Friday, February 28, 2014

Sardinian bread topped with melted cheese (Pane "Guttiau" -- Pane Carasau all'olio e pecorino)

I've pulled a new cookbook from my bookshelf:  La Cucina Sarda, published by Casa Editrice Bonechi (2004).  I purchased this while visiting Sardegna several years ago with Alessandro.  The food in Sardegna was fabulous.  The fish was fresh and the local cookies and traditional pastries were a delicious treat.  I bought several kilos of salt and brought it back with me.  I'm still using it, sprinkling salt and memories into boiling pasta water.

I browsed this book, marking as I went.  So many recipes call for fresh fish.  I did find a handful of dishes for which I will be able to find ingredients, locally here in California.

Alessandro introduced me to the paper-thin crispy bread called Carta da Musica or Pane carasau,  which is a specialty of the island. Even in restaurants, this is the bread brought to the table.  During each trip to Italy, my shopping list includes, from the IPERCoop supermarket, two rounds of Pane carasau.  It looks delicate, but travels well when packed correctly in my suitcase.

Image my surprise when I found this in Trader Joe's this month.  Thank you so much Trader Joe's!!  I've bought a dozen boxes, just in case.

Page 14 shows a picture of  Pane "Guttiau" -- Pane Carasau all'olio e pecorino.

I made a test batch and ate it all before I could get my iPhone ready to snap a photo. Super easy and delicious!  For the second batch, I used two different types of cheeses:  Brie and grated fontina.

Both sheets of bread with melted cheese were hits with two visiting college students, here for a homemade Italian dinner. 

Sardinian bread topped with melted cheese

Sheets of dry thin bread from Sardegna
Olive oil, extra virgin
Cheese such as Pecorino, Fontina, Brie, Gruyere 

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Dress the sheets of bread with a pinch of large salt and a swirl of olive oil.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and place on oven rack.  It will only take a few minutes for the cheese to melt and the bread will brown a bit.  Serve as an appetizer.  May be accompanied with strips of pecorino cheese, prosciutto or cubes of lardo.


Pane "Guttiau" -- Pane Carasau all'olio e pecorino

Condite le sfoglie di pane carasau con un pizzico di sale grosso e un giro d'olio, cospargendole di pecorino grattugiato, se gradito.  Ponetele in forno a 160 C per il tempo necessario a scaldarle senza gratinare il formaggio.  Un antipasto semplisiccimo e gustoso (qualcuno ama cospargelo di aghetti di rosmarino), da servire anche con listerelle di pecorino o cubetti di lardo o prosciutto.


From Wiki:
It is thin and crisp, usually in the form of a dish half a meter wide. It is made by taking baked flat bread (made of durum wheat flour, salt, yeast and water), then separating it into two sheets which are baked again. The recipe is very ancient and was conceived for shepherds, who used to stay far from home for months at a time. Pane carasau can last up to one year if it is kept dry. The bread can be eaten either dry or wet (with water, wine, or sauces).

A similar, yeast-free bread is called carta di musica in Italian, meaning music sheet, in reference to its large and paper-thin shape, which is so thin before cooking that a sheet of music can be read through it.

Remains of the bread were found in archeological excavations of nuraghi (traditional Sardinian stone buildings) and it was therefore already eaten on the island prior to 1000 BC.
The name of the bread comes from the Sardinian word “carasare”, referring to the crush of bread.
(Wiki: Pane_carasau)

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts, Ricotta Cheese and Slivered Almonds (Trofie con ricotta, carciofi e mandorle)

The picture of the pasta looked inviting.  It's located on page 103 in È Pronta by Benedetta Parodi.

I made fresh ricotta and the warm ricotta was delicious!

I would not make this recipe again. It's presentation was not very appetizing and the mix of ingredients was dull. I prefer to fry the artichoke hearts instead of the simmering method used in this recipe.  

Copied from David Lebovitz

2 quarts whole milk
1 C plain whole milk yogurt
½ C heavy cream (optional)
2 t white vinegar
1 t salt

In a large pot, bring the ingredients to a boil. 
Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.
Set a strainer over a deep bowl.
Pour milk mixture into the strainer.
Let drain for 15 minutes. (I prefer to leave some liquid with the ricotta.)

Best served slightly warm.  Can be refrigerated up to 3 days. 
It also freezes well.  I like to keep a tub ready in my freezer.

Makes 2 cups.

