Linguine with White Clam Sauce





-Heat oil in pan
-Add garlic
-Once sizzling, add garlic
-Once you can smell the garlic, add the clams
-Cover and let steam
-After a few minutes add 6 oz. of clam juice
-When clams start to open, add 4-6 oz. of white wine
-Add chopped clams if desired
-Add cooked pasta to white wine clam sauce
-Add fresh, chopped parsley
Let noodles finish cooking and enjoy!



Gorgonzola sauce and pasta


GORGONZOLA SAUCE
1 pound dried pasta
1/4 pound Gorgonzola or other beat quality blue cheese
2/3 cup cream
3 tablespoons butter
Salt
Lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano
Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Combine the blue cheese, cream, butter and a small pinch of salt and slowly simmer until the cheese is melted. Quickly add the pasta and mix well. Plate at once, and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano.


FARRO RISOTTO WITH WILD MUSHROOMS




Serves 4
Wild mushroom puree:
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 pound assorted wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, morels, porcini, shiitakes, creminis and portobellos, trimmed, wiped clean and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons dry sherry or Madeira
1 cup good-quality canned low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Farro risotto:
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup uncooked farro
4 cups good-quality canned low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth, plus a little extra as needed, heated to a bare simmer in a saucepan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
A few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley (or another herb) for garnish
Directions:
First, make the wild mushroom puree: In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and saute, stirring frequently, until it begins to turn glossy and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Raise the heat slightly, add the mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and most of their liquid has evaporated. Add the sherry or Madeira, stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Stir in the stock. When it is hot, carefully puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or transfer it to a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree, following manufacturer’s instructions to avoid splattering. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
For the farro risotto, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, and saute until glossy and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the farro, and stir until the grains are completely coated with the oil and smell slightly toasty, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the hot stock, reduce the heat slightly to maintain a light simmer, and cook, stirring continuously, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue adding stock in this way, 1/2 cup at a time, while stirring constantly, until the farro grains are tender but still slightly firm and chewy, 20 to 25 minutes.
Stir in the reserved wild mushroom puree, and cook until the mixture is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the sherry vinegar.
Spoon the risotto into shallow serving bowls. Garnish with herbs, and serve immediately.

Osso Buco


Ingredients
Serve 4
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 dry bay leaf
2 whole cloves
Cheesecloth
Kitchen twine, for bouquet garni (fresh herb blend) and tying the veal shanks
4 whole veal shanks (about 1 pound per shank), trimmed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All purpose flour, for dredging
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small carrot, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 stalk celery, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions

Place the rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and cloves into cheesecloth and secure with twine. This will be your bouquet garni. For the veal shanks, pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Veal shanks will brown better when they are dry. Secure the meat to the bone with the kitchen twine. Season each shank with salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge the shanks in flour, shaking off excess. In a large Dutch oven pot, heat vegetable oil until smoking. Add tied veal shanks to the hot pan and brown all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove browned shanks and reserve. In the same pot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Season with salt at this point to help draw out the moisture from the vegetables. Sauté until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Return browned shanks to the pan and add the white wine and reduce liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add the bouquet garni and 2 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Check every 15 minutes, turning shanks and adding more chicken stock as necessary. The level of cooking liquid should always be about 3/4 the way up the shank. Carefully remove the cooked shanks from the pot and place in decorative serving platter. Cut off the kitchen twine and discard. Remove and discard bouquet garni from the pot. Pour all the juices and sauce from the pot over the shanks. Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon zest.

Italian Meatloaf



1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground mild Italian sausage
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. chopped bell pepper (I used orange, it was all I had in the freezer)
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. parsley
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C. Italian bread crumbs
2 slices white bread, crumbled
1 T. milk
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, reserve 3/4 C. for topping
1/4 C. parmesan cheese
1 C. marinara sauce, plus 1/2 -3/4 C. more for topping
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over med. high heat and sauté the onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes, remove from heat. In a large bowl, add the meats, onion and peppers along with all remaining ingredients reserving 3/4 C. mozzarella cheese for topping.
Now, dive in there with the best tools God gave you, your hands and combine everything really good. Once it has all come together, place and mold the mixture in a baking dish of your choice.
I used my oval Portuguese stoneware for ours. Spoon 1/2 to 3/4 C. of the marinara sauce on top and spread around. Place in a 400 degree oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle a little dry basil over the top.
Return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Make sure the meat is not pink before serving, baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your loaf. Mine was about 2" thick.







