Recipe Round Up: Cold Weather Comfort Food

In Italy, a gathering of great food, friends and family on a cold winter’s night is cause for good cheer.

Cooking with authentically Italian, seasonal foods makes a rich, hearty meal. In cooler weather, Italian ingredients further elevate the experience by heightening the taste and texture of comfort foods. And best of all, many of these meals can be prepared in advance so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your company. Here’s our selection of home-cooked classics:


ITA_Blog_Feb_RRU_ComfortFood


1. LENTICCHIE DI CASTELLUCCIO DI NORCIA PGI

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 ½ cups (500 g) Lentils (Lenticchie di Castelluccio di Norcia PGI)

  • 1 Celery stalk
  • 1 sprig Parsley
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Potato
  • 1 Tomato (Pomodoro S. Marzano)
  • (1 cup) 250 ml Water
  • 1 tbsp (30g) Italian Extra Virgin Oil
  • Salt, to taste

Preparation

  1. Prepare a vegetable broth using chopped celery, carrot, potato, onion, parsley and tomato (Pomodoro S. Marzano).
  2. In a pot, boil lentils (Lenticchie di Castelluccio di Norcia PGI) with a pinch of salt.
  3. Drain the lentils in a sieve and leave to stand for a few minutes. Add the lentils to the prepared vegetable broth.
  4. Garnish with Italian extra virgin olive oil.

2. PUFF PASTRY WITH FONTINA PDO CHEESE FONDUE

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 11 oz 300 g Fontina PDO cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) Milk
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • ½ cup (120 g) Butter
  • 8 Puff pastries
  • White pepper, to taste
  • 1 Small truffle (optional)

Preparation

  1. Cut the Fontina PDO cheese into cubes and cover with milk. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Then transfer the mixture to a terracotta casserole dish.
  2. Add egg yolks and butter before placing the casserole dish over a saucepan of boiling water, stirring carefully until it thickens but never bringing the mixture to a boil (about 5 to 8 minutes).
  3. When the mixture is creamy, remove from heat. Then carefully pour into the puff pastries.
  4. Sprinkle with a dash of pepper and small truffle slices.

3. RICOTTA WITH ARANCIA ROSSA DI SICILIA PGI

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 18 oz (500 g) Fresh Ricotta
  • ½ cup (100g) Sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • 5 tbsps Rum
  • 4-5 Oranges (Arancia rossa di Sicilia)
  • ¼ cup (30 g) Powdered sugar
  • ½ tbsp (5 ml) Cornstarch

Preparation

  1. Combine eggs with sugar. Whip until pale and add rum. Sieve the ricotta. Then add the ricotta little by little to the egg preparation, whisking slowly. Mix in the grated zest of 2 oranges.
  2. Line an 8 serving cupcake mould with wax paper. Fill with the preparation and level. Cover with a layer of wax paper. Place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  3. To prepare the sauce, press the oranges. Then, in a saucepan, combine the orange juice, powdered sugar and cornstarch, whisking until smooth. Cook on very low heat until sauce has thickened. Set aside and cool completely before serving.
  4. To serve, peel off the wax paper and unmould the cakes one by one onto a plate. Drizzle with orange sauce.

4. FARRO DELLA GARFAGNANA PGI CAKE 

Ingredients (serves 4 – 7)

  • 2 cups (400 g) Farro della Garfagnana (Italian spelt), cooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp (10 ml) 18% cream (half and half)
  • ½ cup (60 g) Grana Padano PDO cheese, grated
  • 1 or 2 bunches Radicchio
  • ¾ cups Montasio PDO cheese, grated
  • 1 2 cup (350 mL) Heavy cream
  • Authentic Italian extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, mix the cooked farro, the eggs, the cream, the grated Grana Padano PDO, a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 pre-buttered, wax paper-lined cake moulds.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at  200ºC (412ºF) for 20 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Slice the radicchio lengthwise; brush with Italian extra virgin olive oil and press on the grill.

Cheese Sauce

  1. Melt butter in saucepan or stockpot over medium heat
  2. Add heavy cream, stirring constantly.
  3. Slowly stir in the Montasio PDO cheese.
  4. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, let the cheese sauce cool, allowing it to thicken. Then, starting from the centre, spoon it onto a plate until it is covered but not overflowing. Unmould the farro cakes one by one onto the sauce. Garnish with the radicchio.
Meet the Chef: Alida Solomon
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