Archive | February, 2013

Bruno Macrì’s Salsicce e Friarelli

Salsicce e Friarelli: Buon Appetito!

Salsicce e Friarelli: Buon Appetito!

This is a recipe from Bruno Macrì, who posted it on Luciano Pignataro’s Wine Blog . And since it is mouthwatering I linked to it from the Cosa Bolle in Pentola FB page, and received several requests for a translation. Luciano said “Go ahead,” and here we are.

Before we get into the recipe, however, a word on Friarelli. It’s a Neapolitan term that can refer to thin-shouldered long green mild peppers, but more commonly (including here) refers to cime di rapa, broccoli raab or rapini. Italian cime di rapa, I have read, are somewhat bitterer than the broccoli raab grown in the US, but if the sweeter American plants will be quite nice in this recipe too.

And now the recipe:

To serve 6:

For the Pasta:

  • 1 1/4 cups (150 grams) finely ground soft what flour, ideally 00 grade
  • 3 yolks
  • A pinch of salt
  • Flour for flouring your work surface and the pasta sheet

For the Stuffing:

  • 60 grams (about 1/4 cup)  well drained fresh ricotta, ideally buffalo milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano
  • 1 tablespoon greated smoked scamorza cheese (a lightly smoked soft cheese)

To give color:

  • About 1/4 pound (100 g) cleaned broccoli raab
  • A pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

The Sauce:

  • 3 fresh mild Italian pork sausages
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano

Clean and wash the broccoli raab, and blanch them in lightly salted boiling water for one minute. Remove them to the bowl of a blender with a slotted spoon and add to them a half a ladle of the blanching water. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt, and belnd until you have a brilliant green liquid. Refrigerate it until it comes time to use it.

Sift the flour onto you work surface with a pinch of salt. Scoop a well into the flour and fill it with the yolks and all but a couple of tablespoons of the broccoli puree.

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Well

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Well

Start mixing the dough, working from the inside to the outside, until all is perfectly amalgamated. Should it prove necessary, add a little more water. Knead the dough with the palms of your hands until you have a smooth slightly elastic ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for about an hour.

In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Remove the casings from the sausages and crumble them into a non-stick pan with a half a glass of water. Cook them for about 5 minutes, then drain away the water and add a drizzle of olive oil, the unpeeled clove of garlic, and the sprig of rosemary. Cook covered over a gentle flame until the sausage is nicely browned and crunchy. Remove and discard the garlic and the rosemary, and set the sausage aside.

Prepare the stuffing by amalgamating the ricotta and the grated cheeses.

Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, roll the pasta out into rectangular sheets that are 1-2 mm (1/25th to 1/10th of an inch) thick; flour your work surface and the sheet often while your are working.

Dot the sheets of pasta at regular intervals with hazelnut-sized pieces of the cheese mixture.

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Stuffing

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Stuffing

Use a brush to moisten the edges of the sheets that will “kiss” when folded over, and fold the sheets over the stuffing, pressing down firmly around the blebs of stuffing to remove the air. Cut the ravioli free with a serrated pasta wheel.

Salsicce e Friarelli: Green Mountains

Salsicce e Friarelli: Green Mountains

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Ravioli

Salsicce e Friarelli: The Ravioli

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, salt it, add a drizzle of oil that will help keep the ravioli from sticking to each other, and boil them for three minutes. While they are cooking, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and the remaining broccoli puree in a skillet large enough to contain the ravioli.

Draw a ladle of pasta water and set it aside.

Drain the ravioli and transfer them to the skillet while they’re still dripping slightly. Cook, stirring gently, adding a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese and if need be a little of the water they cooked in.

Arrange the ravioli in deep dish bowls, spooning the green sauce over them, and complete the presentation with the crunchy sausages and a light dusting of grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano.


The Original Italian Recipe


Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese, With Saffron

Risotto alla Milanese, With Saffron

Artusi remarked, a little more than a century ago, that the preparation of risotto alla milanese is best left to the Milanese, and then gave three recipes — likely for those too far from Milan to leave the preparation to the Milanese.

It is true that the dish offers a great chef an excellent opportunity to showcase her talents, but a home cook can do very well with care.

To serve 6:

  • 3 cups (600g) short grained rice, e.g. Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
  • 1 1/2 quarts (1.5 l) good meat broth, simmering
  • 2/3 cup (120 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 ounces (70 g) beef marrow (get this from your butcher, or an oriental market), minced
  • A small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white (not oaky) wine, warmed
  • A packet of saffron pistils (about 0.1 g — powdered will do, but pistils are much better)
  • 2 1/3 cups (120 g) grated Parmigiano (half this if you are using the risotto as a bed for ossibuchi)
  • 6 sheets real gold leaf (quite optional, as garnish for a truly extravagant meal) – another option for garnishing is 6 chives

Place the saffron pistils in a bowl to steep with some of the meat broth.

In a casserole, simmer the finely sliced onion and the beef marrow in half the butter over an extremely low flame for about 10 minutes; the onion should become translucent but not brown.

Remove the onion and marrow with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Sauté the rice over a moderate flame for 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly lest the rice stick and burn. About a minute before the rice is done, return the onion mixture to the pot.

Stir in the wine and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated. Next, stir in a ladle of the hot broth, and once most has been absorbed, another, stirring and adding liquid until the rice is almost at the al dente stage.

Stir in the saffron pistils, the remainder of the butter, half the cheese, turn of the flame, and let the risotto sit covered for a minute.

Then serve it, either as a bed for ossibuchi or as a first course, with the remainder of the cheese on the side. If you are serving the risotto with the gold leaf, divvy it into individual portions in the kitchen and carefully lay a sheet of gold over each.

Note: The gold leaf was introduced by Gualtiero Marchesi, one of Italy’s most popular and influential chefs. It does add a unique touch to the dish.

How to make risotto, Illustrated

Risotto col Vino, Red Wine Risotto

Risotto al Vino, Wine Risotto

Risotto al Vino, Wine Risotto

This is a dish you’ll find throughout Northern Italy; the name changes with location because so does the wine. In Piemonte it’s risotto col Barbera or (on important occasions) col Barolo, and in the Veneto region it’s risotto col Valpolicella, or, when people are extravagant, Risotto all’Amarone.

The important thing is that the wine be dry; the finished dish will have a pleasing tartness that goes quite well with grated cheese, and, as a first course, is a wonderful beginning of a meal. It won’t work as well as a one-course meal, but will could work nicely as a side dish I think (though an Italian would never serve it as such).

Drawing from Alessandro Molinari Pradelli’s La Cucina Lombarda:

  • 2 1/2 cups (500 g) Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • 1 quart (1 liter) simmering beef broth (lightly salted bullion will do)
  • 3 cups (750 ml) dry red wine, warmed
  • 2 cups (100 g; this may be more than you need) freshly grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano
  • Salt to taste

Heat half the butter in a pot, add the rice, and cook over a very low flame, stirring lest it stick and burn. In the meantime, sauté the onion separately, in 1/4 cup of butter, until it is lightly browned. Keep warm.

Risotto al Vino, Wine Risotto

Risotto al Vino, Wine Risotto

When the rice is done frying and the grains have become translucent, begin adding the wine, a glass at a time, and letting it evaporate between additions. Then add broth, a ladle at a time, and stir in the onions. Once the rice reaches the al dente stage turn off the heat, stir in the remaining butter, the cheese, and serve. The wine? More of what went into it.

A note: You can also use white wine to make wine risotto. It will of course be much lighter in color, but still quite good.

How to make risotto, Illustrated

Risotto alle Fragole, Strawberry Risotto

Risotto alle Fragole, Strawberry Risotto

Risotto alle Fragole, Strawberry Risotto

One of the nicest things about late spring and early summer in Italy is the tremendous abundance of strawberries that floods the markets. While they do make for wonderful desserts, one can also do other things with them. For example, make risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons minced onion (or shallot)
  • 3 tablespoons julienned celery
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (400 g) short-grained rice, along the lines of Carnaroli or Arborio
  • 1 cup (250 ml) good dry sparkling wine (it need not be Methode Champenoise)
  • Simmering broth, ideally vegetable, though chicken will do
  • 3/4 pound (350 g) firm strawberries, hulled and finely sliced
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano

Sauté the onion and celery until well wilted in 2/3 of the butter, then remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Stir the rice into the butter and cook over a moderate flame, stirring, for 5-7 minutes.

Stir the onion and celery back into the rice, stir to heat the mixture through, and add the bubbly. Continue stirring until the wine is completely evaporated, then begin adding broth a ladle at a time. The rice should be done in about 15 minutes; at this point stir in the strawberries, cook stirring gently for one more minute, turn off the flame, stir in the remaining butter and cheese, cover for a minute, and serve.

If you want to serve individual portions (they do look better) set aside the four prettiest strawberries, split them, and place them on top of the risotto in the bowls, garnishing with either mint or celery leaves. This recipe will serve four hefty eaters, or 6 more normal people. If you’re serving more, set aside more strawberries.

Risotto alle Fragole, Strawberry Risotto

Risotto alle Fragole, Strawberry Risotto

As a variation (use the proportions above)

  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Butter
  • Strawberries, quartered
  • Brown rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Simmering broth
  • Grated Parmigiano (optional)

Sauté the shallot in the butter, and when they have turned golden remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set it aside; stir the rice into the butter and cook, stirring, over a moderate flame for 5-7 minutes. Return the shallot to the pot, stir in the wine and cook until evaporated, then stir in half the strawberries and mix with a spoon until they come apart, forming a syrup. At this point finish cooking the risotto by adding broth a ladle at a time. When it’s done (brown rice will take longer than Arborio to cook, 20 minutes or probably more) stir in the remaining strawberries, a walnut-sized chunk of butter, and, if you want, a few tablespoons grated Parmigiano.

Cover for 2 minutes and serve, with the mint-leaf garnish.

With either of these risotti, I’d serve a zesty, unoaked white wine, for example a Fiano or a Lugana.


How to make risotto, Illustrated

A Mock Carbonara Sauce

The classic Spaghetti alla Carbonara suace enjoyed in Rome is quite simple: Spaghetti, Eggs, Guanciale (or pancetta in a pinch), salt and pepper, and that’s it. Very good, but this doesn’t mean people don’t feel the need to jazz it up, and while purists shudder that the cream some recipes also call for, people also add other things. In this case scallions, and the pasta is different too: Penne instead of spaghetti.

  • 12 ounces (300 g) smooth-sided penne
  • 8 ounces (200 g) smoked pancetta (thick cut bacon will work well as a substitute), minced
  • A shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Set pasta water to boil; when it does salt it and add the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a large high-sided skillet, add the minced pancetta and shallot, and cook, stirring, over a gentle flame, until the pancetta has browned. Combine the cream and egg yolks in a bowl and lightly beat them.

Taste the pasta; when it’s just shy of being al dente drain it and transfer it to the pancetta pot before it has completely stopped dripping. Turn the heat  to high and cook, stirring; after a few seconds stir in the beaten yolk mixture and cook for 30 seconds more; the heat of the pasta will cook the egg. Give it a goodly grating of pepper and serve at once.

A wine? White, and a Frascati from the Castelli Romani would be perfect.

Yiled: 4 servings of penne with mock Carbonara Sauce