Pizza Rustica - Pizza Chena



Recipe
Time: 21/2 hours, plus time for cooling

FOR THE DOUGH:
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound chilled salted butter, cut into large pieces
5 large eggs, beaten

FOR THE FILLING:
12 ounces prosciutto, in 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces boiled ham, in 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces pepperoni, in 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces soppressata, in 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces mozzarella, in 1/4-inch dice
8 ounces provolone, in 1/4-inch dice
2 pounds ricotta
4 ounces grated pecorino Romano
10 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, beaten, for brushing crust.

1. For the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together 6 cups flour and the salt. Using a pastry cutter, large fork, or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add eggs and knead for 1 minute. Add about 1 1/4 cups ice water, a little at a time, to form a cohesive dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a large smooth ball, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

2. For the filling: Mix the meats, cheeses, the 10 eggs and pepper in a large bowl.



3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into two pieces: two-thirds for the bottom crust and one-third for the top. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion of the dough into a rectangle to line the bottom and sides of a 10-by-15-inch glass baking dish, with some overhang. Add the filling and smooth it lightly. Moisten the edges of the dough with a little water.

4. Roll out the remaining dough to cover the top of the dish with some overhang. Trim off excess dough and crimp the edges to seal. Poke several sets of holes across the top with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush top and edges with the beaten egg, then return to the oven until golden brown, another 45 minutes. Let pie cool completely before serving.

Yield: One 10-by-15-inch pie.

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Italian potato salad








3 lbs. red potatoes cubed
¾-cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
½-cup olive oil
6 t. cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
½-cup parsley
1/2 t. dried oregano
Cook potatoes in salt water, then combine all other ingredients except parsley and oregano. Drain potatoes, add other ingredients and toss. Chill just before serving, add parsley and oregano. Tip: you can add a little horseradish or hot sauce to give it a little kick.


Tagliatelle with chickpeas




Traditionally, hard pasta was made only with flour and water. For the sake of speed, we have used the ready-made fresh pasta that you can buy in the supermarket, which usually contains eggs. Find an egg-free version if you want the meal to be fully vegan.

Serves 6
250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
6 garlic cloves
½ leek
½ red onion
2 cherry tomatoes
1 small dried chilli
1 sprig rosemary
400g fresh tagliatelle
150ml olive oil, for frying
Salt and black pepper

1 Drain the chickpeas and place in a pan. Cover with water and add the garlic, leek, onion, tomato (don't chop) chilli and rosemary. Bring up to the boil and simmer for about an hour until the chickpeas are tender. Make sure the chickpeas are always covered with water.
2 Remove the veg along with 100ml of liquor, discard the rosemary and blitz together the veg with the liquor in a food processor. Return to the pan and stir through the chickpeas. Season well.
3 Divide the tagliatelle roughly into three. Break it into shorter strips "about 6cm long. Cook one third in lots of boiling salted water. Add another third to the chickpeas and simmer until just cooked, adding more water if necessary. Fry the final third in hot olive oil until the pasta pieces are crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen roll.
4 Combine the cooked pasta with the chickpeas, adding a little extra water so it isn't dry. Season well and top with the fried, crisp pasta pieces before serving.


