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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with double cream

27Jul 12

Taleggio, Ham and Sage Gnocchi

Taleggio, Ham and Sage GnocchiGnocchi are basically a kind of small, soft dumpling, which can be made from a variety of ingredients, including flour, semolina and potato, or numerous other combinations. Recently a friend of ours cooked us gnocchi made with chestnut flour, which was new to us, and very delicious. I’d like to try it myself some time soon. If and when I do, I’ll post it here.

Taleggio is a soft cheese named for the beautiful Val Taleggio in Lombardy. It is what is called ‘washed rind’ and ‘smear-ripened’. These terms refer to the maturation processes, and the result in this case is a pungent-smelling but pretty mild-tasting cheese, ideal for melting in dishes such as this.

Last time we ate this, we had one of our favourite super simple salads with it, consisting merely of watercress with Parmesan shavings, lightly drizzled in olive oil, with a slug of balsamic vinegar and a twist of pepper, and a freshly baked (from the supermarket, admittedly) white baguette. (For dessert, why not try this white chocolate mousse?)

Taleggio, Ham and Sage Gnocchi
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Gnocchi are basically a kind of small, soft dumpling, which can be made from a variety of ingredients, including flour, semolina and potato, or numerous other combinations.
Ingredients
  • 15g butter, cubed
  • 60g pancetta, cubed
  • 100ml double cream
  • 3 or 4 sage leaves (cut length-wise into thin strips)
  • 50g Taleggio cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of fine flour
  • 200g gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, over a low heat, melt the butter. Add the pancetta and cook slowly, until beginning to caramelize (approx 10 minutes).
  2. Add the cream and sage and stir together. Increase the heat, bringing the mixture to the boil, thicken and reduce for several minutes. Add the Taleggio and Parmesan, stirring them in, and then remove the pan from the heat. Once the cheese has melted, taste, and then season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the gnocchi as per the packet instructions. This is usually only a matter of some minutes, and waiting for the gnocchi to float to the water surface. Drain and return to the pan. Pour over the sauce and serve to warmed plates or bowls.

 

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08Jun 12

Tiramisu

TiramisuMy first sweet is the utterly delicious tiramisu, which literally means ‘pick me up’, and – if you’re not already familiar with it – after one serving, you’ll be hooked for life. This rich, sweet, layered dessert is incredibly simple to make. Do it the day before you intend to eat it and chill it overnight. This allows the liquids to be absorbed into the biscuit, the flavours to intensify, and makes it firm.

If you are on a diet, I suggest watching this video of Phil Vickery as he demonstrates how to make a light tiramisu.

Ingredients:

  • 475ml (2 cups) of strong black coffee or four shots of espresso
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
  • 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 packet of Savoiardi biscuits
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 250ml double cream
  • Cocoa powder, to dust
  • Grated dark chocolate, to dust

Method:

  1. Mix the cold coffee with half the amaretto and set aside.
  2. Mix the egg yolks and caster sugar briskly, till the mixture thickens. Beat in the mascarpone, before folding in the cream.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, and then fold into the cream. Add the remaining amaretto liqueur, and mix gently together so as not to lose the aerated volume.
  4. Soak the biscuits briefly in the coffee liqueur mix, and place a layer in the bottom of a rectangular glass dish (with sides a couple of inches deep). Spread half the cream over this layer, and then repeat the process with a second layer of biscuits and cream.
  5. Smooth over the top layer of cream and dust with cocoa powder and a little grated chocolate. Chill overnight, and serve when you can’t wait any longer.
  6. Remember, refrigeration is absolutely essential to this pudding. Without it, the tiramisu won’t firm up properly. And the longer you refrigerate the dish, the more the flavours combine and suffuse into the Savoiardi. If you’re doing this to impress at a fancy dinner party, you could try making individual portions in wine glasses.
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25May 12

Sage and Gorgonzola Fettucine

Sage and Gorgonzola Fettucine

You might notice that I like my ribbon pastas. This one’s also suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans): it’s another delightfully simple pasta dish – almost stupidly so! – with a rich, creamy, meat-free sauce.

