There is no need to travel to Italy to enjoy top Italian gastronomy. A visit to Esch-sur- Alzette in Luxembourg and Renato Favaro would be more than sufficient. Renato was born near to Como, in Italy, and moved to France to work in a variety of top restaurants when he was 17. He subsequently opened his own restaurant in Luxembourg, and often goes back to his native Italy in search of culinary secrets kept close to the chest of the nation’s matriarchs. The star-winning chef combines these secrets with French cooking techniques, and likes to be liberal with his ingredients. For Renato, veal has always been close to his heart: “Veal used to be produced mainly in the northern part of Italy, which had a lot to do with the success of the Parmesan cheese. Officially, Parmesan should be made from colostrum, which means there is little left for the calves. In the Po Valley, people are eating more and more vitellone from animals that are only one year old. I don’t think you can compare veal to any other meat. It has such a deliciously natural taste.”
Clean the veal breast, season with salt and pepper and brown on both sides in olive oil. Pour off the fat and deglaze with white wine. Add the bouillon, the jus and the sliced tomatoes. Cover and cook for 8 hours in the oven at 140°C/285°F. Remove the meat from the pan and strain off the liquid. Reduce the liquid to the desired flavour and consistency, and thicken with butter. Add the chopped truffle and pull the meat apart. Put the head on to cook in cold water. Bring it to the boil and drain. Do not keep the water. Rinse the head well, put in a fresh pan of cold water, white wine, the vinegar, vegetables and the herbs, and bring to the boil. Season with salt and simmer slowly until cooked. Leave to cool in the liquid and cut the meat into 15-mm cubes. Fry these briefly and keep warm. For the filling, mix the chicken breast with the egg white, the cream and the truffle juice until smooth. Puree using a tamis and season to taste with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Cook the pasta for 6 minutes in salted water and immerse immediately in iced water. Grease the inside of some rings with butter and stand the pasta up against them. Spread the filling onto the inside of the pasta and spoon the spinach into the bottom of the rings. Put the meat pulled from the veal breast on top, followed by the pieces of calf’s head and then cover with the spinach. Heat this in the oven for 5 minutes at 180°C/355°F, then remove the rings. Place the timbale on a plate, put an egg yolk on top, and some white truffle shavings. Serve with the truffle sauce.
4 egg yolks, 40g white Alba truffle.
For the veal breast
400g veal breast, 2 l veal bouillon, 300ml veal jus, 100ml white wine, 10g butter, 10g truffle of the season, 200g Rabelais tomatoes.
For the calf’s head
1 calf’s head, 100ml white wine, 50g white wine vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, 1 large carrot, 2 sticks of celery, 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 400g spinach, 200g Ziti pasta n°18.
For the filling
1 breast fillet from a Bresse chicken, 25g egg white, 50g cream, 200ml truffle juice, chopped parsley.
Toss the shanks in flour. Shake off any excess flour and fry well on both sides in olive oil. Add the mirepoix and leave it to sweat before deglazing with the white wine. Add the jus and the tomatoes and cover with water. Cook in the oven for 210 minutes, then leave to cool slightly before removing the meat and setting the marrow bone to one side. Roll the meat tightly in plastic food wrap and allow to set in the fridge. Cut into slices and fry briefly in some olive oil on both sides just before serving. Simmer the juices from the shanks with the orange zest and reduce by half. Strain the liquid and thicken. For the risotto, sweat the rice in olive oil for 3 minutes, add the saffron and the fond blanc, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave it to stand for 5 minutes. Spoon the cheese and a few drops of olive oil through the risotto then fill the marrowbones with the seasoned bone marrow. Place the osso bucco and risotto next to it and garnish with deep-fried sage and the gold leaf. Finish the plate with some garden peas.
4 blanched pea pods, 12 deepfried sage leaves, gold leaf, 4 marrowbones from the shank (each 5cm long).
For the osso bucco
2500 g veal shanks, 300 g mirepoix, 2 cloves of garlic, 100 g San Marzano tomatoes, 500 g veal jus, 500ml white wine, zest of 2 oranges, olive oil, flour.
For the risotto
100 g Vialone Nano rice, a few threads of saffron, 500 g fond blanc, 70 g grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil.