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Cooking Together Italian – Goat’s Cheese Arancini; Ricotta Gnocchi;

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Starter: Mushroom and goats cheese arancini, balsamic salsa, pesto

Main: Chicken cacciatore, ricotta gnocchi, mozzarella

Dessert: Lemon Posset;

Mushroom & Goats Cheese Arancini

Ingredients – Serves 1:

  • – ½ pack shimegi mushrooms
  • – 3 chestnut mushrooms 
  • – 2 shiitake mushrooms 
  • – 30g mascarpone 
  • – 30g butter 
  • – 75g Risotto rice (Arborio)
  • – 75ml white wine
  • – 100ml veg stock
  • – 20g parsley
  • – 1 shallot
  • – 1 stick celery 
  • – 1 clove garlic 

Method:

  1. Halve the mushrooms
  2.  
  3. Fine dice all veg as small as possible
  4.  
  5. Heat butter in a pan large enough to construct your dish in…as the butter starts to foam, cook mushrooms in burnt butter and remove from heat on to a plate for later
  6.  
  7. Cook the veg in the same pan with no colour and add rice, cook for a further 2 minutes
  8.  
  9. Add wine and cook until all liquid has gone
  10.  
  11. Add half the stock and continue to cook until the rice nearly cooked on a low heat
  12.  
  13. Add the remaining stock and simmer
  14.  
  15. Add mascarpone, remaining butter and mushrooms back to the pan
  16.  
  17. Take off heat season and add chopped parsley
  18.  
  19. Serve with a shaving of Parmesan or fresh truffle 

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.

Herb Pesto

Ingredients – Serves 4:

  • – 1 clove of garlic
  • – 1/2 big bunch of fresh basil
  • – Handful of chives
  • – Handful of coriander
  • – 1 handful of pine nuts
  • – 1 good handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • – extra virgin olive oil
  • – 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Peel the garlic, then pound in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt.
  2.  
  3. Pick, roughly chop and add the basil, followed by coriander and chives, then blend in a food processor.
  4.  
  5. Add the pine nuts (very lightly toast first, if you like) to the mixture and blend again, same with the parmesan.
  6.  
  7. Drizzle in some oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
  8.  
  9. Add most of the remaining cheese, then season to perfection with salt and black pepper. Have a taste and keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency.
  10.  
  11. Add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Chicken Caccitore

Ingredients – Serves 2:

  • – 4 chicken thigh, skinless and boneless
  • – 1 shallot, diced
  • – 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • – 1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
  • – 400g chopped tomatoes
  • – Handful of fresh cherry tomatoes
  • – Handful of olives of your choice
  • – 2tbsp of capers
  • – 100ml of red wine
  • – 1 tsp of sugar
  • – 2 sprigs of thyme
  • – 6 basil leaves
  • – 1 bulb of mozzarella, shred into pieces
  • – 1tbsp of olive oil
  • – Seasoning

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 185C.
  2.  
  3. Place a heavy skillet on medium heat with a splash of oil.
  4.  
  5. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear of in the pan, remove from the pan and leave on side for now (chicken doesn’t need to be cooked through yet).
  6.  
  7. Add another splash of oil in the same pan and sauté onions for a couple of minutes, followed by garlic.
  8.  
  9. Next comes the red pepper, cook for another minute.
  10.  
  11. Now pour in the red wine with sugar and reduce by half, followed by cherry tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, capers, chopped thyme and olives. Simmer for ten minutes, correct seasoning, place the chicken on top and bake for roughly 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  12.  
  13. Right before serving, place mozzarella on top and melt in the oven.
  14.  
  15. Garnish with chopped basil leaves.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • – 8 oz / 250g ricotta – ordinary supermarket ricotta, not expensive fresh Italian ricotta
  • – 3/4 cup / 75 g freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • – 3/4 to 1 cup / 112 – 150g plain flour, plus more for dusting
  • – 1 egg
  • – 1 egg yolk
  • – 1/4 tsp salt
  • – Black pepper

Method:

  1. Combine the gnocchi ingredients in a bowl except the flour.
  2.  
  3. Use a rubber spatula to mix until the egg is partially mixed into the ricotta. Then add 3/4 cup of flour and mix until just combined so it is a sticky very soft dough, but not like batter. Use the remaining flour, 1 tbsp at a time to get the dough consistency right. I find 3/4 cup is enough.
  4.  
  5. Turn it out on a work surface lightly dusted with flour, sprinkle a tiny bit of flour on top then pat it down to a disc about 1″/2.5cm thick. Cut it into 8 pieces.
  6.  
  7. Roll a piece into a log about 3/5″ / 1.5 cm in diameter and about 10″/25cm long. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8.  
  9. Line 4 logs up, then cut them into 3/5″ / 1.5cm pieces. Repeat with remaining 4 logs.
  10.  
  11. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Tumble the gnocchi in and cook for around 2 1/2 minutes, or until the gnocchi is floating on the surface for around 30 seconds.
  12.  
  13. Reserve 1 mug of cooking water(for any sauce you’re making).. Then drain and add the gnocchi into the frypan with your sauce of choice (you only need one of them, not both). Follow the instructions below.

lemon Posset

This is an Italian classic, and is great for a dinner party – as it can be made in the morning.

You could crush up biscuits of your choice and put in the bottom of the glass.  A classic Italian version would be an amaretti and serve a glass of amaretto on the side!

Ingredients: Serves 3- 4 Depending on dish size

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

Method

  1. 1. Squeeze the lemon
  2. 2. 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.
  3. 3. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the lemon juice
  4. 4. Strain this into a jug and leave to cool for 20minutes.
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. Refrigerate for 6 hours minimum.
  7. Serve with fruit and edible flowers

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