Polpettine




Makes 4 small plates
For the sauce
extra virgin olive oil
onion 1
salt a large pinch
garlic cloves 2
dried chilli a pinch
thyme 3 sprigs
oregano 3 sprigs
plum tomatoes 2 x 400g tin
unwaxed lemon zest of 1
For the polpettine
onion 1 large
garlic cloves 2
salt a pinch
rosemary 2 sprigs
thyme 3 sprigs
extra virgin olive oil
bread (stale or fresh) 2 slices
milk 100ml
parmesan 5g, plus extra
dijon mustard 1 tsp
beef mince 250g
pork mince 120g
dried chilli ½ tsp
fresh nutmeg grated, to taste

Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on a low heat. Halve, peel and slice the onion. Add with the salt to the hot pan then reduce the heat and cook for ten minutes or so until soft. While the onions are cooking, peel and finely slice the garlic.
Stir through the garlic, chilli and herbs and cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and their juices from the tins. Swill each of the emptied tins with a little water to get the last remnants of tomato and add this to the pan too. Increase the heat to high and simmer for a few minutes, avoiding the temptation to keep stirring. Then turn the heat down low and leave to reduce to a thick chunky texture. The longer you cook it, the better the sauce will be. I tend to leave it to simmer quietly for about 30 minutes to an hour while I make the meatballs.
While the sauce is reducing, make the polpettine. Peel the onion and garlic, dicing the onion as finely as you can. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic with the salt to a smooth paste. Pick and finely chop the rosemary and thyme leaves.
Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3 and lightly grease a baking tray.
Put a pan on the heat with a little olive oil and sweat down the onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Once they’re completely soft, spread them over a plate and put it in the fridge to cool.
Soak the bread in the milk in a shallow bowl for five to ten minutes until the milk has been absorbed. Grate the parmesan on a fine setting. Once softened, break the bread into small chunks with your hands and discard any leftover milk.
Put the cooled onions and garlic, soaked bread, parmesan, mustard, beef and pork mince, chilli and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Be careful not to overwork the mixture.
I like meatballs to be light and juicy, and overworking results in a very dense and heavy meatball. Grease your hands with a few drops of olive oil and then shape the mixture into balls about the size of giant marbles.
Place the polpettine on the greased baking tray and bake in the oven for ten minutes. They will still be soft when they come out – the baking is just to colour them and set their shape, not to cook them through which happens in the sauce.
Grate the lemon zest into the now-reduced sauce and add a splash of olive oil. Then add the polpettine to the sauce to simmer for a few minutes to cook through.
Serve on small plates and eat topped with finely grated parmesan and a dash of olive oil.


Osso bucco




Serves 4
olive oil 100ml
plain flour a handful, for dusting
veal shin 1, cut into pieces 5cm thick
onion 1, roughly chopped
carrot 1, roughly chopped
leek 1, roughly chopped
celery stick 1, roughly chopped
garlic 1 head, cut horizontally through the middle
fresh thyme 4 sprigs
bay leaves 2
white peppercorns 5, crushed
white wine 200ml
chicken stock 250ml
tomatoes 2, cut into quarters
salt

freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan or casserole over a high heat. Lightly flour the veal and add to the pan in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, carrot, leek, celery and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until light golden in colour. Add the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and a little salt, and stir well.
Arrange the pieces of veal on top of the vegetables in a single layer. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half. Add the stock and tomatoes and season well. Reduce the heat, cover with a cartouche (a circle of baking parchment) and a lid, and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is so tender that it falls off the bone easily.


Panna cotta with grappa and raspberries



Serves 6
double cream 1.2 litres
vanilla pods 2
lemons 2, rind thinly pared
gelatine leaves 3
cold milk 150ml
icing sugar 150g
grappa 120ml, plus extra to serve
raspberries 3 punnets

Pour 900ml of the cream into a pan, add the vanilla pods and lemon rind, bring to the boil, then simmer until reduced by one-third. Remove the cooked lemon rind and keep to one side. Remove the vanilla pods and scrape the softened insides into the cream.
Soak the gelatine in the milk for about 15 minutes or until soft. Remove the gelatine, heat the milk until boiling, then return the gelatine to the milk and stir until dissolved.
Pour the milk and gelatine mixture into the hot cream through a sieve, stir, then leave to cool.
Lightly whip the remaining cream with the icing sugar, fold into the cooled cooked cream, then add the grappa. Place a piece of cooked lemon rind in each of six small 200 ml (7 fl oz) moulds or bowls, pour in the cream mixture and allow to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Turn out on to dessert plates and serve with fresh raspberries and a tablespoon of grappa poured over the top.


