Who commercials. Very funny!


    • statusviatoris Says:

      Ha ha ha! Our food is not terrible, we’ve got some amazing curry houses… 😉


      • CrisLawson Says:

        I know, I just thought the commercial was hysterical.

        I also have yet to encounter mushy peas. I’m not sure I want to know about those. But I do love fish and chips…which are a huge hit in New England, of course.


        • statusviatoris Says:

          I was joking about the curry houses – they’re Indian rather than British!

          I have to admit a fondness for mushy peas, although I’d be hard pressed to actually tell you why. But on the rare occasions that I do have fish and chips, the experience is never as pleasurable without that little pile of green goo to dip stuff in…


    • CrisLawson Says:

      I know they’re indian…but I can’t think of England without including the curry houses. The two are now inextricably linked in my mind.

      It’s actually really hard to find curry anywhere in my state. Some indian restaurants, yes, but curry not so much.

      I looked up mushy peas. Not too terrible…but the pie floater in Australia…OOOHG. I gagged.


  4. MrsF Says:

    Food envy.


  5. Shauna (Fido & Wino) Says:


    I went on holiday to Italy several years ago with a friend who had a lot of family there. We spent a fair amount of time with them. We ate a lot.

    I had a wedding to go to right after the trip and I was *sure* my suit wasn’t going to fit. But, lo and behold… I had lost weight.

    My theory: A lot of fresh, local home cooked food, lots of walking, no stress and a lot of laughter = me fitting into my suit.

    I love Italy.


    • statusviatoris Says:

      I think you’re right. There is definitely a lot less processed food going down here as well, and I think that makes a huge difference. A school kid’s idea of a snack would be a slice of focaccia and some ham rather than a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps.


  6. wageslavea Says:

    I remember once being served a particularly delicious meal of seared tuna with boiled potatoes and aceto balsamico here in England. SV was the chef – now I know where the inspiration came from!


  7. an admirer Says:

    Wow, the pappardelle dish sounds delectable but can’t say the same for the little lamb squiggly things – take my hat off to you, have you thought of ”I’m a celebrity” you could do it with your eyes shut (perhaps better if you did!)

    Thought I was ok at puds ’till I saw your pics, wouldn’t half like a slice of the cannolo – what a gastronomic delight you experienced!

    PS Better google elasticated jeans, I think you’ll find Amazon is quickest delivery!


    • statusviatoris Says:

      Don’t you actually have to be a celebrity? In that case it would probably be better to send Pooch….

      Apparently all this healthy home cooked stuff makes you thinner. According to Shauna I should be slim and gorgeous any day now!!!


  8. statusviatoris Says:

    Reblogged this on Status Viatoris and commented:

    Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays


  9. an admirer Says:

    By now SV, I expect you’re turning out Masseti and Cannolo most nights…….!

    ps, on other nights I expect you have fish, chips & mushies!


  10. Helen Devries Says:

    I remember the Sunday lunches in rural France….the need to sit out in the garden afterwards followed by a walk round the lanes once able and then back to the house for Sunday supper…but you are right, I did not put on weight! Then.


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