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Italian Food…Menu #1

Italian Food…Menu #1

The focus for this yummy & easy menu is eggplants & ricotta…

Rather than the 2 or 3 courses we are familiar with over on this side of the world, in Europe we have several dishes making a feast to share, lots of tasty sensations, lots of textures & all made with love :))eggplant-flickr-brewhaha

Ricotta Balls in Broth

  • 1 tub ricotta (375g)          (we roast an eggplant & add it into the mix to fit the theme)
  • 1 tub bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Fresh basil, oregano, salt & pepper
  • 1 cup parmesan                                                              Olive Oil to fry in.

Put all ingredients into bowl except herbs. Mix with fork.

Add basil & oregano. Let stand 15 mins.

Give the mixture a bit of a squish with your hands to make sure it’s all blended. Should feel soft but firm. (if too soft add bread crumbs, if too dry add splash of milk or stock.)

Allow to stand another 10 mins.

Use soup spoon full to form balls, put on plate until ready.

Simply boil them in a good broth…..they will sink, & then when ready rise to the top.FreshHerbs-main_FullA few tips:

Can be served as a side dish instead of potato or pasta.

Can also be cooked in a tomato sauce. This same mixture is used to fill pasta, like cannelloni or shells.

Add tasty meats for more flavour, then cover with tomato sauce & bake about 40 mins. :))2235805641_76614b8457

Eggplant Involtini: (Eggplant Cigars)

  • 1-2 large eggplants
  • Splash olive oil
  • 1 tub ricotta (375g)
  • ¼ cup sundried toms, sliced (or some garlic, or shallots)
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ cup basil/parsley leaves, chopped.

Slice eggplant lengthways into 1cm slices.

Heat oil in large pan & lightly brown both sides. Drain on paper. (we cook ours in the sandwich press, no oil)

Lay out each slice & layer it with ricotta, sundried toms. Herbs, & s&p. (we mix all other ingredients together & spoon it onto eggplant)

Roll eggplant up neatly, place seam side down on oven tray.

Top with tomato sauce (Passata) & parmesan

Bake 15 mins. in pre-heated oven 180* or 160* fan-forced.

Tips:

Great as a side dish with lamb or beef. Great for picnics & lunch boxes.

At Food That Sings we serve ours cold as a finger food, very tasty.eggplant-rollatini

Pane Fritto Italiano (savoury):

  • 1 loaf of bread
  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup parmesan
  • ½ cup ricotta
  • Fresh basil & oregano
  • Salt & pepper…….butter for frying.

The method is simple….mix all the ingredients together except the bread.

Dip each slice into mixture & fry in buttered pan :))OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATips:

To make sweet Pane Fritto, use fruit loaf, leave parmesan out & add milk or liqueur (Ameretto or Cognac) instead.

Throw in a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon & orange zest.

Serve with ricotta & fresh fruit slices.2 melon types

Caponata:

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into cubes                              3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped                                             1/3 cup each, red wine vinegar & olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, seeded & chopped                        1 tspn. salt
  • 6 ripe tomatoes (or can of crushed toms)                2 tblspns. sugar
  • ½ cup green olives, chopped                                      1 ½ tspns. each, dried oregano & basil
  • 1 tblspn. capers, chopped

Combine all ingredients in large pot, mix.

Bring to a healthy simmer, stirring occasionally.

Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about an hour, or cover it & cook on very low for several hours.herbs052509Tips:

Slow stewing method blends the flavours better.

So it’s great reheated the next day.

It can also freeze, for a quick dinner after an unexpectedly late day home.

Toss on top of some fresh pasta, sprinkle with parmesan & yummo!00182

Castagnaccio: (Chestnut Cake…yummm.)

  • ½ kg. chestnut flour (available in speciality stores & Italian grocers)
  • ½ tspn. fine sea salt
  • Cold water
  • 1 tblspn. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 tspns. rosemary leaves, minced to a powder

Preheat oven 400* Lightly oil 25cm. cake tin.

Put flour & salt into large bowl. Pour cold water in a thin stream, beating with fork or wooden spoon, until batter becomes consistency of heavy cream.

Add oil, pinenuts & rosemary, beating well.

Pour batter into cake tin & bake 30 mins. or until it looks like a dark crackled chocolate cake.

Serve in warm wedges as is, or with a spoonful of sweetened ricotta (add honey) & a few toasted walnuts.podzim1Tip:

Have a small glass of something chilled with it…vin santo perhaps :)) or any other sweet dessert wine.

Bon Appetit!

2 Comments
  1. I think this all looks amazing!

    • Oh thanks Kass…upon revisiting this post I remembered this food fondly.
      So thanks for putting it back on my radar :))
      Now I’m so hungry & want to run out & collect the ingredients, make everything, invite people over for a feast, lol xx

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