Pork loin braised in milk, Bolognese style




Serves 6
butter 15g
vegetable oil 2 tbsp
pork loin rib roast 1.2kg (see note above)
salt
freshly ground pepper
full-cream milk 575ml or more

Heat the butter and oil over a medium-high heat in a casserole just large enough to contain the pork. When the butter foam subsides, add the meat, fat side down. Brown thoroughly on all sides lowering the heat if the butter starts to turn dark brown.
Add the salt, pepper and 250ml of the milk. Add the milk slowly lest it boil over. Allow the milk to come to a brisk simmer for 20 or 30 seconds, turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pot with the lid on slightly askew.

Cook at a very lazy simmer for about 1 hour, until the milk has thickened into a light nut-brown sauce. (The exact time it will take depends largely on the heat of your burner and the thickness of your pot.) When the milk reaches this stage, and not before, add another 250ml of the milk, let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then cover the pot putting the lid on tightly. Check and turn the pork from time to time.

After 30 minutes, set the lid slightly askew. Continue to cook at minimum heat and, when you see there is no more liquid milk in the pot, add the remaining milk. Continue cooking until the meat feels tender when prodded with a fork and all the milk has coagulated into small nut-brown clusters. Altogether it will take between 2½ and 3 hours. If, before the meat is fully cooked, you find that the liquid in the pot has evaporated, add another 100ml of milk, repeating the step if it should become necessary.

When the pork has become tender and all the milk in the pot has thickened into dark clusters, transfer the meat to a cutting board. Let it settle for a few minutes, then cut into slices about 1cm thick or slightly less, and arrange them on a warm serving platter.
Tip the pot and spoon off most of the fat – there may be as much as a mugful of it – being careful to leave behind all the coagulated milk clusters. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and boil away the water over a high heat, at the same time using a wooden spoon to scrape loose the cooking residues from the bottom and sides of the pot. Spoon all the pot juices over the pork and serve immediately.


Courgette blossoms fried in batter




Serves 4-8
plain flour 150g
salt and freshly ground pepper
nutmeg a pinch
olive oil 2 tbsp
eggs 2 large, separated
white wine 6 tbsp
water 6 tbsp
courgette blossoms 16
olive oil for deep-frying


To make the batter, put the flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, oil and egg yolks in a bowl and beat well. Then gradually beat in the wine and enough water to have a light, creamy consistency. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. Just before using, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them in.

Prepare the flowers by removing the stamens and spiky green sepals. Heat oil about 4cm deep in a wide saucepan. It will be hot enough when a piece of bread dropped in browns quickly. Dip the flowers in the batter and fry in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot and crisp.

Tuna involtini




Serves 4
red peppers 4 large
olive oil
For the tonnato
good quality tuna in olive oil 2 x 225g jar
tinned anchovies 6
capers 1 tbsp
egg yolks 2
salt a small pinch
lemon a small squeeze


Roast the peppers on a very high heat in the oven (around 200C-220C/gas mark 6-7) until the skins start to blacken. Remove from the oven and place the peppers into a large bowl and cover with cling film. The steam will help release the skins.

Once cool enough to handle, cut in half, peel the skins and remove all the seeds. Trim up the edges so it is neat. You now should have 2 halves of pepper per person to serve.

Place the tuna in a blender with all of the oil from the jar and blend with the anchovies, capers and egg yolks to a smooth consistency. Season with salt and lemon juice.

The tonnato should have a smooth consistency. You may need to add a small glug of olive oil when finishing the blitzing to achieve the correct texture.


Now assemble it. The idea is to place some tuna on the inside of the pepper pieces and roll them up – you can be quite generous. The most traditional garnish for this dish is a simple lamb’s lettuce salad.

