Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tomato Tuesday: Pane frattau

Pane frattau

As the last entry for Tomato Tuesday, this very short recipe comes from the back of a box of pane carasau. A traditional sardinian flatbread, pane carasau is not something you typically purchase a few sheets at a time and it takes a few weeks for us to use up the contents, down to the final semi-stale rounds. I was somewhat surprised at the simplicity of this dish that I thought it would be a one-time deal and never again. Boy was I wrong! I should've known that with homemade tomato sauce and pecorino cheese, anything can taste great - especially when there's a poached egg sitting on top.

I've read that the word frattau means broken, and in fact, that's what you'll do to the sheets in order to fit them onto a plate (I use one whole circle per serving, breaking it into fourths). Tradition calls for plain tomato sauce but here I've used some leftover meat ragu. It's sort of like making a quickie lasagne when you've got the munchies but not the time. Breakfast, lunch, dinner...I've had this at all hours of the day. It's that good!

Pane frattau

Dip pieces of bread in hot salted water (or you can also use meat broth). Coat each layer with tomato sauce and grated pecorino, and top with one poached egg.

Pane carasau

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hiking the Dorsale del Triangolo Lariano from Brunate

View from sentiero 1 towards Monte Bolettone

This is probably the most popular itinerary for visitors who wish to hike and experience the altitudes above Lake Como in a day. The Dorsale Triangolo Lariano, a 30 km trail that begins from Brunate and runs the dorsal ridge to Bellagio, is a 2-day affair if covering it by foot. We managed a fourth of that distance in beautiful weather this past Saturday, completing a total of 15 km/9.3 miles going in and coming back. It was worth every step of the way.

The suggested route says to start from Como, reaching Brunate by way of the funicular tram (4.50€ adults, roundtrip). For those with wheels, the road to Brunate is narrow and winding, but it might be worth the drive up to nab a cheaper (or free) parking spot in town. Hourly rates for parking within the blue lines in Como have doubled since we last visited. It's now 1 euro per hour, with the rate skyrocketing up to 2.50€/hr in the lot next to the funicular station. We drove up to Brunate in the suv and parked for free.

View larger map

Google illustrates that A is where we parked; B is the end of public road access/last parking lot. It doesn't calculate anything beyond that. Commencing from Brunate's church square, the footpath takes on a multitude of names of which I've stuck in a slideshow with the rest of the images. No chance of ending up at Clooney's villa. The red X is where we called it a day and had lunch. The yellow dot to the right is Rifugio Bolettone. We were so close, yet so very far, and in the opinion of our doxie Mister B, completely out of our minds for even walking all this way. We reckon that he's the "gasoline-powered" out of the two - has more varoom in the motor but can't go far. Maddie on the other hand, is "diesel fuel" - she's the weaker in strength but can keep up no matter the distance, as long as we have plenty of water to top up her radiator.

Altitude climbed: 630 meters, more or less.
Time: 4 hours on the ascent, 3 hours on the return.
Map: Kompass 91 - Lago di Como and Lago di Lugano

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Hiking in Val Vertova

Val Vertova

We really couldn't have asked for more on this particular outing. The trail in Val Vertova is full of beautiful scenes like this, where you have the option of taking it easy all the way to the end or stopping in an idyllic spot to soak up the sun. I've never seen perfectly tanned boobs in full display until this hike, but with such an inviting environment, why the heck not?

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To get to the starting point: from Vertova, follow Via Cinque Martini until località Lacni. Instead of following the right bend in the road, take the left for about 300 meters until the parking lot (B). If it's full, space is available at the headquarters of Gruppo Alpinistico Vertovese (GAV) a hundred meters going back and across the stream (A), but only if the gates are open. It takes about an hour to reach the end of the trail. For a challenge, head up the n.527 that climbs the left just before reaching the end. It quickly leads back down to the river then continues into drier terrain up the mountain to the encampment of Bivacco Testa.