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Italian Cooking Together – Tortellini; Cacciatore; Dough Balls;

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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 class 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 with puree and herb pesto;

Main: Chicken Cacciatore, with red pepper and Pomodoro, Garlic & Rosemary Sautéed Potatoes and Garlic Dough Balls;

Dessert: Lemon Posset;

Spinach Tortellini

Ingredients:

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

  • – 2 medium eggs
  • – 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
  • – 500g grams of blanched spinach, water squeezed out of it
  • – 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 eggs and flour in a food processor and process until smooth. 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, spinach, 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.

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.

Red Pepper & Tomato Puree

Ingredients – Serves 6:

  • – 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • – 1 1-inch-thick slice of crusty bread, torn into pieces
  • – 1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped or slivered (can substitute hazelnuts, peeled)
  • – 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • – 1 teaspoon salt
  • – 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, or canned whole tomatoes (including the juice) that have been de-seeded, or 1 pound fresh tomatoes that have been par-boiled, skins removed, and de-seeded
  • – 1 8-ounce jar of roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • – 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (preferred) or sweet paprika
  • – 2-3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

Method:

Sauté torn bread and almonds:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the bread and almonds, stirring often, until they just begin to brown.
  2.  
  3. Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Remaining ingredients:

  1. Place the contents of the sauté pan into a food processor with the remaining ingredients—salt, tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, smoked paprika, vinegar. Purée until smooth.

 

Garlic & Rosemary Sautéed Potatoes

Ingredients – Serves 2:

  • – 400g of new potatoes
  • – 2x clove of garlic
  • – 1x sprig of rosemary
  • – 1 tbsp pomace olive oil
  • – Knob of butter to finish
  • – Seasoning

Optional: red peppers, courgettes etc.

Method:

  1. Cut the potatoes in half, do not peel.
  2.  
  3. Boil some salty water, potatoes will go in for about 5 minutes, depending on size. They need to be medium.
  4.  
  5. Let airdry, this will finish cooking and will get rid of the excess moisture.
  6.  
  7. Get a non-stick pan on medium heat, add oil and get it really hot.
  8.  
  9. Sautee the potatoes until golden, add butter, crushed garlic, chopped rosemary, let the butter foam and serve immediately.
  10.  
  11. If using any other vegetables, add after potatoes are golden and cook for extra five minutes.

Garlic Dough Balls

Ingredients:

  • – 325g Strong White Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • – 7g Fast-Action Dried Yeast
  • – 2 tbsp Olive Oil, plus extra for greasing
  • – 250ml Lukewarm Water
  • – Salt

For the Garlic Herb Butter:

  • – 100g Butter, Softened
  • – 2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • – 1 handful of Parsley, Finely Chopped

Method:

  1. You will need a roasting tin, well-greased with oil.
  2.  
  3. Measure the flour, yeast and olive oil into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a separate part of the bowl from the yeast (see tip) and stir in the warm water. Mix to combine, then bring together with your hands into a ball.
  4.  
  5. Transfer the dough to a worktop dusted with flour and knead for 5–10 minutes until smooth. Place in a large, oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise or prove in a warm place for 1–1½ hours or until doubled in size.
  6.  
  7. Meanwhile, make the herb butter by placing the butter, garlic and parsley in a bowl and mixing together.
  8.  
  9. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip on to a floured work surface and knead again – this is known as knocking back. Divide into 20 even-sized balls and arrange in the roasting tin in rows of four across and five down, so they are just touching. Cover with cling film and leave to rise again or prove in a warm place for 30–45 minutes.
  10.  
  11. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7. Bake the dough balls in the oven for 15–18 minutes until golden, well risen and cooked through.
  12.  
  13. Remove from the oven and, using a pastry brush, spread the herb butter over the dough balls. Alternatively, just dip the hot bread into the soft butter.
  14.  
  15. Cook time: 15-18 minutes, plus rising

Prepare Ahead:

  1. Keep the dough balls in the fridge to prove more slowly, and take out to finish rising before cooking. Or the dough can be made and stored overnight in the fridge, then shaped the following day.

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

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