Olive all’Ascolana

Ingredients

A pound (400 g) of very large mild olives, packed in brine (if you buy them pitted you won’t have to do it yourself)
4 ounces (100 g) fresh mild pork sausage
4 ounces (100 g) ground veal
1/2 cup meat broth (bullion is fine)
2 ounces (50 g) diced cured lard (buy this from a delicatessen, or use pancetta or prosciutto fat)
10 ounces (250 g) fine bread crumbs (this will likely be about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano (see note)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced parsley
A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Oil for frying

How to make the Olive all’Ascolana:

To prepare olive all’Ascolana: finely dice the veal, crumble the sausage, and sauté them in the butter. When they have browned, sprinkle the wine over them, let it evaporate, stir in the diced lard, and continue sautéing gently for 5-10 minutes (you want the meat to brown but not burn). Stir in the broth and simmer for five minutes, then remove the meats to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pot.

Stir two heaping tablespoons of the bread crumbs into the drippings. Grind the meat mixture and combine it with the breadcrumbs you stirred into the drippings, then lightly beat one of the eggs and work it into the filling too, with the parsley, grated cheese, and nutmeg. Check seasoning and let the filling rest for a half hour.

Pit the olives if they weren’t already pitted, and fill them. The easiest way to do this is to put the filling in a pastry bag or syringe of the kind used for frosting, with a fairly fine nozzle, and squirt the filling into the holes.

Lightly beat the remaining egg. Roll the filled olives in flour, then in the egg, and then in the bread crumbs. Fry them in abundant oil for 15-20 minutes, drain them well, and serve them.

Note: though De Agostini warns not to use too much cheese they forgot to include cheese in the ingredient list. Another recipe for Olive all’Ascolana calls for 3 cups (150 g) for close to three times as much meat, so the quantity given here should be about right.

Serves 4

Regional recipe from Marches