Sformato autunnale di tre verdure (layered autumn three vegetable terrine from Piemonte)

Time to change gear: autumn is here and I want to explore more of the wonderful northern Italian repertoire, which I think lends itself better to this time of the year.

This vegetable terrine hails from Piemonte, or, to be precise, from this tremendous book about Piedmeontese cooking: if you read Italian, do get it. This is not your typical recipe driven cookery book but one where the emphasis is on food as culture.
it is a layered affair of cooked chopped vegetables, with each vegetable layer enriched with eggs and béchamel sauce: an excellent example of that Italian bourgeois , Sunday lunch cooking, now almost disappeared. Continue reading

Sicilia 2017: Mercato del pesce di Catania e altre sicilianità (Sicily 2017: Catania fish market and other Sicilian things)

Sicily 2017: Catania, Val di Noto (Ibla, Modica, Noto), Siracusa-Ortigia. Che dire? What can I say? Beautiful, vital, real, gutsy, honest, crumbling, excessive, generous, poor, rich – everything and its opposite.
I will post some Sicilian recipes soon. I need time to readjust myself to London rhythms first.

Parmigiana di zucchine (Courgette Parmesan)

Parmigiana di zucchine/courgette parmesan is the lesser known cousin of aubergine Parmesan. The basic idea is of course the same: to alternate layers of fried or grilled courgettes, mozzarella and grated Parmigiano or pecorino, interlayered with tomato sauce. From this basic starting point, many variations have been devised: sometimes it is made in bianco, that is to say without tomato sauce, scamorza can be used instead of mozzarella, prosciutto cotto and/or sliced boiled eggs could be added, or béchamel sauce for a richer dish. It is a lovely, homely spring-summer dish that makes a perfect piatto unico,  one meal dish, served with a a tomato salad, perhaps. Continue reading

Malfatti di spinaci e ricotta (Spinach and ricotta gnocchi)

 

Malfatti literally means “badly shaped” and the name fits perfectly these misshapen, fragile dumplings. Under different names (gnudi, strozzapreti, gnocchi verdi, rabaton) malfatti appear in many parts of northern and central Italy and they share the same logic: cooked, chopped leafy greens (chard, spinach, nettles) are mixed with a binding ingredient (eggs, ricotta, breadcrumbs, flour), formed into fragile gnocchi-like morsels, poached and dressed, generally, with melted butter and Parmigiano or with a light tomato sauce They are delicate but not insubstantial. Continue reading