We take a closer look at the hearty recipes served at Italian chef Riccardo Gaspari and his wife Ludovica’s farmyard barn (featured in our January issue). They were all originally conceived for the couple’s family restaurant, El Brite de Lariato, in northern Italy. They are the perfect dishes for winter feasts.
Polenta Taragna dumpling with mixed vegetables and cheese
1) In a pot, bring 1.6 litres of water to a boil, salt it and sprinkle in 500g of Taragna flour (a mix of flours containing buckwheat), mixing it with a whisk to avoid lumps. Cook for one hour, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, slice two courgettes, two carrots, one leek, 200g of pumpkin pulp without the seeds and 200g green beans and pan-fry with four tablespoons of oil for 10 minutes. Shave the cheese. Clean the mushrooms, cutting the biggest in half, and pan-fry them with two tablespoons of oil and some sage leaves, until crispy. Add salt to taste. Melt the butter and keep it warm.
2) Mix half of the pan-fried vegetables in a pot. Put one sixth of the Taragna polenta mix at the centre of a dampened napkin, close it and squeeze it to form a big dumpling. Open the napkin and place the dumpling in a dish. Quickly make the rest of the dumplings. Garnish them with the remaining mushrooms and vegetables.
Red beetroot canderli
1) Blend the 150g of boiled beetroot, pour it in a fine mesh strainer and let it drain for about two hours.
2) Cut 600g of stale bread into small cubes, soak them in 100ml of milk and let them rest for 10 minutes.
3) Sauté one small chopped shallot in the butter, add the beetroot and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Let the flavours blend for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it cool down. Add the bread to the red beetroot and mix it using your hands, adding three eggs and making the mixture compact to create canederli (dumplings). Cook in salty boiling water for two minutes and, after the dumplings start floating, drain them.
3) Warm 200ml of cream and blend it with two tablespoons of horseradish, sift it, pour it in the dishes and put the canederli on top.
Pumpkin pies with very mature Latteria cheese cream
1) Slice 600g pumpkin pulp (without the seeds)and cook in the oven at 160° C for 30 minutes. Blend it with eight dry amaretto biscuits, 40g of grated parmesan cheese, 40g grated bread, 40g cream and four eggs. Butter six metal molds and pour in the mix. Cook in a bain-marie at 150° C for 40 minutes.
2) In the meanwhile, grate 200g latteria cheese, mix it with 120ml of milk and let it rest for one hour. Melt it in a bain-marie with a knob of butter and add pepper. Then, pour the fondue in the dishes and put the pies upside down on it. If you wish, you can garnish them with oven-dried pumpkin slices.
Porcini mushroom caps with cheese cream
1) Cut 200g of latteria cheese into small cubes and soften it in 100ml of milk for a couple of hours. Clean six big porcini mushrooms caps, removing a thin layer of spores (under the cap) if too ripe. Cut them in half and slice one half of each cap keeping the other half whole. Heat up four tablespoons of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and cook the half caps and the slices for a few minutes until golden. Add a little bit of salt.
2) Melt the cheese in a bain-marie, adding a bit of milk if it’s too thick. Add one egg yolk and warm it without making it boil. Pour the fondue mix into bowls, fan out the half caps and the slices on it, garnish with the shavings of one small black truffle and, if you wish, with curly parsley and chives.
Cabbage and potato rolls with a celery and nut pesto sauce
1) Strip off the outer leaves of a cabbage and remove the central rib, then blanch the leaves for two minutes in salted boiling water. Run them under very cold water. Remove the core from the cabbage, cut it in pieces, boil it for 10 minutes and drain it. Peel four potatoes, cut them in pieces and boil them in the water you used for the cabbage. Drain them and let them cool down.
2) Chop and brown one onion in a pan with four tablespoons of oil. Sauté it, add a squirt of vinegar and a ladle of water and cook it until the liquid is absorbed. Add the cabbage pieces, salt and flavor with one tablespoon of kummel liquor. Take out three tablespoons of the preparation and blend it with two tablespoons of water until you obtain a smooth cream.
3) Put the potatoes in the pan. Squash half of them, keeping the rest whole. Keep cooking the vegetables until they become darker, then turn the heat off.
4) Meanwhile, wash the celery leaves without drying them, break one slice of dark bread (possibly puccia, a typical cumin bread from the Alto Adige area) into pieces and finely blend them together with a bunch of thyme, two to three tablespoons of water and the onion and cabbage cream previously prepared. Add two tablespoons of oil and salt.
5) Put six cabbage leaves one on top of the other, slightly overlapping them, and form a 18 x 30 cm rectangle. Prepare another rectangle with the remaining leaves. Spread the potatoes and cabbage stuffing on the rectangles and roll the leaves. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Slice the roll. Heat up a large non-stick pan, add three tablespoons of oil, lay the roll slices in the pan and brown them with the thyme on both sides. Serve the roll slices with celery pesto sauce.
1) For the base, blend 70g of butter, 50g of sugar, 60g of brown sugar and 40g of flour until they form big crumbs. Put the mixture in a bowl, then cut 10 unshelled nuts into pieces and add them to the mix. Cover it and put it in the fridge.
2) Rinse and dry 500g blueberries. Lightly flour them. Whip the butter and 150g sugar with an electric whisk, add salt and the zest of half a lemon. When the butter becomes soft, add two eggs (one at a time). Sift the 260g of flour with two teaspoons of baking powder, one tablespoon of baking soda and a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon and add it to the mixture, alternating it with 120ml of buttermilk (or half yoghurt, half water).
3) Add half of the blueberries and pour the mix in a springform cake pan covered with parchment paper. Spread the rest of the blueberries and the cold crumb on top, dividing it into pieces
using your hands. Oven cook for about one hour at 180° C.
Red wine pears with mountain ricotta cream
1) Peel three ripe and solid Williams pears, cut them in half and remove the core. Put 750ml of red wine in a saucepan and bring it to a boil with 280g of sugar. Add the pears and cook them for 10-15 minutes, until soft (check with a toothpick). Drain them and reduce the wine to 1/3, until it becomes like a syrup.
2) Mix 150ml of milk and 150g ricotta cheese in a casserole and warm without boiling (do not go over 60° C), then add one tablespoon of honey and blend. Serve the cold pears with the wine syrup and a tablespoon of ricotta cream. You can garnish the dish with some cranberries.