Sep 30 2019

Rigatoni alla Checca, a Roman Recipe

Please do not hold a grudge on me, my Roman friends, but let’s admit that the Roman cuisine is essentially  oriented to the “basics” and to a rusticity that I often do not appreciate.  Yet,  give credit where credit is due: there are excellent recipes among the Roman ones too, and what I am describing today is exactly one of them, a very easy pasta, though rich in taste and flavour. The must is the ricotta cheese: it has to be the best you can afford.

Serves 4

  • 400 gr rigatoni
  • 300 gr ricotta cheese
  • 80 gr parmesan, freshly grated
  • 14 date or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 5 tbsp extravirgin olive oil of extra good quality, plus extra to garnish
  • black pepper, freshly ground, to your taste

In a large bowl whisk by hand the ricotta, parmesan and pepper until creamy. Dice the tomatoes to super tiny cubes and add to the ricotta mixture,  together with the basil leaves, washed, drained,  pat-dried and cut by hand into small stripes. Season with the oil and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature. Add some sea salt only before serving.

Boil the rigatoni in salted water (keep 1 cup of water in case the sauce is too thick), transfer to the bowl with the sauce and toss everything together. Add a further glug of oil, salt to your taste, some extra pepper and serve.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Vegetarian
Aug 19 2019

Super Crunchy Fig and Ricotta Cheese Gratin

What is better than figs dipped in a sea of creamy ricotta cheese mix and surprisingly, deliciously crunchy? Either prepared the day ahead and refrigerated or eaten lukewarm, this is a cake you will treasure.

Serves 8

  • 500 gr fresh ricotta cheese
  • 800 gr figs, ripe but not too soft
  • 200 gr caster sugar
  • 40 gr brown sugar
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 6 amaretti biscuits (optional) or 50 gr almonds, skin on, coarsely crushed
  • 50 gr butter

In a large bowl mix the ricotta, egg yolks and caster sugar working with a fork.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and glossy, then incorporate into the ricotta mix.

Grease a ceramic baking dish with some butter, scatter with a few breadcrumbs discarding the excess, then pour the batter. Place the figs halfway in the batter, forming a circle.

Scatter the butter flakes on top, sprinkle the brown sugar and bake in the oven at 190°C for 15 minutes. Now sprinkle the amaretti, crushed with a mortar and pestle, or with the almonds, and bake for an additional 30 minutes. If the gratin becomes too golden, cover with aluminum foil.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Desserts, Recipes, Vegetarian
Dec 10 2018

My Mum’s Ricotta Cheese Tortelloni

Almost everybody on planet Earth are more than familiar with the classical tortelloni, or ravioli, with ricotta cheese and spinach. My mum Giuliana, who was born in Bologna, used to make the tortelloni with parsley instead of  spinach, like many Bolognesi were used to doing according to their own tradition. The parsley-based filling is absolutely more aromatic and has a stronger zing than the spinach-based one. For my family, there is no Christmas without this lovely dish.

Serves 6

  • 400 gr plain flour
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 350 gr ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp coarsley chopped parsley
  • 150 gr good Italian parmesan
  • 100 gr butter, melted

Prepare the filling mixing the ricotta cheese together with the parmesan, nutmeg and parsley. Do not forget to add a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside and make the dough.

Place the eggs, flour and a half of an egg shell amount of water into a food processor or a kneading machine. Knead for 5-7 minutes until you obtain a smooth lump. Wrap with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for one hour.

If you want to make the dough the traditional way, by hand, place the flour on a large board, make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork and incorporate the flour little by little scraping the side, until the eggs and flour are thoroughly combined. Knead the dough working with your hands as well as the back of your wrists for at least 10 minutes, working with a regular rhythm until you obtain a smooth and uniform lump of dough. Also in this case, wrap the dough with cling film and let it rest in the fridge for one hour.

Now fetch the dough from the fridge and knead it by hand for an additional 5 minutes working well with the back of your wrists and adding a small quantity of flour if needed. Dust the board with some flour (not a lot or your dough will become dry), press the dough out flat with your fingertips and roll using a rolling pin until very thin.  Cut into squares of 4/5 cm and place around half a teaspoon of the filling in the centre. At this point brush the sides with a bit of water, so that the tortelli will be more stiffly closed.

Fold the filled squares in a shape of a triangle, pressing with your fingertips along the sides. Pinch one end of the triangle, then using the other two fingers wrap the opposite end around your first index finger, then press the two ends together, and voilà your tortello is ready.

While closing the tortelli, place on a clean tea cloth dusted with flour, then boil in hot salted water for 4-5 minutes. Drain well, season with the butter, previously melted in a little pan with the sage, and serve immediately.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in First course, Recipes, Vegetarian
Publications
Casa golosa. Un ricettario di famiglia fra tradizione e nuovi sapori in vendita su
Fare festa. Idee e ricette per ricevere in casa. in vendita su