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Italian Street Food – Cicchetti – Risotto; Prawns & Nduja; Parmigiana

Italian street food known as cicchetti originated in Venice where wine bars (bàcaro) serve bite size and small dishes. In this Cookery Class you will learn how to make these Italian delicacies.

Aubergine Parmigiana

Ingredients – Serves 4-6 (main
course/side dish)

  • 1.5kg aubergines
  • Fine salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 400g mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 125g Parmesan, grated
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • Handful of basil leaves

For The Tomato Sauce

  • 800g good tinned tomatoes2 red onions
    150ml red wine vinegar
    Pinch of sugar
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

Method

  1. Cut the aubergines lengthways into 5mm slices, sprinkle with salt and leave in a colander to drain for half an hour.

    Classic Tomato Sauce

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion, then garlic. Fry for a minute, then tip in the tomatoes and wine vinegar. 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 marjoram, and simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Preheat the oven to 180C. Put a large pan of water on to boil if you’re feeling healthy. Rinse the aubergines well, and dry thoroughly with kitchen paper. Pour enough oil into a frying pan to coat the bottom well, and put on a high heat. Fry half (healthy) or all (not), of the aubergine slices until golden brown on both sides, working in batches. Put the cooked slices on paper towel to drain. Blanch the other
    half, if necessary, in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain well.

    Lightly grease a baking dish and spread with a thin layer of tomato sauce, followed by a layer of aubergines (packing them tightly), mozzarella, Parmesan and seasoning. Add another layer of aubergines, followed by tomato sauce, the cheeses and seasoning. Repeat this order until you have used up all the aubergine, finishing
    with a layer of sauce (you may not need all the sauce) – keep a little Parmesan
    back for the top.

    Toss the breadcrumbs with a little olive oil and Parmesan and sprinkle on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until bubbling and browned, then allow to cool slightly and
    sprinkle with torn basil before serving.

Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients – serves 1 – scale up as you need

  • 125g grams chestnut mushrooms
  • 30g butter
  • Handful grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 75g Risotto rice (Arborio)
  • 75ml white wine
  • 200ml veg stock – we made mushroom stock
  • 20g parsley
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1 clove garlic 

Method

  1. Halve the mushrooms
  2. Fine dice all veg as small as possible
  3. 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.
  4. Cook the veg in the same pan with no colour and add rice, cook for a further 2 minutes
  5. Add wine and cook until all liquid has gone
  6. Add half the stock and continue to cook until the rice nearly cooked on a low heat
  7. Add the remaining stock and simmer
  8. Add parmesan, remaining butter and mushrooms back to the pan
  9. Take off heat season and add chopped parsley
  10.  

Prawn, Nduja Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 8 prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 long red chilli, half finely chopped and half thinly sliced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 50g Nduja, crumbled
  • 100g fresh ricotta
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • French Bread – couple of slices or halved lengthways

Method

  1. Place the prawns, garlic, parsley, finely chopped chilli, salt and olive oil in a frying pan and toss to combine.  Make sure prawns are cooked, then crumble through the nduja.
  2. Push to side of pan and toast the soft of the bread.  Serve on top of the toasted bread and crumble ricotta on top with parsley.

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