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Cooking Together – Cicchetti

Our cooking together cookery classes are as much about learning to cook as they are a sociable experience. We hope you enjoyed your evening and are ready to recreate the meals at home. The recipes work really well as delicious dinners and make a great combination for dinner party ideas.

Menu: Grilled Polenta Crostini, Sarde in Saor OR Prawns in Pepper, Grilled aubergine rolls with Robiola, Baked Meatballs – Polpette al forno, Panzanella – just a tasty salad! 

Grilled Polenta Crostini

Ingredients -serves 2

  • 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 180g polenta or coarsely ground yellow cornmeal do not use quick cooking
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 60g freshly grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a medium size heavy saucepan, with a whisk combine the stock, milk, salt and polenta and bring the mixture to a boil stirring frequently.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir every 1 or 2 minutes for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan and the grains of polenta begin to soften.
  4. The mixture becomes very thick and the spoon will be able to stand in it for a few seconds.
  6. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter, Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, stirring until they are thoroughly mixed in.  Remove from the heat.
  8. Grease an oven tray or cake tin, then mound the polenta in the centre before using a spatula to spread the polenta out into an even layer. You may have to dip the spatula into hot water so that it does not stick to the polenta.
  10. Cover with a towel — do not use plastic wrap because it will sweat. Let the polenta rest at room temperature until cool. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
  12. When ready to serve preheat an indoor broiler or an outdoor grill to high heat.
  13. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter. Cut the polenta into squares and brush with melted butter.
  14. Grill about 3 inches from heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly toasted.
  16. Remove from heat, and put on cooling rack. Serve with desired topping.

Prawns & Pepper – tbc

Sarde in Saor (Marinated Sardines)

Ingredients -serves 4

  • 250g fresh sardines
  • Tablespoon flour
  • olive oil (for frying)
  • 3 white onions
  • 250ml white wine
  • 250ml white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • bay leaf
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • cloves
  • raisins
  • pine nuts


  1. Ask your fishmonger to clean the sardines by removing their heads, cleaning the insides and removing the spine (some small bones will remain, these are fine enough to be eaten).  Coat the sardines in flour, then fry them in extra virgin olive oil. Set them aside to drain and cool.
  3. Finely slice 3 white onions and sauté them in olive oil. Add the wine, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and then some bay, oregano and marjoram, a pinch of cloves, and raisins (about a handful) and sprinkle with pine nuts. Pour the onion mixture over the sardines and leave to marinate for at least a few hours (or better, overnight). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grilled aubergine rolls with Robiola

Ingredients -serves 4

  • Robiola Cheese
  • 1 long aubergine
  • 1 piece of lemon zest
  • 1/2 a fresh chilli
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 sprig of basil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

Tomato Sauce

A good tomato sauce is the starting point for many Italian dishes…It would be lovely to always have a supply of fresh/ ripe tomatoes from the market to make this sauce, but in reality, in the UK, it can be really expensive!  This sauce used tinned, it works well and is predictable to taste and to cost!

  • 800g good quality tinned tomatoes
    150ml red wine
    Pinch of sugar
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    Oil, to fry


  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over a medium-high heat and add the garlic. Fry for a minute, then tip in the tomatoes and wine. Bring to the boil, mashing the tomatoes, stir and then turn down the heat slightly. Add a pinch of sugar, a little seasoning and the oregano, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree until smooth. 
  2. Make extra and freeze!

Baked Meatballs – Polpette al forno

Ingredients -serves 2

  • Mince – we use a mix of 200g beef and 100g pork, but you can use any combination
  • Garlic 1 clove
  • Stale bread 100 g or panko breadcrumbs
  • Pecorino or parmesan cheese – grated 40 g
  • Eggs 2
  • Parsley 1 – small handful
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons
  1. Method
  2. To prepare meatballs with tomato sauce, start with the meat mixture: cut stale bread into pieces and place it in a mixer with blades and make your breadcrumbs
  4. Mix in a bowl together with the mincemeat. Add oregano, a pinch of grated nutmeg or other spices and chopped parsley.
  6. Add grated Parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs and the egg.  Mix everything with your hands until you have a meatball texture.
  8. Use this mixture to form little even sized balls As soon as all the meatballs are ready, heat some oil in a non-stick pan. When the oil is hot, place the meatballs in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes each side to gain some colour.
  9. Add water, season with salt and pepper, lower the heat and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes. Once ready, season with dried oregano and enjoy your meatballs with tomato sauce from above.

Panzanella – just a tasty salad!

Ingredients -serves 4

  • 1kg ripe mixed tomatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
  • 300g day-old sourdough or ciabatta, torn into large chunks
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot (or red onion), finely chopped
  • 50g tin anchovies, drained and roughly chopped
  • 100g black olives, pitted
  • large handful of basil leaves, torn


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle over 1 tsp sea salt, then leave to sit for 15 mins.
  3. Spread the chunks of bread out on a baking tray and toss with 1 tbsp of the oil. Bake for 10-15 mins, or until lightly toasted.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining oil, the vinegar and shallot. Season to taste. Toss the anchovies with the tomatoes, croutons, olive oil dressing, the olives and half the basil in a large bowl. Spoon the Panzanella onto a serving plate and top with the remaining basil.