Pasta with Artichoke Hearts, Ricotta Cheese and Slivered Almonds
Serves 4

4 artichokes
50 gr sliced almonds, toasted
Olive Oil
Parsley, chopped (to taste)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half
Salt and pepper
250 gr trofie or other pasta
250 gr ricotta cheese
30 gr pecorino or parmigiana cheese, grated
Reserved pasta cooking water

Pull off the tough outer leaves off the artichokes, working with one at a time.
Cut the artichokes down to the choke and discard cut leaves.
Work to thinly slice the artichoke hearts.  Place slices into a bowl of water containing a sliced lemon. This will slow oxidation.

Begin cooking the pasta.

Heat 2 t olive oil in a pan.  Add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute.
Add the artichoke pieces to the garlic.  Add a little water and cover.  Cook over low heat until they are tender.  Watch the water level and don’t let them burn.  Add parsley and discard the garlic. 
In a bowl, combine the ricotta, salt, pepper and grated cheese. Add half the toasted almond slivers.

Drain cooked pasta, reserving a bit of its water.
Mix pasta with the artichokes and ricotta mixture.  Add pasta water to create a creamy sauce, mixing vigorously.

Plate pasta and top with toasted almonds.


Trofie con ricotta, carciofi e mandorle

Per 4 persone

4 carciofi
50 gr di mandorle
prezzemolo qb
2 spicchi d'aglio
250 gr di trofie
250 gr di ricotta
30 gr di pecorino
acqua di cottura qb

Tagliare i cuori di carciofo a fettine sottili, scaldare 2 cucchiai di olio in una padella a fuoco alto, unire l'aglio e farlo saltare per un minuto. Aggiungere i carciofi tagliati e farli rosolare. Lasciare cuocere coperto fino a che i carciofi saranno morbidi. Se necessario, aggiungere un po' di acqua calda durante la cottura. Una volta cotti, unire il prezzemolo e salare. In una ciotola mescolare ricotta, sale, pepe e pecorino, aggiungere anche l'olio rimasto. Tritare le mandorle grossolanamente al coltello e tostarle in una padella antiaderente.

Aggiungere una parte delle mandorle alla crema di ricotta. Cuocere la pasta al dente e scolarla tenendo da parte qualche cucchiaio di acqua di cottura. Unire la pasta agli ingredienti nella ciotola e in ultimo aggiungere i carciofi, con il loro fondo di cottura. Completare con altre mandorle e servire.

Baked Marinated Chicken and Ribs (Pollo e Costine allo sciroppo d'acero)

I'm finally able to blog again after losing my cousin Lynn to a terrible illness. I've made several items this month and am now catching up with pictures I took as I cooked.

This recipe, on page 234 of  È Pronta by Benedetta Parodi, called for both chicken and pork ribs. I had only the chicken in my fridge, but I went ahead with testing.

This chicken was good and crispy, although it took some planning, as it needed to marinate overnight. It has a Chinese flavor and appearance to me.  I would love to make this again, adding the pork ribs.

Bernedetta writes, this is meant to be eaten with the fingers.  She makes no suggestions for a accompaniment.  I would serve rice.

Marinated Chicken and Ribs

3 pork ribs
3 chicken thighs or legs
125 ml unsweetened apple juice
2 t maple syrup
1 t soy sauce
1 t sesame seed oil
3 cloves garlic
1 cinnamon stick
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Place all ingredients in a strong plastic freezer bag and let sit overnight in the fridge.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 F.  Place chicken and marinate in an oven-proof casserole dish.  Bake for one hour.  Baste occasionally.


Pollo  e Costine allo sciroppo d'acero
3 costine di maiale
3 cosce di pollo
125 ml di succo di mela non zuccherato
2 cucchiai di sciroppo d’acero
1 cucchiaio di salsa di soia
1 cucchiaio di olio di semi
3 spicchi di aglio
1 stecca di cannella
rosmarino qb

Mettere le costine e i pezzi di pollo nei sacchetti da freezer
Aggiungere tutti gli altri ingredienti, amalgamando bene il tutto, prima di chiudere i sacchetti e lasciare marinare in frigorifero per tutta la notte
Trascorso questo tempo, versare il contenuto dei sacchetti in una grande teglia (lasciando il pollo con il lato della pelle verso l’alto), mettere in forno e cuocere a 200° per circa 1 ora e un quarto.