Archive for parmesan

Figs in red wine

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

These soft, boozy figs are excellent served with cheese. They work best alongside semi-hard cheeses such as pecorino or wedges of aged and crystallised Parmesan. Or serve them alongside a soft and creamy Gorgonzola dolce.

750ml pints full-bodied red wine
500g dried figs
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp caster sugar
the peel of one orange

Pour the wine into a medium-sized, heavy-based pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Add the figs, bay, sugar and orange peel and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat. And allow to cool. Spoon into sterilised jars and place in the fridge.

Before using, remove from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature.

These figs will last for up to a month in the fridge.

Advertisements

Meatballs with yellow polenta

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

1kg minced pork
1kg minced veal
75g soft white breadcrumbs
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
small bunch of thyme, leaves only
75g freshly grated Parmesan
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 fresh bay leaves
1 bunch of sage
200ml full-bodied red wine
2 jars of good quality Italian tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix very well. The easiest and most thorough way of doing this is with your hands. Once the mixture is well combined, roll into 18 generous-sized balls and set aside while you make the sauce.

Place a large, heavy-based pan on top of the stove, turn the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onion, chilli and garlic, turn the heat down slightly and cook for 10 minutes; the onion should be soft and translucent.

Add the bay leaves, sage and a good pinch of salt and cook for a further five minutes, then add the wine and return the heat to medium.

Allow the wine to bubble for a minute, then add the tomatoes, place a lid on the pan and cook for half an hour, by which time the sauce should have reduced a little to be rich and dark.

Season with a good pinch of salt and a little black pepper and add the meatballs. Return the lid and cook for 20 minutes, then serve.

Autumn squash soup with walnut pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

There is an abundance of squashes and pumpkins on the market at the moment; the deep orange-fleshed varieties offer the best flavour and colour.

a good knob of butter
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg ripe, orange-fleshed squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pesto:

40g good-quality walnuts, lightly toasted
50g fresh basil leaves and any soft stalks
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
a good pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp freshly grated mature Pecorino (or use 6 tbsp Parmesan)
100-120ml extra virgin olive oil (preferably a sweeter variety)

To make the the pesto, put the walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a liquidiser and coarsely blend. Add the cheese and blend again briefly, then transfer to a bowl.

Gently cook the leek and onion in the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan until soft. Add the squash and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper then simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Re-heat the soup and adjust the consistency with a little vegetable stock or water if necessary and re-season with salt and pepper. Serve with a spoonful of the pesto on top.

Nigella Lawson’s pasta alla genovese with potatoes, green beans and pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

This excellent recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s new book Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home.

Of course her finger-licking fridge-raiding foxy flirt TV persona is a wicked self-parody more outrageous than anything an impressionist could achieve, although Ronni Ancona comes close. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t find her extremely attractive, and the same could be said for many bloggers (male and female) I have contacted.

But look beyond that and what you have is a very fine food writer. Her books are well worth reading. So here she is with one of my old favourites, pasta and pesto:

Children – who are perhaps more honest about their tastes than the rest of us – seem to have an overweening preference for carbohydrates, and I am more than happy to exploit this. If I’ve been working late, am feeling lazy, have forgotten to go shopping or suddenly find out that their friends are staying over and I don’t know what they will or won’t eat, I reach gratefully for a packet of pasta.

I can honestly say I don’t know how parents managed to feed their children in the days before pasta became universal culinary currency. Oh, yes I do, actually: they didn’t care whether we liked what they cooked or not; we just ate what we were given.

My children wouldn’t care if all I ever gave them was pasta with some bottled sauce poured over, and I don’t deny that’s sometimes indeed what they are given; but to please myself, and them, this is what I make when I get it together a little. Making this is hardly effortful; the potatoes cook in the pasta water – requiring a little extra time, nothing more – and the pinenutless pesto is whizzed up easily by the processor.

And if you’re going to do this recipe, then do make the pesto yourself. Using pesto out of a jar is nothing I’d ever apologise for, but this is a dish in itself and needs to be kept distinct. For those who feel cooking potatoes with pasta is playing too much into the hands of kiddie carbomania, know that this is a Ligurian tradition. And it really works: the potatoes thicken into a sweet sludge to which the pesto adheres, to make a fantastically, elegantly comforting and fragrant strand-coating sauce. The green beans add to the verdigloriousness of the whole, making you feel good that you are getting the children to eat vegetables. That said, I remain quite adamant that there is no such thing as ‘children’s food’, that food is food and that’s that; this makes a perfect supper for grown-up company, too, and certainly earns a place in my Last Meal menu.

500g large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm slices, each slice quartered into chunks
500g linguine pasta
200g fine green beans, trimmed and cut in half

For the pesto:
100g basil leaves (2 fat bunches from the greengrocer, or 4 supermarket packets)
100g grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled
100ml regular olive oil
100ml extra virgin olive oil

Put the prepared potato chunks into a large saucepan with enough salted water to take the pasta later, and bring to the boil.

Cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, then add the pasta. Check the packet cooking instructions, and at about 4 minutes before the end of the specified cooking time, add the green beans. If you are using artisanal egg linguine, which takes less time, you will need to alter your strategy.

While this is bubbling away, whiz the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor.
Before you drain the saucepan, remove and reserve about ½ cupful of the cooking liquid.

Tip the drained potatoes, beans and pasta back into the dry pan.

Add the pesto from the processor and enough cooking water to give a runny sauce that coats the strands of pasta as you work it through with a fork or pasta claw. Serve immediately.

How to make perfect pesto

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Do you have a passion for pesto? What’s your favourite pesto recipe, and is there any better way to eat it than with linguine and green beans?

(Source: Guardian)

Energetic Italian grannies make their pesto by hand in a marble mortar, adding the basil leaves one by one. The result is the silkiest, smoothest pesto imaginable. Modern granddaughters are more likely to reach for the food processor, and the result is almost as good.

4 packs basil, or 1 large basil plant, leaves only
25g pine kernels
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp granular sea salt
50g freshly grated Parmesan
100-200ml extra virgin olive oil

Wash and dry the basil leaves. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the pine kernels lightly for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

If you’re using a mortar, pound the garlic with the salt to make a soft mush. Pound in the pine nuts, then work in the basil leaves, 2-3 at a time, with a circular movement of the pestle, until all is reduced to a silky paste. (The mixture can be frozen at this point). Work in the cheese, then beat in the olive oil with a wooden spoon until you have a thick, dense sauce. Add more or less oil depending on the texture you like.

If you’re using a processor, drop all the ingredients in and blitz to a luscious green sauce.

To serve, cook the pasta of your choice according to packet instructions. Ligurian cooks put a few small cubes of potato to cook with the pasta because the starch improves the sticking power of the pesto. Before dressing the pasta, dilute the pesto with a tablespoonful of pasta cooking water.

To store the pesto, pour into a jar, float a layer of olive oil on top, cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

Grouse with polenta and girolles

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

This is an economical way to get four good starter servings out of two grouse. (You can do the same dish with wood pigeon.) Make the polenta the night before; once set, it will last a few days in the fridge.

2 oven-ready grouse
salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g butter, softened
a couple of tablespoons of vegetable or corn oil for frying
flour for dusting
120-150g girolles
1 tbsp chopped parsley

For the polenta:

500ml milk
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
a pinch of nutmeg
75g quick cooking polenta
75ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
30g freshly grated parmesan

The night before, make the polenta: bring the milk to the boil in a thick-bottomed pan, then add the garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Simmer for 5 minutes then whisk in the polenta and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the cream and parmesan and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Line a small rectangular container with clingfilm and pour in the polenta. Leave to cool then refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 240°. Rub the grouse with butter and then season them. Place the two birds in a roasting tray and roast for 12-15 minutes, keeping them nice and pink, then leave them to rest.

While the grouse are cooking, turn out the polenta and remove the clingfilm. Cut into 1cm-thick slices and dust them with flour. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan and add a knob of butter. Fry the slices of polenta for 2-3 minutes on each side on a medium heat until golden, then remove and keep warm.

Heat another frying pan with the rest of the butter and cook the girolles on a medium heat for a few minutes, seasoning them while they are cooking and turning them with a spoon. Add the parsley and remove from the heat.

Remove the legs from the grouse with a sharp knife, then carefully remove the breasts. Slice the breasts into 4 or 5 slices. Place the slices of polenta on warmed serving plates and arrange the breasts and legs on top. Spoon over the girolles.

Peas and broad beans on toast

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

As simple as this recipe seems, it is worth making purely because it tastes so good. It is perfect to have with drinks before a meal – especially when the weather is pleasant enough to eat out in the garden. You can prepare the peas and beans ahead of time and simply grill the toast just before you are ready to eat.

200g podded peas
200g podded broad beans
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only
the juice of half a lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ tbsp grated Parmesan
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8-10 pieces of robust peasant-style bread
1 garlic clove

Place a large pot of well-salted water on to boil. Once the water is boiling, add the peas and cook for a minute. Now add the broad beans and cook for a further one-and-a-half minutes. Remove from the stove, strain through a colander – but do not refresh under cold water – and place in a bowl.

Roughly chop the mint and add to the peas and broad beans along with the lemon juice, salt and pepper, Parmesan and olive oil. Toss together well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you see fit.

Set aside while you grill the bread (use a toaster if you must, but grilling on a griddle or ridged frying pan gives a great taste and distinctive striped look). Grill the bread on both sides until golden-brown, remove and gently rub with the garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil and spoon the peas and beans on top. Serve right away, while the toast is still warm.

%d bloggers like this: