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)

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