Baked aubergine with cheese


Serves 4
aubergines 4 large
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
ripe plum tomatoes 16
garlic oil 1 tbsp
sugar 1 tbsp
eggs 4 large, hard-boiled, cut into quarters
tuma (Sicilian fresh unsalted sheep’s cheese) or mozzarella 150g, cut into small cubes
fresh basil a bunch
caciocavallo or pecorino cheese 50g, grated

Cut the aubergines into slices lengthways, about 6mm thick. Sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander for at least 2 hours. Squeeze lightly to get rid of the excess liquid.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and grease a baking dish with olive oil.
Put the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for 10 seconds, then drain under cold water and you should be able to peel them easily. Cut them in half, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon, and chop the flesh.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic oil. When the pieces of garlic in the oil turn golden, add the tomatoes and cook until reduced to a thick sauce. Stir in the sugar and cook for a couple of minutes.

Heat about 2.5cm of olive oil in a pan and sauté the aubergine slices until they are golden and crisp. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper.

Spread a few tablespoons of tomato sauce over the base of the baking dish, then start to layer up the ingredients: begin with some of the aubergine, followed by some of the eggs, and the tuma or mozzarella. Scatter with some of the grated caciocavallo or pecorino. Spread some more tomato sauce over the top, add the basil and layer again as before. Finish with a layer of aubergine, and scatter with the last of the cheese.

Put the dish into the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes until heated through, and the cheese on top has melted and turns golden. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Sardinian couscous with clams



Serves 4
small clams 1kg, such as palourdes
olive oil 2 x 15ml tbsp
echalion or banana shallot 1, peeled and finely chopped
garlic cloves 2, peeled
dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
tomato puree 1 x 15ml tbsp
light chicken stock 750ml (made up with less powder or concentrate to water than usual)
dry red vermouth 60ml
fregola 200g
parsley 3 x 15ml tbsp, plus more for sprinkling, chopped

Soak the clams in a large bowl of cold water, and sort through them, discarding any shells that remain open or are cracked or smashed.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan that comes with a lid, then add the chopped shallot, stirring for a minute, grate in (or mince and add) the garlic, and add the chilli flakes, stirring again over the heat so that it sizzles, though not long enough to let the garlic brown.
Stir in the tomato puree, then add the stock and the vermouth and let it come to the boil.
Add the fregola – it should be covered completely by the liquid – and let it simmer, still uncovered, for 10-12 minutes (or as instructed on the fregola packet).
Check that the fregola is nearly ready and then add the drained clams, and cover the pan with the lid. Leave to cook for 3 minutes at a fast simmer, then uncover the pan to check that the clams have opened. Any clams that, once cooked, stay closed should be discarded.

Sprinkle in the chopped parsley and stir to let everything combine before ladling into 4 warmed bowls to serve, sprinkling with a little more chopped parsley as you go.

Sardines with bread saladsardines 12 large
extra-virgin olive oil 5 tbsp
For the panzanella
stale Tuscan bread or ciabatta 200g, without crusts, torn up
white wine vinegar 4 tbsp
tomatoes on the vine 3
red onion 1 large, cut into 2cm dice
basil a big bunch
extra-virgin olive oil 5 tbsp
salt and pepper

First, get a griddle pan smoking-hot, otherwise the sardines won’t release their fat and will stick to the pan.

To make the panzanella: soak the bread in the vinegar. Take the tomatoes from the vine, dice and add to the bread, together with the chopped onion. Tear the basil and add that too. Add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir together and set aside.
Under running water, scale the sardines and then open them out, leaving the heads attached. To do this, insert a sharp filleting knife at the tail end, next to the backbone, and cut upwards, until you reach the belly of the fish. Turn the sardine over, then cut in the same way to the same point on the other side of the bone. Starting at the tail end, take the backbone between your forefinger and thumb and run them along the length of the bone up to the head. Cut across the bone at the tail end and head end and the bone should lift out, leaving the fillets still attached at the opposite side, so you can open them out like a book. At the outside of each fillet, you will see a black area with some fine bones. Just take your knife under these parts, and remove them. Then, with a pair of tweezers, take out any pin bones that may have remained in the fillets.

