Saturday, January 14, 2006


My dad, like me a big fan of character actors, alerted me to the passing of Vincent Schiavelli on Dec 26. Schiavelli will probably be best remembered as Mr. Vargas in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, though my favorites were his role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and his brief but very memorable appearance as the assassin Dr. Kaufman in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Mr. Schiavelli was also an accomplished chef and writer of cookbooks. Here's his recipe for Coscia 'i Maiali Arrustutu (Sicilian Roast Pork Loin):

1 3-lb. boneless pork loin
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
6 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously salt pork loin, then put it on a roasting rack fitted into a medium roasting pan.

2. Wrap peppercorns in a clean kitchen towel, then crush by pressing with the bottom of a heavy skillet or tapping gently with a mallet. (Peppercorns should be cracked, not ground.) Pat cracked pepper on top of pork loin, then add chopped onions, patting them gently into place on top of loin.

3. Put potatoes into a mixing bowl and toss with salt and oil, then add to roasting pan. Roast pork and potatoes for 45 minutes, then add wine. Stir potatoes and cook for an additional 45 minutes, basting occasionally. Remove pan from oven, transfer pork to a cutting board, and allow to rest for five minutes before carving. Transfer potatoes to a platter, arrange sliced pork loin over potatoes, and top with any pan juices.

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