Egg yolk pasta with n’duja and ricotta

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Egg yolk pasta is amazing, you don’t need to make a sauce, because the sauce is already inside.

pasta

1 quantity homemade pasta dough
1 beaten egg

for the filling

8 eggs, yolks seperated and whites stored for another recipe
75g ricotta
75g N’duja or any other spreadable Salami
salt and pepper

for lemon and parsley butter

75g butter
drizzle of olive oil
flat-leaf parsley leaves
juice 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
shaves of Pecorino or Parmesan

(1). For your filling mix together the ricotta and N’duja till well combined then season.

(2). Roll your pasta dough through a pasta machine on it’s widest setting between 3 – 5 times to prove the dough, then keep running the dough through, reducing the settings each time till you have a soft, smooth silky dough, cut the dough into eight managable lengths about 1o inches long, so its easier to work with.

(3). Lay your sheets of pasta out flat on a board or work top, and place a big spoonful of the ricotta mixture onto the left hand side of each sheet leaving enough dough to the right hand side to fold over. Make a well in the mixture with a spoon.

(4). Carefully place each of your egg yolks into the well in the filling, be very careful not to break the yolk. Brush around the filling with beaten egg to help seal.

(5). Fold the dough over the egg yolk and seal around the filling removing any trapped air. But be very careful not to break the yolk. repeat with other sheets of pasta.

(6). Use a rivoli stamp, pastry cutter or knife to cut out each ravioli and pinch carefully around each ravioli to make sure they are sealed then place on a papper towel lined plate and rest in the fridge.

(7). When your ready to cook your ravioli, bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling add a couple of good pinches of salt and carefully place your ravioli in the water for not much more than 2 or 3 minutes, so the pasta is cooked but your yolk will soon be runny.

(8). While the pasta is cooking make the sauce by melting the butter with a little olive oil in a pan, once the butter is melted add the lemon juice and parsley and mix together well.

(9). Remove your pasta with a sloted spoon or scoop and place on a tea towl to drain for a couple of seconds then place the ravioli in your serving bowls.

(10). Drizzle your butter sauce over the ravioli and sprinkle with shaved Pecorino.

Cod and n’duja ravioli with tomato and basil butter

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Cod is a great partner to n’duja, so why not use them pasta?

I made mine then combined them with tomato butter. Tomato butter itself would work great with normal pasta or gnocchi too.

 

For ravioli

200g raw cod, skinned, bones removed
75g n’duja (spicy Calabrian salami)
200g pasta dough
1 egg, lightly beaten

Tomato butter

80 g (2¾ oz) butter
1 clove garlic, crushed

15g shredded basil
30g passata

(1). Put the cod in a food processor. Add the n’duja and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

(2). Put the pasta dough through your machine till you have a thin long sheet of pasta. Cut it in two and lay out on a board or worktop.

(3). Place 2–3 teaspoons of the cod mixture on the centre of your one of your pasta sheets. Brush around the prawn mixture with the beaten egg, and cover with the other sheet of pasta.

(4). Press the edges firmly to seal. Using a 7 cm (2¾ inch) scone cutter, cut the ravioli into circles. Cook the ravioli in a large pan of boiling water for 4 minutes. (This is best done in batches to prevent overcrowding of the pan, which will cause the temperature to drop.)

(5).  While the pasta is cooking  melt the butter gently in a pan with the garlic. Add the shredded basil, pasatta  and a little freshly ground black pepper and cook and stir till well mixed.

(6). Remove the pasta and toss in the tomato butter, then serve topped with grated Parmesan.

 

 

Ndundari with Tomato and Basil

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gnocchi, the Italian potato dumpling eaten all over northern Italy. But did you know that there is a southern Italian variation using ricotta instead of potatoes, to make a lighter gnocchi dumpling.

I made my own ricotta, as unfortunately in the UK it’s not easy to get hold of good quality ricotta, but making your own ricotta is really easy, see my other blog post for just how easy.

Ndundari is the Italian name for small ricotta dumplings made around the Amalfi region of Italy where in harder times poverty was region-wide and people survived on what they had to hand. They are very simple to make, as you will see from the recipe taste wonderfully light and are delicious with a fresh tomato sauce with the added heat of fresh chilli.

