May 29 2019

Three Colours Rice Ring with Stracciatella

There is an unmistakable touch of Sicily in the flavors and colours of this dish (although the rice comes from Piedmont), which goes all too well with the delicacy of the stracciatella, or burrata if you opt for that one. It features a magnificent look, full flavours and you can even make it the day ahead. 

Serves 10-12

  • 250 gr red wild rice
  • 250 gr black rice
  • 250 gr white Arborio rice
  • 80 gr pecorino cheese, grated
  • 80 gr almonds, skin removed, coarsely chopped
  • 170 gr dried tomatoes, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 12 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed under running water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 600 gr fresh stracciatella (it is the stuffing of burrata: you can use a burrata as well, thoroughly chopped)
  • 80 gr black olives

Boil separately the three kinds of rice and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the tomatoes, almonds, pecorino cheese and capers in a food processor and work until you reach the consistency of a rough cream.

Divide the sauce in three parts, and with each one dress the rices, one at a time. Squeeze the lemon juice into the rice, mix well and set aside.

Grease a tin with some oil and first place the black rice with the help of a spoon. Even the surface, then add the white rice, and finally the red one on top. Press well with the spoon in order to eliminate any bubbles and tap the tin on the table to stabilize the content. Close the tin with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Unmold the tin on a plate, pop the stracciatella into the center and decorate with some black olives and additional whole almonds.

 

 

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Posted in First course, Vegetarian
May 24 2019

Hazelnut and Ginger Pak Choi

Serves

This recipe is the result of a melting pot between a Chinese vegetable like Pak Choi and a very typical North Italian ingredient like hazelnut. I hope you appreciate the flavour as well as the easy and extremely quick cooking.

Serves 3

  • 1 tbsp  fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped as well
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, or whatever oil you like
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, skin on
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 medium pak choi, washed, well drained and cut into stripes of 1 cm

In a small pan roast the hazelnuts, let cool to room temperature and reduce to a medium crumble. Set aside.

In a wok or a large, heavy-based pan heat the oil and gently fry the ginger and garlic.

Place the pak choi in the pan, stir well, add the soy sauce and let cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, frequently stirring. Scatter with the hazelnut crumble and serve hot.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
May 13 2019

Artichoke Patties

 

Artichoke patties are an excellent alternative to meat patties, which will surely be appreciated even by the non vegetarian.  

For 30 patties

  • 3 big artichokes
  • 350 gr ricotta cheese
  • 100 gr parmesan, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 40 gr bread crumbs
  • zest of 1 organic lemon + the juice for cleaning the artichokes
  • 40 gr shelled walnuts, coarsely crushed
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

for the sauce:

  • 250 ml Kefir
  • the smallest pinch of saffron

Clean and finely slice the artichokes. (see http://www.lagrandemela.info/en/flan-di-carciofi/)

Place the oil and garlic (cloves halved) in a large pan and gently fry until golden, then remove from the pan and add the artichokes. Sautée for 2-3 minutes and pour in the hot vegetable stock. Cover with a lid and let cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the stock has evaporated and the artichokes are very tender.

Place the artichokes on a board and chop using a knife.

In a bowl pop in the artichokes, ricotta cheese, parmesan, nutmeg, parsley, mint, lemon zest and walnuts. Mix well and if the mixture becomes too soft add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the patties using your hands, roll into the bread crumbs and place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Spray with some oil and bake in the oven, still, at 200°C for 20/25 minutes, until golden and cooked through. If you prefer, you can fry the patties in hot oil.

Serve with some good Kefir seasoned with salt and the smallest bit of saffron.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Mar 11 2019

Artichoke Flan

I am pretty sure you will love this artichoke flan: artichokes are in season, the recipe is easy and the flan can be made the day before. You will just have to warm it a little before serving and decorate it according to your taste.

Serves 8

  • 750 ml fresh whole milk
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 100 gr plain flour
  • 80 gr butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 large artichokes
  • 1 small onion, thinly chopped
  • 4 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 lemon

Clean and trim the artichokes (if you are wondering how, look at this good video tutorial https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-trim-artichokes), halve and reduce to thin slices. Place the slices in cold water and juice from 1 lemon as you go along so they don’t darken in colour.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, then add the chopped onion and fry until tender. Add the artichokes, cover the pan with a lid, and let cook for 10 minutes. At this point remove the lid and let the juice almost completely dry.

For the béchamel: melt butter slowly in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Turn down the heat and slowly pour in the milk, while accurately whisking. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and season well with salt and pepper. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, parmesan and the artichokes and stir well. Set aside.

Whisk  the eggs whites until they form soft peaks or until stiff and glossy and combine with the artichoke mixture using a spatula, so that the fluffy egg whites you have thoroughly worked won’t be damaged. Wash, dry and chop the basil leaves by hand, and add to the mixture. Do not use scissors to cut herbs, or they will turn sour and loose flavour together with their essential oils.

Grease a tin with butter, dust with some flour and remove the excess. Pour in the artichoke mix, level the surface and beat the bottom of the tin on a hard surface in order to eliminate possible bubbles. Bake at 180°C, still, for 45 minutes. When ready, turn the flan over while still lukewarm- gently moving a knife between the flan and the tin first if needed- or it will irreparably stick to the tin. In case it unluckily happens, you can fix the tragedy by warming up the flan over a very low heat for a couple of minutes and trying again.

 

 

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Posted in Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Feb 12 2019

Polenta Mini Balls

Stilish and elegant, these mini polenta balls are the ideal finger food to make the most of a winter dinner.  

For around 25 balls

  • 100 gr quick-cooking polenta
  • 500 ml tap water
  • 1 yolk and a half from free range eggs
  • 45 gr grated parmesan
  • 1/4 tbsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
  • 75 gr hazelnuts, skin on
  • 75 gr raw pistachios

In a heavy-based pan bring the water to a boil; add the polenta and whisk with some energy until well combined. Always stirring the polenta, let it cook for 8 minutes (or follow the instructions on the box).

Add the parmesan, nutmeg, a pinch of  sea salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Now incorporate the eggs, one at a time.

Using a mortar and pestel coarsely chop the pistachios and hazelnuts to a granola.

Very carefully, since the polenta will be hot, make small balls  wetting your hands in water every now and then, in order to give them a more accurate shape.

Coat every ball first in the egg yolks slightly beaten and then in the granola, switching between the two. Delicately put the balls on a tray covered with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes at 180°C, still.  Serve warm but not too hot.

 

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Posted in Starters, Vegetarian
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