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Frico

Ingredients:

400 g (14 oz) Potatoes

400 g (14 oz) Montasio cheese

Note 1: the potato variety I used for this recipe is ROMANO. As a guidance,
choose a potato variety with a slightly waxy texture.

Note 2: for this recipe we don’t need any fat (i.e. butter, olive oil etc.)
because the fat provided by the melted cheese will be more than enough. We
don’t need seasoning too, because the cheese itself will provide the right
seasoning.

Directions:

Fill a pan with cold water, add some salt and bring to the boil. Boil the
potatoes until they are soft (if a fork can pass through them easily, then it
means they are ready). Choose potatoes with more or less the same size so
they will all be ready at the same time.

While the potatoes are boiling, dice the cheese, roughly making 1x1cm dice.

When the potatoes are ready, drain and leave them in a colander to cool
down.
Then, roughly mash them using a fork.....

.....to achieve this.

Take a wide frying pan, apply gentle heat and put the mashed potato into the
pan.

Pat the mashed potato with a spatula, to make a circle about 1 cm thick (if it
is 1 ½ cm thick it doesn’t matter!). Leave the potato circle to cook on its own
for about 3-4 minutes.

Then, add the cheese dice, spreading it evenly. Don’t add all the cheese you
have in one go because you may need only 350g instead of 400g stated in
the recipe.

After I spread the cheese dice around as shown in the picture, I press them
down through the potato mash, with a spatula, so that they can get in
contact with the bottom of the pan.

The cheese will soon start to melt.


With a spatula, go around the perimeter of the circle and fold the melted
cheese toward the centre. Basically, we are trying to make a nice circular
shape.

After 5-10 minutes (it depends on the heat) the bottom of the circle should be
golden in colour. You may be able to gently lift one side with the spatula to
check the colour. Now it is time to turn the whole thing upside down, flipping
it in the air like you would do with a frittata or an omelette.

The picture shows the frico after the turn. You can also see the colour you
should achieve. Some people like it a bit darker; nothing wrong with that, it is
just a matter of personal taste, as long as you don’t burn it.

Cook the second side for another 5-10 minutes until you achieve the same
colour intensity as for the top side. At the same time, using a spatula, go
around the perimeter to keep a nice circular shape.

When the frico is ready, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down in
the pan for few minutes so that it will hold its shape once you take it out of
the pan. I turn it over a greaseproof or baking paper, then you can slice it and
serve it with polenta or, as I did, with some sourdough bread.

Tiramisu

Ingredients:
500 g (1.1 lb) Italian mascarpone cheese
100 g (3 ½ oz) Icing sugar
4 or 5 Eggs (medium size)
1 Pack of Pavesini biscuits (for this recipe I used 59 Pavesini)
200 ml (7 fl oz) Strong espresso coffee (cold) or coffee prepared with a moka
100 ml (3 ½ fl oz) Marsala wine (cold)
Cocoa powder for dusting
Some dark chocolate shavings
Note: this is a dessert containing raw eggs, so be sure you buy fresh, top
quality eggs.

Directions:

Separate the egg whites from the yolks.

Start beating the egg yolks with a whisk and gradually add all the sugar.

Keep beating until the mixture become pale yellow and thick.

Next, empty the mascarpone into a bowl and, with a wooden spoon, work it
for few seconds so that it is a bit loose.

Now, add the mascarpone to the egg-sugar cream and blend all together.
The result should be a pale yellow mascarpone-egg-sugar cream. Set it aside,
putting it in the fridge, while carrying out the next stage.

Next, add a tiny pinch of salt into the bowl containing the egg whites.

Whisk the egg whites until completely white and firm (into peaks).

Now, add the white fluffy mixture into the bowl containing the mascarpone-
egg-sugar cream.

Gently mix all together.

Finally, we have the tiramisù cream.

Now we are ready for assembling our tiramisù. First, spread a thin layer of
tiramisù cream in the bottom of the dish (I used a 30 cm x 22 cm rectangular
oven dish).

For the first layer of biscuits, dip them in the coffee first (dip the biscuits, one
at a time, for about 5 seconds).
Lay the biscuits side by side, leaving a tiny space between them.

First layer completed.

Having completed the first layer of biscuits, cover it with the tiramisù cream.

Then, start again with a second layer of biscuits. This time dip the biscuits in
the Marsala wine.

Second layer completed.

Cover it with the tiramisù cream.

Finally, proceed with the third layer of biscuits. For this final layer, dip the
biscuits in the coffee. Once done, cover it with the last spread of tiramisù
cream.

Dust with cocoa powder.


Sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.

Put the tiramisù in the fridge and leave it for about 4 hours. However, the
longer the better because all the flavours blend together (I usually wait for 6-
8 hours).

Note: I usually dust with cocoa powder and sprinkle with chocolate shavings
prior of putting the tiramisù in the fridge, some other people prefer to do this
just before serving it.

