Go Go Verrocchio!

Inspired by the Times article on the exhibition in D.C., (link here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/arts/design/verrocchio-review-national-gallery-leonardo.html ) I went, throwing in a catch-up with a Washington-based friend as a bonus.

Born Andrea di Michele di Francesco de’ Cioni in 1435, the artist took the name Verrocchio in tribute to his master, a goldsmith. He emerged as a brilliant painter, sculptor (in bronze, terra cotta, marble) and goldsmith, fortunate to have the patronage of the Medicis. (Nothing like the deepest pockets around!) Other greats including Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Leonardo worked in his studio, as explained in the exhibition which points out which works, largely paintings, were probably partly made via “assistant” hands.

Verrocchio’s David in the National Gallery
Avocados for guac at Oyamel

Before the exhibit, (at the National Gallery, free like most DC museums), we saw a half-hour film about it, narrated by Glen Close, that greatly enriched my enjoyment. Then upstairs to the real thing which displays works gathered from all over– a treat to see them in one space. The exhibition closes January 12 so hustle if it interests you.

Among the non-Renaissance delights of the DC visit was a three pm meal at an exuberant Mexican restaurant, quite a contrast to the more subdued exhibit. Under the leadership of Chef Jose Andres, an advocate for immigration reform, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana served up great margaritas, tacos (one of mine was goat) and a bean dish that was TDF.

To complete the cultural immersion, before the Verrocchio, we hit the Freer Gallery to see the Hokusai show, a tribute to the great Japanese master that displays works ranging from large screens to small drawings.

Hokusai’s The Great Wave

It was a splendid trifecta of food and art, so terrific that I was torn as to an appropriate recipe. Italian wins. This is my standard lasagne recipe, made at least once a year, usually for Christmas Eve. It comes from that wizard of simplicity, Peg Bracken who gave us the wonderful I Hate to Cook Book.


2 Tbls. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 onion chopped

1 lb. ground beef

8 oz can tomato sauce

1 #2 can tomatoes

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

½ tsp oregano

8 oz lasagna noodles

½ lb mozzarella, sliced thin

¾ pound ricotta cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the ground beef  tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and simmer 20 minutes. (Break up meat as it cooks.) While sauce simmers, cook noodles in boiling salted water (read package for time) and drain well. Butter casserole. First layer is noodles, then cheese (some ricotta, some mozzarella, some Parmesan) then meat sauce. Make two more layers in the same order, ending with a layer of sauce and Parmesan. Bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes.

OR freeze unbaked, covered with foil. Remember to defrost 24 hours before you plan to serve. Once defrosted, put in 350 or so oven until hot through. Toast Verrocchio, immigration reform, free museums or what you will. Happy New Year!

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