For Ndundari

200g “00” flour, plus extra for flouring
220g ricotta
3 egg yolks
30g Parmesan,grated
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

For Sauce

2 tins plum tomatoes
few basil leaves
olive oil
3 garlic cloves, cut into thick slices
1 red chilli, chopped

(1). In a bowl, mix the flour, ricotta, egg yolks, parmesan, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper together to form a soft, moist dough.

(2). Place on a floured board and knead for five minutes.

(3). Cut your dough ball into four then roll each piece of dough into a long, thin sausage shape and then cut it at right angles into rectangular shapes about 2cm long.

(4). Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Once boiling add a good pince of salt and then add the dumplings. They will rise to the surface again, then lower the heat and simmer for a further 2 minutes.

(5). To make your sauce. Place the tomatoes and basil in a bowl, mush up the tomatoes to a chunky texture, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

(6). Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic and chilli, add the tomato mixture and warm through until the mixture is bubbling.

(7). Drain the Ndundari with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly and serve immediately topped with grated Parmesan.

Soave anyone ??

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Soave has had mixed fortunes in the world of quality wine, its been high  and has flown Italy’s flag as a quality white wine, and its been low with a reputation of mass-produced, dilute low quality wine of little to no quality.

Firstly, I would like to say Soave has improved its quality, it has rebuilt its image and earned a prestigious DOCG in the process. But unlike similar Italian wine regions Soave hasn’t shouted it’s new found glory from the rooftops.

Italy’s Soave region is a dense sea of vines beneath with the odd medieval castle thrown in for good measure. Soaves denomination can be found north of Verona,  and has recently, in the last ten years, undergone a stunning transformation. This makeover however, has gone largely unnoticed by world wine consumers.

Soave, unfortunately, was once the undisputed kingdom of Italy’s dilute, uninspiring whites made in industrial quantities, but finally Soave’s tighter production regulations, inspired winemakers and general reinvigoration  has seriously escalated quality, some would say astronomically.

Today’s Soave  wines,  I would say at any price range (but particularly those from the historic Classico area which are made from lower yields and perfectly matured grapes) are more like good Chablis than the expected insipid wines Soave once produced. Even a low priced supermarket Soave now shows complex aromas and creamy fruit,  with an intense minerality, which you’d expect in fine Chablis, but not a Soave surely.

This amazing transformation has seen Soave gain the highly coveted DOCG designation for two of its wines: the sweet Recioto made from dried grapes, and for Soave Superiore. But still most people don’t know it.

So is Soaves understated quality a problem ?? I think no, because despite now producing quality wines, pretty much across every price range, Soave still remains affordable, unlike most other transformed wines.

So why hasn’t Soave become Italy’s flagship white again ?

And why do wine lovers and critics continue to overlook it?

Basically, in a world of unforgiving critics  . . . Soave has an image problem. Most people still associate Soave with cheap, nondescript wines and massive output and many people can’t get over Soaves historical reputation. But for those few of us in the know this has kept prices down, but  it has also kept consumers from discovering Soave’s extraordinary revival.

I would like to urge anyone who reads this to go to your supermarket, wine shop, Internet retailer or wherever and buy a bottle of Soave, the region deserves a second chance, but more so, Soave deserves our support for what it’s done in terms of the quality of its wine, I personally wish other regions would take a leaf out of Soaves book and make amends for their past misdemeanours, but keep it real. In today’s world of wine improvements in quality come at a price, or should I say price increase.

 

Pasta rags with fresh pesto

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This is probably the easiest fresh pasta recipe, so if you’ve never made fresh pasta, this is the recipe for you !!!

Firstly, you don’t need a pasta machine, the dough can be rolled with a rolling pin. You don’t need any fancy pasta cutters or folding techniques, you just tear the dough into rags.

Finally, if you are really lazy you could use shop bought pesto and tear fresh lasagne sheets, but it’s way more fun making it yourself.

