I can’t help it! We love meat, in Tuscany!
The most crystal clear example is the floretine T-bone steak, but there are lots of meat cuts typical of our region. An example? Arista, that is a common cut, prepared for many Sunday lunches, during winter and summer, a traditional dish of Florentine cooking.
When there was the first ‘meet the parents’ and dad went for dinner at mum’s home, Aunt Silvana cooked a simple but delicious arista with a green salad: you can easily see how it is a deeply rooted traditional family dish.
Mum’s arista is such a good dish, crisp and tasteful outside, tender and white inside.
When I think about arista, I recall one of my Greek lessons at high school. My teacher and Pellegrino Artusi would tell the same anecdote. Arista has such a fascinating legend when it comes to its name.
They say that this dish was named arista in the XV century, during the ecumenical council in Florence. Cosimo il Vecchio, the patriarch of the Medici family, offered a banquet to the Greek delegation representing the Orthodox church. This roasted pork loin was served and a Greek cardinal exclaimed ariston! the best! Ariston is the superlative form of the Greek adjective agathos, which means good. It was a a compliment of the highest kind. From that moment on, the pork loin in Tuscany is known simply as arista.
This is probably just a legend, as there are documents attesting the use of arista to describe the pork loin even at the end of the XIII century.
After such a presentation, what are you waiting for?
- About 1 kg pork loin with bone
- 1 clove garlic
- A dozen sage leaves
- 1 sprig rosemary
- ½ glass extra virgin olive oil
- ½ glass white wine
- Black pepper
Ask to your butcher the pork sirloin, with fillet and rib bone.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Remove the pork loin from the bone with a sharp knife.
Finely chop sage, rosemary and garlic, mix with salt and pepper, and rub the pork loin with it. Place the loin back into the bones and tie it up with a string.
Place the meat into a deep pan and drizzle with half of a glass of extra virgin olive oil.
Cook the meat in the oven for about an 45 minutes, turning the loin often to brown it everywhere. When it is crisp and roasted, add half of a glass of white wine and reduce. After about 10 minute, when the wine is reduced, the arista is ready.
Remove the loin from the bone, slice the meat and drizzle with the remaining sauce.
During winter months, you can roast the meat with diced potatoes: they become savoury and delicious with the meat juice. In the summertime, instead, you can eat arista cold, like porchetta, thinly sliced and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.