When all the sardines are prepared, season, brush with a little of the olive oil and put on the hot grill, 6 at a time. Let them get crusty on one side (about 3 minutes), then turn over and do the same on the other side (about 2 minutes).


While the sardines are cooking, spoon some of the panzanella on each serving plate, then put the sardines on top, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve.

Pumpkin gnocchetti



Serves 4-6
pumpkin or squash flesh 800g, cut into pieces
egg 1 large
sugar 1-2 tsp
salt and freshly ground pepper
plain flour about 150-175g
unsalted butter 75g, melted
grana padano or parmesan grated

Put the pumpkin in a large pan with 500ml water. Cook over high heat with the lid on for about 15 minutes until soft. Take the lid off and let all the liquid evaporate. Then mash to a paste with a potato masher and return to the hob, stirring over a high heat to dry it as much as possible. Add the egg, sugar (Italian pumpkins are sweet), salt (it needs a good amount) and pepper, and work in the flour beating vigorously.

Make dumplings by dropping the paste by the tablespoon into boiling salted water – grease the spoon with oil and use another spoon to push it off. When the dumplings rise to the top, let them cook a few minutes longer, then lift them out with a slotted spoon, drain and serve with melted butter and grated cheese.


Minestrone


Serves 6-8

¼lb (115g) of dried haricot beans, 2 carrots, 2 small potatoes, a small turnip, 2 onions, a piece of celery, 4 tomatoes, half a small cabbage, 2 rashers of bacon, garlic, herbs and seasoning, olive oil, a small glassful of red wine, 2oz (55g) of broken-up macaroni or spaghetti, or pastine, or any of the pasta made in small shapes, such as little stars, little shells, etc

Put the haricot beans to soak overnight. Next day prepare all the vegetables, and melt the sliced onions in the oil, adding 2 cloves of garlic, the bacon cut into pieces, and plenty of herbs, marjoram, thyme, basil, or whatever may be available; add the chopped tomatoes, or a tablespoonful of concentrated tomato purée; pour in the red wine, let it bubble a minute or two, then add the drained haricot beans; cover them with 3 pints of hot water and let them boil steadily for two hours. Now put in the carrots and about 15 minutes later the turnip and potatoes. Ten minutes before serving, add the celery, the cabbage cut into strips, and the pasta. See that the soup is properly seasoned, stir in 2 tablespoonfuls of grated parmesan, and serve more parmesan separately.

Risotto with lemon
Serves 4 as a first course or 3 as a main
chicken or vegetable stock 1¼ litres
unsalted butter 60g
olive oil 1 tbsp
shallots 2, very finely chopped
celery stick 1, very finely chopped
Italian rice 300g, preferably Arborio
organic lemon ½
fresh sage leaves 5 or 6
fresh rosemary leaves a small sprig
egg yolk 1
parmesan 4 tbsp, freshly grated
double cream 4 tbsp
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the stock to a gentle simmer (keep it simmering all through the cooking of the rice).
Heat half the butter, the oil, shallots and celery in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and sauté until the soffritto – frying mixture – of shallot and celery is softened (about 7 minutes). Mix in the rice and continue to sauté, stirring, until the rice is well coated with the fats and is partly translucent.

Pour over about 150ml of the simmering stock. Stir very thoroughly and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the stock, still stirring.

Add another ladleful of simmering stock, and continue in this manner until the rice is ready. You may not need all the stock. Good-quality Italian rice for risotto takes 15-20 minutes to cook.

Meanwhile, thinly pare the zest from the lemon half and chop it with the herbs. Mix into the rice halfway through the cooking.

Squeeze the half lemon into a small bowl and combine it with the egg yolk, parmesan, cream, a little salt and a very generous grinding of black pepper. Mix well with a fork.

When the rice is al dente, draw the pan off the heat and stir in the egg and cream mixture and the remaining butter. Cover the pan and leave to rest for 2 minutes or so. Then give the risotto an energetic stir, transfer to a heated dish or bowl and serve at once, with more grated parmesan in a little bowl if you wish.