Chard Stems Gratin

I don’t have many leftovers, because I usually cook exact portions. Sometimes I do have leftover ingredients, and I don’t like to throw away any food. One typical leftover ingredient is the stems of chard, because the leaves are used for a recipe such as these lovely pansoti and then the stems are left. From the same pansoti I also had some leftover home made ricotta, and so I decided to turn the chard stems with ricotta into a simple but nice side dish: chard stems gratin. This was easy to prepare and quite tasty. It would be more traditional in Italy to make the gratin using a besciamella (white sauce), but ricotta keeps it slightly ligther and I had used up the milk to make the ricotta. Here’s what I did. Continue reading “Chard Stems Gratin”

Cassata Siciliana

In April we travelled through Sicily and I came back with a lot of ideas for Sicilian dishes to cook. Last night my parents came over for dinner, and for the first time since I can’t remember I prepared five all new dishes in a single day. All of them inspired by meals we had in the best restaurants of Sicily. My parents don’t mind being guinea pigs, and although I have thought of some improvements for the next time I make these dishes, all of them came out very tasty if I do say so myself. Since it’s been so long that I’ve blogged about dessert, I’m starting at the end.

DSC05563-001
Cassatina in a trattoria in Erice

Cassata is a traditional cake from Italy made with sweetened ricotta, marzipan, candied fruit, and sponge cake (pan di spagna). Cassata can be decorated very elaborately with different kinds of candied fruit and icing, but when we had it for dessert in restaurants in Sicily, we got a single-portion cassatina that was decorated quite simply with a few pieces of candied fruit and icing. Since I had five different dishes to prepare in a single day, I decided to go for the simple option. Perhaps I’ll do a more baroque version in winter with homemade candied fruit and homemade marzipan. Continue reading “Cassata Siciliana”

Ravioli al Salmone Affumicato (Ravioli with Smoked Salmon)

I thought it would be nice to hot-smoke a piece of salmon, make fresh ricotta, make home-made ravioli and serve it with a pink sauce. Turned out I was right, as it was delicious. For an easier version you could buy the smoked salmon (either hot-smoked or cold-smoked will work) and the ricotta, but it will be tastier, more rewarding as well as more fun to do it yourself… Ingredients For 16 ravioli (3 servings as part of a larger menu) 125 grams (1/4 pound) fresh salmon fillet, preferably with skin as that is easier to handle (substitute with store … Continue reading Ravioli al Salmone Affumicato (Ravioli with Smoked Salmon)

‘Tiramisù alla Pugliese’

In the small village of Montegrosso in Puglia, southern Italia, is the wonderful Osteria Antichi Sapori. We had the pleasure of dining there some years ago, and I can still remember it very well. The food was delicious and there was enough of it, we already completely stuffed after just having the antipasti (which just kept coming and coming). Many of those antipasti are hard to give a recipe for: they were just slices of a wonderful dried sausage, or some heavenly fresh ricotta. For dessert we got ricotta with crushed amaretti soaked in espresso, which they called the Puglia-version … Continue reading ‘Tiramisù alla Pugliese’