What a treat for the senses is Amadeus. Beautiful to look at: Amadeus was filmed in Milos Forman’s home country, Czechoslovakia–mostly in Prague. Because preserved examples from all periods of its history were readily available–other European cities had become too modern. An old European city is a beautiful thing. Plus there are some scenes filmed in the actual opera houses that premiered Mozart’s operas. Speaking of which, the music is just completely gorgeous to listen to–Obviously I’m not the biggest classical music fan, just a taste of it is great. The taste here is a feast. We pretty much spent most of the day listening to our one and only Mozart cd. Which we got for free.
Great acting in this movie. Milos Forman did a great job of casting some semi-obscure American actors who do a bang-up job. The only one who had any sort of prior major screen role was Tom Hulce, who was Larry in Animal House six years prior. Hulce’s Mozart laugh is completely contagious; his bratty behavior, wonderful. Elizabeth Berridge who played Constanze, was a last minute replacement for Meg Tilly, was a complete film novice. My Facebook friend, a very young Christine Ebersole makes an appearance as Salieri’s and Mozart’s Diva. And although he is the guy hung from the helicopter in the Brian DePalma Scarface F. Murray Abraham (Salieri) was perhaps best known as TV commercial actor (he wasa talking leaf in a series of television commercials for Fruit of the Loom underwear). Thanks to Amadeus, he is an Oscar winner. Interesting lives these actors have.
For dinner we went with that other Wolfgang, Wolfgang Puck (he’s also Austrian) and a classic–Goulash with spaetzle( little Austrian dumplings)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cups onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon spicy paprika
2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 pounds beef shank, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and sugar until caramelized. Add the garlic and caraway seed. Cook another minute.
2. Add the sweet and sharp paprika, marjoram, thyme and bay leaf. Sauté another minute, until fragrant.
3. Add the tomato paste. Deglaze with the vinegar and the stock and add the pieces of beef shank, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until very tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Prepare Spaetzle according to package directions
Serve with spaetzle on the side
For our choice of beverage we had a nice Weiss beer from Austria and a Czech beer called Rebel. Very nice
While out shopping for the spaetzle I found these Mozart chocolates at a local European market. They’re not exactly the “Nipples of Venus” Salieri feeds to Constanze, but they were close.