Mediterranean cooking expert Paula Wolfert takes it easy when she entertains. Her meals are not a blur of speed and anxiety but a measured cadence where food cooks unattended - often for hours - slowly and surely, retaining a succulence that's often forfeited in fast, high-heat cooking techniques.
To Wolfert, slow-cooking means cooking at your convenience, with pleasure and rewarding results. She shows us how in her award-winning book, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook (John Wiley & Sons, 2003; $35). In it, she shares many of the same ideals of the Slow Food movement, which was started in Italy in 1986 by food writer Carlo Petrini in response to a proposal to build a McDonald's near the Spanish Steps in Rome.
The movement promotes homemade, handmade food, biodiversity, sustainability - and, above all, taking the time to savor good food at the table.
For a special fall supper, slow-roast a pork shoulder. At low temperatures, cooking can accommodate your timetable. We've adjusted Wolfert's Night-and-Day Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder to fit into one day of cooking. Start the roast in the morning, and it will be ready for dinner.
The skin crisps to crunchy cracklings, and the meat melts with juicy tenderness. Serve it with carrots butter-steamed in a slow-cooker, then finished with cream and olives. Add sautéed kale or a frisée salad and bread to round out the menu.
Dessert is delicious despite its simplicity: toasted walnuts and tangy cream over chunks of baked butternut squash, plump with sweet syrup - and you can bake it two days ahead.