Saint of the day:
Patron Saint of Rome, comedians, librarians, students, miners, tanners, chefs, roasters, poor, firefighters
Saint Lawrence’s Story
The esteem in which the Church holds Lawrence is seen in the fact that today’s celebration ranks as a feast. We know very little about his life. He is one of those whose martyrdom made a deep and lasting impression on the early Church. Celebration of his feast day spread rapidly.
He was a Roman deacon under Pope Saint Sixtus II. Four days after this pope was put to death, Lawrence and four clerics suffered martyrdom, probably during the persecution of the Emperor Valerian.
Legendary details of Lawrence’s death were known to Damasus, Prudentius, Ambrose, and Augustine. The church built over his tomb became one of the seven principal churches in Rome and a favorite place for Roman pilgrimages.
A well-known legend has persisted from earliest times. As deacon in Rome, Lawrence was charged with the responsibility for the material goods of the Church, and the distribution of alms to the poor. When Lawrence knew he would be arrested like the pope, he sought out the poor, widows, and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had on hand, selling even the sacred vessels of the altar to increase the sum. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he imagined that the Christians must have considerable treasure. He sent for Lawrence and said, “You Christians say we are cruel to you, but that is not what I have in mind. I am told that your priests offer in gold, that the sacred blood is received in silver cups, that you have golden candlesticks at your evening services. Now, your doctrine says you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces. God does not cause money to be counted: He brought none of it into the world with him—only words. Give me the money, therefore, and be rich in words.”
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “I will show you a valuable part. But give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” After three days he gathered a great number of blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned, and widowed persons and put them in rows. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.”
The prefect was so angry he told Lawrence that he would indeed have his wish to die—but it would be by inches. He had a great gridiron prepared with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it. After the martyr had suffered the pain for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his famous cheerful remark, “It is well done. Turn me over!”
San Lorenzo fuori le Mura
(Saint Lawrence Outside the Walls)
Piazzale del Verano 3
*This church is east of the Aurelian Walls.
*The remains of St Lawrence, St Stephen, and St Justin lie in the confessio below the main altar.
(Note: The relics are labeled as St Justin the Presbyter. Therefore, it is likely that this is not St Justin the Martyr.)
*A marble stone slab beneath the choir floor is said to be the stone on which St Lawrence was placed after his execution.
Also enshrined in this lower area is the body of Blessed Pius IX (d. 1878).
Today we will be cooking cucina povera style in honor of Saint Lawrence who is the patron saint of the poor & cooks.
“Cucina povera” essentially means “peasant food” (literally “poor cooking” or “poor kitchen”).
Cannellini and Escarole Soup with Garlic Oil
4 thick slices of bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 small head of escarole, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves—1 minced, 3 crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and return the saucepan to moderately high heat. Add the escarole, minced garlic and crushed red pepper and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the escarole wilts, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, puree half of the beans with the chicken stock until smooth. Add the pureed and whole beans, bacon and 1 1/2 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook until the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook the crushed garlic in the oil over moderate heat until golden; discard the garlic. Drizzle the soup with the garlic oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
Ingredients needed to make Bread at home
1000 gr (=2.205 pounds= 10 cups) of soft flour (type 0)
700 ml (=2.959 cups) of warm water
10 gr of salt (=0,022 pounds = 2 teaspoons)
6 spoons (50 gr) (=0.110 pounds) of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of sugar (10 gr) to help leavening
14 gr of powder yeast (=4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast)
Note: I recommend you make your bread pastry absolutely by hand!
1. First of all you need to dissolve the yeast together with the warm water; until it is completely melt. Note that the water has to be just lightly warm.
2. Put the flour in another basin and add the water with the yeast in it little by little, then add all other ingredients and work the pastry very well on a table for at least 10 minutes.
3. Put the pastry in a basin, cover it with a damp cloth and let it leaven for no less than 2 hours, in a warm area of the kitchen. Once the dough is raised (it should double its volume), you have towork it all again by using some flour, then divide it in 2 or more parts, cover again with a damp cloth and let rest for another hour.
How to cook bread in the oven?
4. Finally cook it in the oven at 230 °C (Celsius corresponding to 450 °F Fahrenheit) for about 20 minutes, and then for other 20 minutes at 200 °C (390 °F), until your bread gets of a brownish color, or according to your preferences.
My Tips to Have a Great Tuscan Bread:
If you are going to make bread at home, never be in a hurry! It takes at least three hours in all to make the bread rise properly.
The main feature of Tuscan bread, besides its lack of salt, is that it has to be particularly soft inside. This requires long rising times. To have a great Tuscan bread soft inside, you need to let the dough very soft, even mushy, this is the reason why the quantity of water is more in comparison to other bread recipes.
How to have a crisp and crumbly crust? Once bread is cooked, turn off the oven and leave bread inside it for another 10 minutes so to get a crisper crust. Remove and let cool. A further tip to have a crusty bread is to put a little pan full of water in the oven and leave it there in the first cooking stage (20 minutes).
Homemade bread keeps well also for a few days, it may be a good idea to warm it up in the oven just before eating it.