Pasta
100g Italian ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting
1 egg
pinch of salt

For Pesto

large bunch basil
10g sea salt
40g pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
100ml olive oil
80g Parmesan, freshly grated

(1). To make your pasta, place the flour in a bowl or on a work surface, and make a well in the centre. Add the egg and a pinch of salt. Firstly with a fork and then with your hands, gradually mix the flour with the eggs and oil until you obtain a rough paste.

(2). Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until it is smooth, not sticky. Cover with a cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for atleast half an hour, but over night would be better.

(3). Once rested divide the dough into quarters. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough in turn until you have a 1mm thin dough, without it sticking or ripping. (If you have a pasta machine, place the dough through the rollers gradually, starting with the highest setting, until you have sheets about 1mm thick).

(4). Rip the sheets of pasta into large squares, about 15cm by 15cm, and dust with flour to prevent them sticking together.

(5). To make the pesto, put the basil leaves in a mortar with the salt, pine nuts and garlic. Grind down with the pestle until it becomes a fine pulp. Start to add the oil and continue grinding until the mixture is smooth. Add the parmesan and mix well.

(6). Place the pasta sheets one by one into a saucepan with plenty of lightly salted boiling water, and add the remaining oil. Cook until al dente, about 3 minutes or so.

(7). Place 4 tablespoons of pesto in a large pan and warm up gently with the same amount of water from cooking pasta pan, which will loosen the pesto to form a sauce.

(8). Remove the pasta sheets from the water with a slotted spoon, and place them into the sauce, add the rest of your pesto and toss together well till the mandilli are well coated with pesto.

(9). Serve with a few extra basil leaves to garnish and topped with a little more grated Parmesan.

Pasta Puttanesca

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Pasta puttanesca is a very old Italian dish. As with most Italian dishes Puttanesca has a story behind where it came from, however it is a little risqué.

Puttanesca comes from the Italian word “Puttana” meaning pprostitue, the story behind the dish is that “ladies” would prepare the dish for their gentleman callers as a means of sustenance for their activities. The ingredients are Italian store cupboard staples and almost every Italian household would have these ingredients in their cupboards.

Regardless of its origins, Puttanesca is a delicious sauce and works well with many different pasta shapes.

 

100g rigatoni
olive oil
2 anchovies
1 garlic clove, sliced
2tbsp capers
8 pitted black olives, halved
dash passata
6 small plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
chopped basil
grated Parmesan
(1). Place a pan of water on to boil for the fusilli, once the water is at a rolling boil add a good couple of pinches of salt. Then add the fusilli.

(2). In a pan over a medium heat, warm the oil then add the garlic, then add the anchovies, stirring well till they have dissolved then add the tomato halves, capers,black olives and passata, then stir briefly to warm through the passata and tomatoes. By now the pasta should be cooked so remove from the water and add to the tomatoes mixture and toss well so the fusilli is coated with the sauce, then toss in the chopped basil.

(3). Serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

Honey, orange and walnut tart

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For the pastry
250 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75 g icing sugar
180 g butter
2 egg yolks
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the filling
700 g walnuts
100 g dark brown sugar
40 g plain flour
6 eggs
6 oranges, or blood oranges, juice only, plus the grated zest from 2 of the oranges
8 tbsp clear honey
1/2 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out

(1). First make the pastry. Put the flour, icing sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse together until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

(2). Add the yolks and pulse for 10 seconds then tip the mixture into a mixing bowl and bring together into a ball using your hands. Cover and rest in the fridge for an hour.

(3). Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface to about 3mm thick. Then line the base and sides of 23cm flan ring or loose bottom tart tray.  Transfer to the fridge to rest for a further half an hour.

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(4). Preheat the oven to 150C/ gm 2.

(5). Line the pastry case with a sheet of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans then bake blind for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden.

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(6). Then remove the baking beans and paper and return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the base is golden then remove from the oven and brush the base with the beaten egg.

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(7). Now make the filling by tipping the walnuts onto a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. When cool enough to handle, rub them together to remove some of the papery skins, then scatter them into the pastry case.

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(8). In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar and flour then whisk in the eggs followed by the orange juice and zest, vanilla and honey.

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(9). Pour the mixture over the walnuts and bake for 20-30 minutes until firm. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before removing from the tin and cutting into slices.