Italian Cooking

While I was in Italy I was given the opportunity to take a cooking class at In Tavola with some of my classmates and it turned out to be fun, informative, and delicious!  Here are the dishes we made, complete with instructions.

Artichoke Souffle (Sformato di Carciofi)

6 serv.

300 g. artichoke hearts, sliced

20 g. butter

3 eggs

25 g. grated parmesan cheese

2 dl. thick bechamel sauce

200° C (390° F) Oven

Boil the sliced artichokes for 7 minutes; drain and toss with the butter.

Grind the buttered artichoke hearts in a mortar with a pestle then pass through a sieve (or puree in a blender).

Combine the artichoke paste, béchamel, cheese and eggs.

Put the mixture into a greased and floured pan and cook in a bagnomaria (water bath) in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, approximately 15-20 minutes.

Let stand a few minutes before removing from pan to a plate and serving.

Bechamel Sauce (Salsa di Besciamella)

60 g. butter

60 g. flour type 00, sifted

1000 ml of milk

Nutmeg to taste

Salt to taste

Melt the butter, whisk in the sifted flour little by little.  Add the nutmeg and continue cooking and stirring for one minute to thicken.

Put the milk in a separate saucepan and add a pinch of salt; bring to a boil.

Slowly, add the milk to the flour mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Cook sauce for at least 5 minutes over low flame, stirring occasionally.

Fresh Egg Pasta (Pasta Fresca all’Uovo)

2 eggs

50 g. Flour of durum wheat

150 g. Flour type 00

Salt to taste

Put the flour in a mound on a large wooden pastry board, making a large well in the center of the mound.  Break the eggs into the hole, add a generous pinch of salt.

Beat the eggs, salt well then slowly begin incorporating the flour front eh inside perimeter of the well into the mixture with a fork.  Knead well until smooth and elastic.

Gather the dough into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes before using.

By machine: Cut the ball of dough into 2 equal parts.  Working with one half at a time slightly flour, fold in 3, and roll with pin.  Repeat 2 times.  Run the dough through the machine at settings 1, 3, and 5, folding and repeating until the pasta is at the desired consistency.  For ravioli finish on setting 6, for other cuts finish at desired thickness.

Spinach & Ricotta Filled Ravioli (Ravioli di Ricotta e Spinaci)

4 serv.

250 g. spinach

250 g. ricotta cheese

60 g. grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Ground nutmeg to taste

Clean the spinach, boil and let cool; squeeze well to remove the liquid and mince finely.

Strain the ricotta through a sieve then put into a bowl; add the spinach, cheese, egg, salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.  Roll out the pasta dough into one thin strip; using a pronged pasta cutter, cut into rectangles of about 5×3.5cm.

Place a teaspoon of the filling in one half of each rectangle and close the pasta forming a triangle; press edges well to close.  Place the finished ravioli on a lightly floured cardboard tray, taking care not to overlap them or they will stick together.

 Panna Cotta & Strawberry Sauce

6 g. of gelatine

40 ml of milk

200 ml of whipping cream

40 g. of sugar

1/2 vanilla bean

300 g. fresh strawberries

180 g. sugar

Whisk together the cream, vanilla, and sugar.

Put the gelatin in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot but do not boil.

Wring out the gelatin and put it into the warm milk; stir until gelatin melts.

In a saucepan, warm the cream mixture over low heat stirring continuously until just boiling; remove from heat; add the milk/gelatin to the cream and stir to mix well.

Run individual-serving foil cups or ramekins under cold water.  Shake out excess water but do not dry cups.  Fill each cup with the panna cotta until full, being sure the tops are level; refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Turn each panna cotta out onto dessert plates, top with chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or fruit sauce as desired.

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