Buon gusto: the table is set and our vita is definitely looking more dolce
Sublime sustenance with these festive winter recipes, as originally featured in our December 2018 Entertaining Special issue (W*237)
Mushroom dischi volanti
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, then drain and set aside, reserving a cupful of the cooking liquid. Heat a large pan over a medium flame. Add the oil and the garlic and cook for a minute, stirring to prevent the garlic from browning, Add the mushrooms, season well with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 8 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with two tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid, the crème fraîche, and half the grated parmesan. Toss well together, season if necessary and serve with the remaining parmesan scattered on top.
Pappardelle with wild boar ragù
Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a heavy pan or casserole over a medium to high flame. Fry the meat until nicely browned on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the same pan and fry the pancetta for a few minutes until nicely browned and the fat rendered. Add the onion and carrots, then cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft and golden. Add the garlic, juniper and bay leaves, then cook for another couple of minutes. Return the meat to the pan and add the wine, chopped tomatoes, purée and thyme. Bring to a simmer, then cover loosely with a lid and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water, then drain. Gently toss the pasta and sauce together and serve with grated parmesan.
Crostini toasts, edamame and rocket crostini and mozzarella and tomato crostini
Heat the oven to 180°c. Brush the bread slices lightly with oil on both sides. Arrange on a large baking sheet and place in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and lightly rub each piece with the garlic clove.
Cook the edamame beans in boiling, salted water for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Drain and cool. Place in a food processor with the garlic and process to a rough paste. Transfer to a bowl, then add the olive oil, lemon juice, rocket and parmesan, and mix together well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more lemon juice if necessary. Spread on the crostini toasts and serve.
Place a tomato slice on a crostini toast, followed by a mozzarella slice, then another tomato slice. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil. Add a basil leaf to serve.
Line the base and sides of a 21-23cm shallow, round baking tin with edible rice paper. Put the nuts in a large frying pan and toast over a medium flame for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Heat the oven to 160°C. Place the nuts and dried fruit in a large bowl. Sift in the 120g of flour and the cocoa, then add the spices, salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Stir well to combine. Put the sugar and honey in a pan set over a medium flame and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat a little and allow the mixture to bubble for a few minutes, then pour it over the nut mixture and mix thoroughly. Spoon into the tin and level the surface with a spoon. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour and press down, using the base of a heavy jar, to make the surface flat. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool, then dust with icing sugar. Serve in slices.
Measure the spirits into a jigger. Stir well, pour over ice in a glass and serve with a slice of orange.
Risotto Milanese with scallops
Melt the oil and half the butter in a large heavy pan set over a medium flame. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until soft and golden. Meanwhile, put the stock and the saffron in another pot and bring to a simmer. Add the rice to the onion and stir well. Pour in the wine and stir until almost completely absorbed. Add a ladleful of the simmering stock and stir gently until almost completely absorbed. Continue in this way for about 25 minutes until all the stock has been added, or until the risotto is soft and creamy but still with a little bite. Stir in the rest of the butter and the parmesan. To cook the scallops, first season them with salt and pepper. Place a large heavy frying pan over a medium to high flame. Heat the butter and oil and cook the scallops for about 2 minutes on each side. Do this in two batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding the pan. Spoon the risotto onto plates, place the scallops on top and serve immediately.
Place each chicken breast between two sheets of baking paper, then bash and flatten the meat until it is about ½cm thick. Put the garlic in a pestle and mortar with half a teaspoon of salt and crush to a paste. Add the thyme leaves and pound into the garlic paste. Add the lemon zest and juice, olive oil and a good grinding of black pepper, and mix well. Place a flattened chicken breast in a wide, shallow dish, pour over some of the marinade, then turn the chicken so that both sides are well coated. Place another piece of chicken on top and continue in the same way with the chicken and marinade until it is all well coated. Cover and chill for a couple of hours. Heat a pan over a high heat and cook each piece of chicken for 1-2 minutes on each side.
Romanesco with chilli and garlic
Cook the romanesco florets in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 3-5 minutes until just tender, then drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan set over a medium flame. Add the garlic and chilli, then cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the romanesco and toss in the hot oil for another 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and squeeze over the lemon juice.
To make the marzipan, place the pistachios and almonds in a food processor and chop finely. Add the icing sugar and process well. With the motor running, add the food colouring and enough of the egg white to just bring the mixture to a smooth dough. Wrap and set aside.
To make the sponge cake, line a 21-24cm springform deep cake tin with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180°c. Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, mix well, then set aside. Break the five eggs into another bowl, add the reserved yolk, the sugar and the orange zest, then beat on high speed for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour mixture and spoon the batter into the prepared tin. Smooth the top, then bake for 30 minutes until well risen and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.
To make the filling, put 100g of the caster sugar in a bowl with the ricotta, vanilla and ground cinnamon, and beat well, ensuring the sugar is completely dissolved. Fold in the chocolate and candied fruit, then leave to chill in the fridge. To make the syrup, put the remaining 50g of caster sugar in a small pan with 30ml water and bring to a simmer over a medium to high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat, stir in the Grand Marnier and set aside.
Cut the sponge cake into 1cm-thick slices across the diameter. Line a 21-24cm cassata mould, tarte tatin tin or pie dish with sloping sides with clingfilm. Roll out the marzipan on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, to about a ½cm thickness. Slice the marzipan into strips and use these to line the sides of the cassata mould, smoothing and flattening them where they overlap. Line the base and sides of the cassata mould with cake strips, cutting them to fit. Brush the cake surface generously with some of the syrup. Spoon in the ricotta filling and smooth the top.
Cover the ricotta filling with more cake slices and brush with the remaining syrup. Wrap tightly with clingfilm and chill for 2 hours. Combine the icing sugar with enough lemon juice, added gradually, to make a smooth, thick glaze. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Pour the glaze over the cake to cover evenly. Decorate with glacé fruits and chill until set, for at least 2 hours, or overnight. §
As originally featured in the December 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*237)