Spaghetti carbonara (a.k.a. Spaghetti alla carbonara)

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

400 g (14 oz) Spaghetti (cooked "al dente" - see How to cook perfect
spaghetti)
150 g (5 oz) Unsmoked streaky bacon slices (very thin - 1 mm thick)
50 g (2 oz) Pecorino cheese - matured (freshly grated)
15 ml (1tbs) Extra virgin olive oil
3 Egg yolks + 1 whole egg (use large size eggs, preferably free range
organic)
80 ml (3 fl. oz) White wine
1 Small size onion (cut into thin rings)
5 g (¼ oz) Ground pepper grains (crushed in the mortar)
About the salt: Spaghetti is boiled in salted water, the bacon is salty and the
Pecorino cheese is salty, so take care seasoning with salt!

Note: I suggest using thin slices of streaky bacon (pancetta tesa) because
this is what you can easily find if you live abroad. In Italy, for this specific
dish, it is a must to use diced “guanciale” (cured pig jowl or cheeks). I is
important that the streaky bacon is unsmoked; lightly smoked or smoked
bacon will make the dish a bit too rich and some people would find it too
strong. I did the recipe using streaky bacon cut in thin slices (it cooks evenly),
however you can dice it if you prefer to do so.

Directions:

I found these streaky bacon slices at the supermarket. They were already
thinly cut, so the only thing I had to do was to cut the slices in two pieces to
make the slices shorter.

Put 3 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg into a large bowl.

While whisking, add the Pecorino cheese, but add it gradually because the
cheese will dry the mixture and you need a smooth and creamy mixture. In
my case I added only 40 g (1 ½ oz) because 50 g (2 oz) would have dried the
mixture too much (the remaining cheese can be used later for topping the
pasta if you like).

Take the crushed pepper you have previously prepared.

Add the pepper to the bowl.

Whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy, and then leave it to rest.
Put the oil into a frying pan and when it is hot move the pan around
distributing the oil all over the pan surface.

Lay all the bacon slices into the pan and cook at medium heat.

After a minute or so, start stirring the slices in order to cook them on both
sides. When you see the first sign of browning, remove the pan from the
cooker and go to the next step.

Transfer the bacon slices into a small bowl and leave them for the moment.
Now, put your spaghetti into the boiling water and while boiling start cooking
the onion.

In the same pan you cooked the bacon slices, which is still hot, add the onion
rings and cook them for a couple of minutes.

Then, add the wine and cook for a couple of minutes. Then, turn the heat
down and gently cook the onions until caramelised.

This is what it should look like after a few minutes.


Remove the pan from the cooker and put the bacon slices back into the pan.

With the pan away from the cooker (we do not want to overcook the bacon),
stir everything together and set aside.

When the spaghetti is ready, put the saucepan containing the bacon and the
onion back on the cooker (low heat) and meanwhile drain the spaghetti
(remember to leave the spaghetti a little wet). Be quick draining the
spaghetti because we do not want it to cool down. Put the drained spaghetti
back into the large pan you used to boil it, which is still hot, and quickly add
the bacon and onions.

Stir quickly for 10 seconds and move on to the next stage.

Quickly add the egg mixture.

Stir everything together for 20 seconds. The heat of the spaghetti and the
heat of the pan is enough to cook the egg mixture. Do not carry out this
procedure on the cooker otherwise, you will dry the spaghetti too much (I do
not think you want to reach this stage to have spaghetti and scrambled
eggs!). The final result should be a creamy sauce coating the spaghetti.
Please, do not use any cooking cream, milk or butter; these are "tricks" that
people use to cover their mistakes (even in Italy!).
Serve immediately and feel free to season with more pepper if you like, or
sprinkle with some of the remaining Pecorino cheese, if you have any left.
You can also try garnishing the plate with some parsley (flat leaf - torn by
hand), but not too much.

Penne all'arrabbiata

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

400 g (14 oz) Penne rigate pasta (cooked "al dente" - see How to cook perfect
spaghetti)
90 ml (3 ½ oz) Extra virgin olive oil
2 Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
2 or 3 Whole dried red chilli (roughly chopped) - see also Using chilli
500 g (1.1 lb) Chopped tomatoes
A small handful of flat leaf parsley (roughly chopped)
Salt for seasoning

Directions:

Chop the garlic and chilli.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan (medium heat) and add the chopped
ingredients (garlic/chilli) into the pan.

Sauté for a couple of minutes or until the garlic becomes golden in colour.
When the garlic has turned to golden, add the chopped tomatoes.

Stir for a few seconds.

Season with salt.

Stir again for few seconds.

Now, cook on medium/low heat for about 20-25 minutes, to reduce the sauce.
After this time the suace will be ready.

A few minutes before the arrabbiata sauce is ready, boil your pasta and when
the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and add it into the pan containing the
sauce.

Stir for few seconds to coat the pasta with the sauce. Do this when the pan is
still on the heat.
Then, sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Give a quick stir and serve immediately.

Buon appetito!