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Cooking Together Italian Cichetti – Spinach Tortellini; Goats Cheese Risotto;

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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. 

You Cooked:

Starter: Spinach and ricotta tortellini, Balsamic Tomato Salsa.

Main: Chicken saltimbocca, red pepper and goats cheese risotto, spinach and herb velouté.

Dessert:

Lemon posset.

Vegan Chocolate Fudge Cake.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Ingredients:

For the pasta (makes more dough than needed for this recipe)

  • – 70g spinach (blanched)
  • – 4 large free-range egg yolks
  • – 200g ‘00’ flour, plus extra for dusting

For the hazelnut pesto

  • – 25g whole blanched hazelnuts
  • – 15g Parmesan (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese), grated
  • – 1 tbsp hazelnut oil
  • – 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

For the filling

  • – 150g ricotta
  • – 50g Parmesan (or a similar vegetarian hard cheese), grated
  • – 1 lemon, zest only
  • – Pinch grated nutmeg
  • – Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • – Knob of butter, to serve

Method:

  1. Put the spinach and egg yolks in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the flour and whizz again to combine – the mixture will look like breadcrumbs at this stage. Tip out onto a lightly floured board and bring together using your hands. Knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky. Cover and rest in the fridge while you make the filling and pesto.
  2.  
  3. For the pesto, spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 6–8 minutes, until golden brown, then set aside to cool.
  4.  
  5. For the filling, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper until well combined. Transfer to a piping bag or a plastic food bag with the corner snipped off.
  6.  
  7. To make the pesto, crush the hazelnuts in a pestle and mortar, then gently stir in the Parmesan and oils.
  8.  
  9. To assemble the tortellini, roll the pasta dough through all the sizes on the pasta machine starting with the widest setting and finishing on the smallest setting when the pasta is very thin. Using a 9cm/3½in round cutter, cut out 10 circles. (Any leftover dough can be frozen to use another time.)
  10.  
  11. Pipe a heaped teaspoon amount of filling inside each pasta circle and fold in half to create a half moon shape. Wet the edges and press down to help them stick. Pull the two narrow ends together to form a tortellini shape.
  12.  
  13. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water for 2–3 minutes, or until al dente. Drain well.
  14.  
  15. Meanwhile, put a frying pan over a medium–high heat and add a knob of butter. Cook until lightly browned and starting to bubble. Then add the hazelnut pesto and gently heat through.
  16.  
  17. Serve the tortellini with the pesto spooned over the top.

Tomato, Red Onion & Balsamic Salsa

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 500g ripen tomatoes
  • – 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • – 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • – 1 tbsp balsamic
  • – 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • – 1 small red onion, diced
  • – ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • – ¼ cup chopped mint

Method:

  1. Place oil, garlic and vinegar in a bowl.
  2.  
  3. Add tomatoes, onion and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4.  
  5. Stand for at least 10 minutes.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 4 (6 Ounce) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • – 3/4 Cup All-purpose Flour Seasoned With Salt & Pepper
  • – 1 1/2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Sage Leaves
  • – 8 Thin Slices of Prosciutto
  • – 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • – 1 1/2 Cups Dry Vermouth or Dry White Wine
  • – 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • – Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • – 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Method:

  1. Slice each chicken breast in half lengthwise, then pound thin with a meat mallet. Chicken should be about 1/4 inch thick.
  2.  
  3. Place the seasoned flour in a shallow bowl, and dredge each piece of chicken on both sides, then place on a baking sheet.
  4.  
  5. Sprinkle the top of each cutlet with the chopped sage, then cover with a slice of prosciutto.
  6.  
  7. Press the prosciutto to help it to adhere to the chicken and then refrigerate until needed.
  8.  
  9. 30 minutes before you plan to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
  10.  
  11. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until lightly smoking, then place 4 cutlets in the pan prosciutto side down.
  12.  
  13. Cook the cutlet until you can see the edges are beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
  14.  
  15. Carefully flip the cutlets over and reduce heat to medium and cook until no longer pink inside, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  16.  
  17. Move the cutlets to a warm platter, cover with foil, and cook the remaining cutlets in the same manner.
  18.  
  19. Once all the cutlets are cooked and moved to the platter, add the wine 9or vermouth) and lemon juice to the pan and scrapping up and browned bits, cook over high heat until the liquid has been reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  20.  
  21. Add the butter and season with salt and pepper and stir until blended.
  22.  
  23. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with fresh sage leaves.

