Sunday lunch is HUGE here in Puglia. A gathering of family and close friends for a feast!
My ex mother in law would start preparing this feast early in the morning, I would watch and learn from her. For a very special occasion we would make Lasagna, however most Sundays we would make Orecchiette pasta and lay it out to dry, then getting out her largest pots and pans, a tomato sauce would be started. Next on the agenda, braciola would be prepared. Braciola is a thin piece of meat that is stuffed, rolled, tied, browned and then simmered in the sauce. It can be stuffed with a variety of grated cheeses, prosciutto, breadcrumbs and herbs. No two cooks make them the same. She also added meatballs to her sauce. Believe it or not we also had time to walk to the local church for Sunday mass, returning home by 12.45pm, family would arrive for Sunday lunch at 1.15pm…bringing a tray of pasticcini (pastries) for dessert!
The family and often friends would gather around the table to enjoy the feast. First antipasto of cheeses and cold cuts, then pasta would be served with the sauce, and of course a generous helping of the local freshly grated cacioricotta cheese. Next would come the meat that had been simmered in the sauce. This would be accompanied with a large loaf of crusty bread to wipe up the sauce and juices on the plate. The meat would be served with a small lettuce and tomato salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar along side. Last but not least, coffee and wonderful Italian pastries would be placed on the table. Sunday was a day of laughter and good food that I remember fondly.