Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Latti da Mangiare 3.0

Il Palagiaccio

La Storica Fattoria Palagiaccio sent me a selection of cheese with which I was challenged to create a recipe. Two recipes to be precise. The challenge turned out to be more "challenging" then I thought because I was limited to a specific list of ingredients, not at all easy to combine with cheese. The ingredients to choose from were divided into two categories, either seafood or forest. I chose the menu closest to my taste, seafood. And this is what I came up with.

Gnocchi with Gran Mugello cheese, mussels and bottarga. Gran Mugello cheese was the perfect choice for this dish because it is delicate yet present, not overwhelming but maintains a distinct flavor. It goes beautifully with mussels. When they say "fish does not combine with cheese" disregard and give this a try, it proves the opposite.

For the second recipe, I unleashed my creative spirit, (because I do have one you know?! :) by making a roasted pepper roll stuffed with pesto, Blue Mugello cheese, anchovies and balsamic vinegar. Yes, quite a lot of flavors but we've got the sweet, the salty, the acidity, the proteins and fattiness all in one and together they make a perfect bite. This can be either an appetizer or second course.DUO CHEESE
BQ8A5904 BQ8A5910-2   
Gnocchi with Gran Mugello Cheese, Mussels and Bottarga
serves 4

Gran Mugello cheese - freshly grated
500 gr fresh potato gnocchi
500 gr mussels
bottarga di muggine (Mullet Roe)
4 or 5 cherry tomatoes
1 garlic glove
lemon zest - freshly grated
extra virgin olive oil
fresh fennel leaves

Bring a a pot of water to a boil.

In a large shallow pan add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 whole unpeeled garlic clove, 4 or 5 cherry tomatoes and the mussels. Cover with a lid until the mussels begin to open. Start removing the mussels one by one as they begin to open and set aside on a dish. Now remove the mussels from their shell and set aside. Disregard all unopened mussels. Filter the mussel water and disregard the remains. Pour the filtered mussel liquid back into the pan and set aside.

Once the pot of water comes to a boil, add salt to the water and drop in the gnocchi.  Drain the gnocchi as soon as they begin to float on the surface. Keep some of the pasta water aside in a cup.

Put the gnocchi straight into the pan with the filtered mussel water and on high heat allow the gnocchi to absorb "most" of the mussel liquid, while moving the pan around in a circular motion. Remove the pan from the heat and add a handful of grated Gran Mugello cheese. Keep moving the pan in a circular motion far from the heat until the cheese and mussel liquid form a creamy texture. Just before removing the gnocchi from the pan to your serving plate, add the zest of a freshly grated lemon and mix. Place the gnocchi in each plate and at the last minute just before serving grate some bottarga and Gran Mugello cheese. Garnish with fresh fennel leaves.

Roasted Pepper Roll stuffed with Pesto, Blue Mugello cheese, Anchovies and Balsamic Vinegar
serves 4

Blue Gran Mugello
1 big red bell pepper
fresh pesto
jar olive oil stored anchovies
fresh basil
black sesame seeds

Place one whole pepper roll on the griddle or over a flame.  Once the skin of the entire pepper is burnt, remove from the flame and place on a plate covered with another plate or in a paper bag.  This will help you remove the skin from the pepper easily.  Remove the burnt skin from the pepper once it has cooled off.

Line a plastic film over the counter, roughly 50 cm.  Place the pepper flat open and evenly on the plastic film to form a rectangular shape. Spread the pesto evenly on the peppers. Crumble the Blue Mugello cheese on top of the pesto and add 3/4 anchovies in the center of the rectangle forming a straight line of anchovies. Starting from the longer side of the rectangle closet to you begin to roll the peppers with the help of the plastic film. Once you've made your roll make sure the plastic film is wrapped entirely around the roll, then twist the edges to seal. Place on a plate and in the fridge for an hour.

To serve: cut the roll in equal pieces about 4 cm thick.  Place each piece on a plate, add one anchovy fillet on top and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Garnish with some basil and black sesame seeds.

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