Mar 27, 2010

Strozapretti with oven roasted cherry tomato sauce

Strozapretti, gnudi and Malfatti are some of the names of this popular Italian dish. This recipe has been on my list for sometime now and when i got a tub of ricotta last week i decided to give it a try.

This dish comes from Lombardy and actually means 'not pretty' in Italian. Now that is being ultra rude to this beautiful fluffy pillows which i thoroughly enjoyed making. Though they look like gnocchi they certainly are not dense and heavy . The fact that it uses very little flour more as a coating makes it super light and delectable.

I adapted this recipe from Delicious days and it was served with sauteed cherry tomatoes. Instead i made a super simple oven roasted tomato sauce and sauteed the spinach dumplings with the sauce and served it with loads of Parmesan flakes.

Loved the fruity flavour and sweetness of the sauce with the delightfully soft and light malfatti . I am sure this is a dish that i will be making very often.

Strozzapreti with sauteed cherry tomatoes

Recipe source: adapted from Delicious Days
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
200g spinach175g ricotta
30g grated Parmesan
1 egg
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
freshly ground nutmeg
flour for hands
50g butter
Oven roasted Cherry tomato sauce - 3 tbsp
to serve: grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper

1.Wash the spinach, remove bigger stems and cook or steam until soft. Let the spinach cool down, then squeeze out any excessive liquid and chop finely.
2.In a large bowl mix together spinach, ricotta, egg, grated Parmesan and season with freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and nutmeg.
3.Meanwhile heat a large pot of salted water.
4. Dust your hands with flour and take a spoonful of the mixture in your hand and flap it from one hand to the other to give it the proper shape and get rid of the extra flour. But you could also try to dust a spoonful (tbsp) of the mix with some flour and carefully roll it with your hands into the desired shape.
5.Now drop them carefully into the pot with the simmering water, in small batches. They are done, as soon as they float on the surface which takes about two to three minutes. Remove with a skimmer.

6.Heat some butter in a pan and add the Strozzapreti and some cherry tomato sauce and Saute for one or two minutes and shake the pan occasionally, then serve on a plate with freshly ground pepper and grated Parmesan.

Oven Roasted Cherry tomato sauce :

1 bag of cherry tomatoes washed and halved

3 garlic finely minced

1/3 cup olive oil

sea salt to taste

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

freshly cracked pepper to taste.

1. Toss all the ingredients together and place it in a dish and put in a moderate oven (180) for about 50 Min's .

Malfatti Served.....

Mar 18, 2010

Chocolate Beetrootcake...

This cake took a long time for me to be convinced... Been seeing this a lot in several versions but never ventured beyond curiosity. I was not too sure about having beetroot in my chocolate cake. This week i had a glut of beetroot in my fridge and thought why not !!.

It was both surprise and revelation to me. Not only the cake came out super soft and super moist i could never smell or feel any beetroot in there, which is what i was totally skeptical about. I layered and lathered it with rich chocolate ganache and served it with fresh strawberries . I think it is one of the best chocolate cakes i have ever tasted.

Though there are several recipes available i followed chef Ross Burden's version simply because his recipe suggests to cook and puree the beetroot though many other recipes add just plain grated beetroot like we do for carrot cake. I think the puree blended well with the cake mixture and gave it a sort of rich purplish brown colour and great texture.

85g dark chocolate
3 medium eggs
300g sugar
240ml sunflower oil
300g cooked beetroot, peeled and pureed
30g cocoa powder
200g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 25cm spring-release cake tin.

2. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water.

3. Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs with the sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl, then gradually beat in the beetroot puree. Stir in the melted chocolate.

4. Sift the cocoa, flour and bicarbonate of soda over the surface and mix in thoroughly.

5. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes or until the centre springs back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

6. While the cake is cooling make the ganache. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream almost to boiling point, then pour over the chocolate. Beat together until the chocolate has melted into the cream making a ganache.

7. While the ganache is still warm use to ice the chocolate. Set aside to cool and harden. Serve the cake with ice cream and fresh strawberries.

Mar 6, 2010

Sweet and sour Mango Pickle

It is just March and the mango trees are full of blossom and buzzing bees . But the mango tree in my back yard seems to be in bit of a rush and we are already having round green ones ready for harvest. What i have in the backyard are the varieties good to make pickles and they dont taste good when they ripen. So I have this family recipe - maybe i can even say heirloom recipe which is a hot and sweet one and has a very long shelf life ...


At my grand moms all the seasonal fruits and vegetables when they are found in abundance were either pickled and bottled or sun dried and stored . They were made in such huge quantities that they would last through the year. As i write this i have the image of giant glass containers neatly covered and tied with pure white muslin cloth sitting pretty near the window sill with varieties of pickles. My favourite was juicy green gooseberries (Amla) in salty syrup. Oh my! i miss those soaked and swelled treats!. They are like murabas but saltier version . Store bought ones dont taste half good as the ones tended and made with loving hands!.

This pickle tastes great when made with 'Bilbiskin/kilimooku' variety the reason being it is not too sour and has good flavour. The mango should be half ripe and not too mushy. I did not use 'kilimooku' and i dont know what variety they are but they tasted just as good!.

Ingredients :

2 cups mango cut into small square pieces
1 cup sugar
salt to taste
chili powder 1 1/2 tsp
mustard - 2 tsp
fenugreek seeds - 1tsp

1. mix the sugar and mango pieces and keep it covered for two to three hours..

2. The sugar should have melted and mixed nicely with the juice from the mango .
3. In a wide and heavy bottomed pan put the mango with the syrup and cook on medium heat
4. The sugar will start to caramelize and will begin to coat the mango. Also it will start to bubble at this stage. It is important to get the consistency right at this point. Another test is to feel the caramel syrup in between your fingers. When it gets stringy it is time to take off the pan. Remember it should be stringy and not sticky!!.
5. Add the salt, chili powder and return to heat. Check for taste.. It should have a fine balance of Sour, salt , chili and sweet ..
6. Take off the fire and let it cool

7. Dry roast the mustard and fenugreek seeds and add it to the pickle.
8. Now it is ready for bottling.

Well it is a simple pickle that u can make with no fuss... It has incredibly long shelf life . Tastes terrific with curd rice and rotis too...

It has got a sticky chewy and carmalized texture and if u noticed there is not a drop of oil to it.