Gorgonzola has been around for over a thousand years, is named after a town in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, and is a soft, crumbly, blue-veined cheese made from the milk of goats or cows. Very similar to the French Roquefort, both cheeses are made by the addition of varieties of penicillin bacteria. Whilst this might not sound very appetizing, the results are simply delicious.

Last time my wife and I had this, we experimented with a contrasting side dish. Take 10 or 12 small shallots, boil them for ten minutes in lightly salted water, and then roast under the grill for five minutes (to caramelize). You’ll need to do this before preparing the pasta. Then, whilst the pasta and sauce cook, mix a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, a couple of olive oil, and a small amount (one tablespoon) of brown sugar together. Pour over the roasted shallots, and heat through in a frying pan for about five minutes, making sure they’re covered in the sticky brown sauce. We liked the contrast of this sweet and sour side dish with the creamy pasta. If you try them together, let me know what you think. If you prefer to play it safe, a salad with some bite, such as this curly asparagus salad with goat’s cheese and Medjool dates, will do ideally.

Sage & Gorgonzola Fettucine
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This one’s also suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans): it’s another delightfully simple pasta dish
Ingredients
  • 25g butter, cubed
  • 6-8 sage leaves, chopped roughly (set several aside for garnishing)
  • 120g Gorgonzola cheese
  • 80ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon of dry vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon of fine flour
  • 200g fettuccine pasta
  • 50-100g Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. As the sauce element is so stunningly simple, start off by getting the pasta going: bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta till al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a good cast iron skillet, or heavy-bottomed frying pan. Crumble the Gorgonzola into the pan, and heat for 2 or 3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Add the cream, vermouth and flour, stirring vigourously and continually, to combine into a smooth sauce.
  3. Add the chopped sage, and continue stirring constantly. Let the sauce reach boiling point and thicken a little, then season and remove from the heat. Drain the pasta, and then return it to the pan. Pour over the sauce, and toss or stir it all together, coating all the pasta. Serve immediately, garnished with the last sage leaves.

 

 

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05Mar 12

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti CarbonaraSpaghetti Carbonara is a modern Italian classic, but there are some people who get quite stressed about doing this the ‘authentic’ way. I know it’s a terrible cliché, but I really do love it ‘like my mamma used to make it’. My mother always put a lot of cream in. Others have told me that I shouldn’t use cream at all. I say: Mamma knows best!

Although the classic spaghetti carbonara is made with pork, you can make a spaghetti fish supper that is also quite nice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 or 3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
  • 150g pancetta, cut into ‘lardons’ (generous little rectangles, but not too small!)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated (We’re cheese-mad, and so we grate a big pile and put it in a little bowl so we can have as much as we fancy!)
  • 75 ml double cream
  • 200-250g spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley chopped fairly finely, and 2 sprigs to garnish

Method:

1 – Cook the pasta in lightly-salted water with the olive oil.

2 – Heat the pancetta in a heavy-bottomed frying pan: good fatty pancetta should cook in its own fat, but add a little butter or olive oil if you feel you should. The meat will caramelise slightly for maximum rich sugary sweetness. This should take about five minutes. Add the garlic about halfway through, and let soften without burning it, to avoid it tasting bitter. If you like, you can throw in a little chopped parsley as well.

3 – Meanwhile, mix the eggs with the cream and four generous tablespoons of grated Pecorino. Add the finely chopped parsley to the mixture, season well with salt and pepper, and stir with a fork to combine.

4 – Drain the pasta and put it back into the pan in which you cooked it. Add the pancetta, and pour over the egg, cream and cheese mixture. The eggs will cook sufficiently from the heat of the pasta and pancetta. The resulting sauce should have a smooth satin texture.

5 – Serve in deep plates or bowls, garnished with a sprig of parsley, with salt, pepper and plenty more cheese.

It really is as easy as that!

Serves: 2

Time: 20-30 minutes: 5-10 minutes preparation, 15-20 minutes cooking.

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About Gianluca Dievole

My Badge: Assistant

About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.