Thursday, 30 July 2015

Pasta with rocket salad and walnuts pesto

I am pleased to share this easy-to-make pesto that, as many pasta dressing of the Italian tradition, is made of the very simple ingredients people could have at hand, or wild plants like rocket salad used to be.
Once again,  first quality fresh ingredients, Italian cheeses (Italian sounding is not the same!) and good extra olive oil are the secrets of this simple, full of flavour recipe. 

You can prepare the dressing in advance: it keeps for a day or so in the fridge, but also you can freeze it in portions in an air tight container or jars.
The only fuss of this recipe is to peel the walnuts from its dark skin, but it is worth the effort because you will have a smother result.

Ingredients for 4 people:

320 grs. Pasta (This was great, but you can also try smaller like "gnocchetti sardi")

100 grs /3.52 oz Rocket salad
50 gr. / 1.76 oz Walnuts
100 grs/ 3.52 (half a glass...)  extra virgin olive oil (e.v.o.o.)
30 grs./ 1 oz. Grated Pecorino (sheep cheese)
30 grs./ 1 oz Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano
1 pinch salt + more to cook pasta

1)   Put some water in a little pan and bring it to the boil. Throw in the walnuts and drain in a colander after a couple of minutes.

2)   In the meanwhile wash, drain and dry the rocket and discard the stems.

3)  Peel the walnuts, not so easy but feasible.

4)   Put the walnuts, the cheeses, half of the e.v.o.o. and the rocket salad in a mixer - slowly at first - and work for few minutes adding the remaining oil little by little. Do not let the cream to warm up.
You should obtain a grainy cream. Refrigerate it.

5)   In a large pan bring the water to the boil, add 3 teaspoons salt, and cook the pasta as suggested on the packaging. Respect the time!

6)   In a large pan mix the pasta with the pesto. Serve immediately. White wine recommended!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

cannoli siciliani

Yummy, yummy, yummy....
Chopped pistachios, semi-sweet chocolate pieces, and candied citrus peel or cherries are often still included, dotting the open ends of the pastries.
You can find the best in Sicily, where there come from, but with this recipe you will become a master....
You have to find the cylinders to fry them on, but I know that you are full of resources...

Ingredients for about 20 cannoli

250 gr flour
30 gr.icing sugar
50 gr. lard (or vegetable oil)
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
30 ml Dry Marsala wine
1 pinch of salt
1 about 1 liter / 2 pints vegetable oil (to fry)

750 grs. / 1.6 lbs.  ricotta (possibly made with ships' milk)
300 grs. / 0.66  sugar
75 grs. / a table spoons chopped dark chocolate

to decorate

candied citrus peel or candied cherries
or chopped dark chocolate
or chopped (unsalted) pistachio...
or chopped hazelnuts

1) For the ricotta cream, let the ricotta drain in a sieve. Discart the liquid.
Then work together the ricotta and the sugar. Refrigerate.

2) In the meanwhile prepare the shells: Mix together the flour, the cocoa powder and the icing sugar.
Add the sugar and the lard and start making the dough, then add the egg and little by little the Marsala wine.
Kneed it for at least 5 minutes, the dough must be quite solid and smooth.

Wrap the dough in cling film and let it "rest" for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

Pull the dough  very thin (1 mm.) with your pasta machine or the rolling pin.
With a ring about 9 cm 7 3.5 inch approx (anyway it depends from the dimensiones of your cylinder) cut it and you will get about 20-24 disks. 

Pull them slightly to change the shape in ovals, grease the cylinders with some moil and roll the rounds, sealing with a little bit of egg white.

In a frying pan, warm up a good quantity of vegetable oil, and when it boils, fry the shells with the cylinders.

It takes very little, let them golden on all sides, and drain on some paper.
When cold, slip off the shells from the cylinders and proceed until you have dough.
The shells will keep well in an air-tight container, and you can make them in advance.

Before filling the shells, add the chocolate to the ricotta.

Fill the shells with the creamy ricotta ONLY before serving them, if not, the shell tends to become soft, and it looses its crunchiness.

Decorate the two ends with chocolate chips, candied citrus peel.