Red pepper and goats cheese risotto

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 5 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • – 30g/1oz butter
  • – 1 onion, finely chopped
  • – 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • – 300g/10½oz risotto rice
  • – 1 large sprig thyme
  • – 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
  • – small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • – small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)
  • – squeeze lemon juice (optional)
  • – salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • – 1 red pepper, sliced
  • – 100g Soft goats cheese
  • – Tbsp of grated parmesan

Method:

  1. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large casserole dish or saucepan. Add the onion and fry gently until very soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add red peppers and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the risotto rice and thyme until coated in the oil and butter.
  2.  
  3. Turn the heat to high and pour in the wine. Cook for 1–2 minutes, or until reduced. Turn the heat down to medium and add a ladleful of hot stock. Season with salt and pepper. Stir continuously until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until all the stock has been added. At this point the rice will have a creamy texture but still be al dente.
  4.  
  5. Beat in the remaining butter and parmesan. Stir through half of your goats’ cheese and herbs, if using, and check the seasoning, you might want to add a squeeze of lemon juice. Remove the thyme sprig.
  6.  
  7. Divide the risotto between four warmed plates and crumble over the goats’ cheese and a sprinkle of Parmesan at the table.
  8.  
  9. It works well with toasted pine nuts as garnish.

Spinach & Herb Velouté

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • – 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • – 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • – Salt
  • – 100ml Dry White Wine
  • – 6 cups Baby Spinach (washed)
  • – ½ Bunch of Chives
  • – ½ Bunch of Parsley
  • – ¼ Bunch of Basil
  • – 3 cups Vegetable stock (hot)
  • – ⅓ cup Double Cream 
  • – Freshly Ground Peppers

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan set over a medium heat until hot.
  2.  
  3. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened.
  4.  
  5. Add the wine and boil for 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.
  6.  
  7. Add the spinach, stir well, and cover with the stock. Cook until simmering, then continue to cook steadily for a further 5 minutes.
  8.  
  9. Add the cream, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes Do not boil. Add all the herbs at this point. Blend with a stick blender until smooth. You can pass the sauce through a fine strainer for extra smooth results.
  10.  
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Lemon Posset

Ingredients – Serves 3-4:

  • – 300ml of double cream
  • – 60g caster sugar
  • – 1 juicy lemon

Method:

  1. Squeeze the lemon.
  2.  
  3. Bring the cream and sugar to the boil (careful it should just boil but not boil over). Once you see it boil – stay there and boil for exactly 3 minutes.
  4.  
  5. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the lemon juice.
  6.  
  7. Strain this into a jug and leave to cool for 20minutes.
  8.  
  9. If you wish to put a crumbled biscuit in the bottom of the receptacle – this is the time to do it. If not gently pour the cream into the glasses.
  10.  
  11. Refrigerate for 6 hours minimum.
  12.  
  13. Serve with fruit and edible flowers

Vegan Fudge Cake

Ingredients – Makes 1 tray:

  • – 20g Milled flaxseed +water to cover these
  • – 57.5ml Water
  • – 60g Cocoa powder
  • – 375g GF plain flour
  • – 5g Xanthum
  • – 450g Caster sugar
  • – 150g Dark brown sugar
  • – 4g Baking powder
  • – 4g Sea salt
  • – 150ml Soymilk
  • – 400ml Sunflower oil
  • – 22.5ml Vanilla essence
  • – 150g Dark chocolate buttons

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 185C.
  2.  
  3. Place flaxseed in a small bowl and cover with lukewarm water, leave aside. This is our egg replacement.
  4.  
  5. Water, vanilla, sugar and soy milk in a standing mixer bowl and start mixing until sugar has melted.
  6.  
  7. Add baking powder and start gradually adding flour while mixing. Same with the cocoa powder afterwards… The mix will look like a smooth batter at this stage.
  8.  
  9. Switch from whisk to a paddle attachment and add xantham gum. Xantham will thicken the mix a lot, stop mixing when it’s thick and shiny.
  10.  
  11. Start mixing again while slooooowly pouring oil in the mix. We need to emulsify the oil and xantham gum. The mix can split if we do this too fast.
  12.  
  13. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and scoop the mixture in.
  14.  
  15. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool down and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing.

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