~Recipes from Our Kitchen
Zuppa di Ceci ~ Creamy Chickpea Soup
This typical Umbrian cucina povera soup, or peasant’s soup, is simple and easy to make. A soul warming soup whose touch of smoky pancetta makes this a perfect hearty addition to the menu.
- 1 pound dried chickpeas
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 medium onion peeled and diced
- 1 or 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 tablespoons chopped pancetta
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
- A handful of chopped parsley
- 4 cups of vegetable broth made from scratch
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Starting the night before, place the dried beans in a bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl and let rest until you are ready to cook.
Drain the beans and place in a soup pot and cover with fresh water.
Bring the water to a boil, then decrease to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender ~ 30 to 45 minutes depending on the beans. Drain and leave in a colander while you prepare the broth.
- In a large soup pot, heat the extra virgin olive oil and then add the pancetta, carrots, onion, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are golden and the pancetta pieces are lightly browned. Measure out 1 and 1/2 cups of the chickpeas and set to the side. Add the rest of the chickpeas to the pot with the vegetables and cover with broth until everything is covered in 1 inch of broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and slowly simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper. Puree the soup until thick and smooth, adding additional broth as needed. Return the soup to the heat and stir in the chickpeas you had set aside early.
- Serve in individual bowls topped with some cracked black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle top of soup with the crispy pancetta bits (if desired) and a scattering of chopped parsley and serve.
Ravioli Con Provola E Melanzane Con Sugo Ai Funghi Porcini ~
Smoked Provola And Eggplant Ravioli With Porcini Mushroom Sauce
Serves 18 to 20
1 kg flour
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, splashFilling:
500 g Smoked provola cheese, chopped
700-800 g Eggplant cubes, already fried
100 g Parmesan, grated
1-2 eggs, as needed
Fresh basil, choppedAssembly:
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 or 5 beef soup bones
2 onions, chopped finely
3 carrots, chopped finely
1 stalk celery, chopped finely
Flour, as needed
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Water, as needed
½ onion, chopped
200 g dried/ 500 g fresh Porcini mushrooms
100 g heavy cream
Preheat oven to 180 ° C or about 375 °F. Start by preparing your sauce, as it needs about 2 hours to cook. Chop the carrots, celery and onions and mix together to a medium bowl. In a large baking pan, add the soup bones along with about ½ of the carrots, celery, and onions. Bake in the preheated oven and after several minutes, sprinkle flour over the whole pan and add a splash of olive oil as well. The flour acts as a thickener for your sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes. Just before the end, add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and leave in the oven until just softened.
In a large pot, add the baked bones & vegetables along with the other half of the carrots, celery and onions. Place over a high heat and pour in a generous splash of red wine, then allow to evaporate. Next add 1-2 liters of water and boil for about 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Keep adding water as needed.
To make the ravioli, add all of the dough ingredients to a countertop mixer and set to mix, or mix and knead by hand. Once the dough is well blended, remove from mixer, form into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together by hand to form a homogeneous mixture. Spoon into a pastry bag if you like or you can also use a spoon to fill the ravioli.
After the dough has rested, cut off smaller slices of the dough, to make about 5 smaller balls. Using generous flour as needed, pass the dough through a pasta machine, working your way from the larger to smaller thickness. Fold dough each time and pat with a little flour to keep a regular shape. Once you have a long sheet of pasta, use a knife to gently cut it in half. Set one half on a floured surface and brush with a little beaten egg. Spoon about 1 tablespoon dots of filling in columns about 2 inches apart along the sheet of pasta. Then place the other half of the sheet of pasta on top and use your hands to gently press down between the dots of filling to divide. Use a pastry cutter to cut the ravioli and gently place on a tray that has been sprinkled with the semola flour. Sprinkle a little semola over the ravioli. Repeat until you have made all of the ravioli.
After about two hours, remove the sauce from heat and pass through a sieve to remove the bones and vegetables. Put the broth that remains back into a saucepan and place over medium heat.
In a separate pan, heat a splash of extra virgin olive oil with the ½ chopped onion. Add the porcini mushrooms and sauté. Fresh are best, but if you had dried porcini, make sure to rehydrate them for at least ½ hour and drain liquid before adding to the pot. Every couple of minutes, and a couple of scoops of hot broth to the porcini mushrooms, continuing until you have added all of the broth. Just before serving, remove from heat, add the heavy cream to the sauce and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the ravioli in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove and add to the pan with the porcini mushroom sauce and stir gently together before serving. Sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top, as desired and serve.
Roasted Pumpkin & Walnut Torta
Makes 2 (8 x 4 Inch) Loaves
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup homemade applesauce
- 4 organic eggs
- 2 cups roasted and pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 3 cups farro (spelt) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. and lightly grease two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans.
In an electric mixer, beat the oil, applesauce, and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the pumpkin puree and milk, and beat well. Whisk together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients and blend just until mixed.
Fold in the walnuts. Divide the batter between the two baking pans. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon topping, and sprinkle over the top of each loaf.
Bake the loaves for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the loaves from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Remove cakes from the pans, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool to room temperature before slicing.