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Italian English

JUL'S RECIPES

Giulia Scarpaleggia, Tuscan cooking class instructor, food blogger, food writer and food photographer, 33 years old, from Colle Val d'Elsa (Siena).

She opened her food blog, Julskitchen.com, in February 2009.

At the beginning of 2012 she started working as a full time food blogger, freelance food writer and cooking class instructor.

Her first book, I love Toscana, Food Editore, was published in December 2012, and you can find it in Italian and in English.

In September 2013 she won the Macchianera Food Award as best Italian foodblogger.

In September 2014 her second cookbook, Cucina da chef con ingredienti low cost, BUR, was published.

Jul's Kitchen

RCR plates and chargers with roasted chicken with citrus and fennel


Ingredients for 2 people

600 g of chicken, cut into pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
A few juniper berries
2 fennels
4 clementines, sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Extra virgin olive oil  

Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and drizzle it with the lemon and orange juice. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and the crushed juniper berries. Leave it to marinate for about half an hour, in the meantime heat the oven to 200°C.
When the oven is hot, place the chicken in a large pan with the fennel bulbs cut into wedges, the slices of clementines and a few sprigs of thyme.
Arrange the chicken, fennel and clementines in a single layer to grant an even roasting, then drizzle with the marinade and a generous glug of olive oil.
Roast the chicken for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and the fennel nicely caramelized.

Serve immediately.


Persimmon mousse in Enigma bowls


Ingredients

3 ripe persimmons
100 g of hazelnuts
500 ml of cream
100 g of chocolate cookies
Cinnamon powder



Scoop the persimmon flesh into a blender, then add the hazelnuts and pulse until thick and smooth.
With a spatula, transfer the persimmon and hazelnut paste into a bowl.
Whip the cream into soft peaks, then gently fold it into the persimmon and hazelnut paste.
Fill the glasses or cups with the persimmon mousse and decorate it with crushed chocolate cookies and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.


Two Tiered Serving Plates with Chocolate muffins with red berries


Ingredients for 12 muffins

3 eggs
190 g of sugar
80 g butter, melted
125 g of whole white yogurt
200 g of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
10 g of baking powder
Seeds of ½ vanilla pod  

Ingredients for the mascarpone frosting

100 g of whipping cream
100 g of mascarpone
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
Red berries  

Whip the eggs with the sugar until pale, then stir in the melted butter and yogurt.
Now sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and vanilla seeds and add them to the batter, stirring just enough to mix everything.
Divide the batter into 12 muffin moulds lined with baking cups and bake in the hot oven (180°C) for about 25 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Now prepare the mascarpone frosting: whip together mascarpone, cream, icing sugar and cocoa powder until stiff.
When the muffins are cold, frost them with the mascarpone frosting and decorate with red berries.
You can keep the muffins in the fridge until time to serve them.


Ricotta, smoked salmon and zucchini blossom ravioli in Sunbeam plate


Serves 4  

Ingredients for the pasta dough
100 g plain flour
100 g semolina flour
1 pinch of alt
1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 medium eggs  

Ingredients for the filling
250 g of fresh ricotta
150 g of zucchini flowers
100 g of smoked salmon
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Black pepper  

Ingredients for the seasoning
60 g of butter
Fresh thyme    

Sift the tender wheat flour with the semolina flour, pour them on a wooden board or a large working surface and make a well in the middle.
Break in the eggs and add a good pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil.
Mix the flour and the eggs with a fork until crumbly, then knead the dough, adding cold water if needed. After a while the dough should have the right consistency: smooth, velvety and no longer sticky.
Wrap it in plastic film and let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Now prepare the filling. Clean the zucchini flowers, quickly sauté them with extra virgin olive oil. Let them cool down and mix with ricotta and finely chopped salmon. Season with salt and pepper.
Now roll out the dough. The most important thing, whether you’re using a classic long rolling pin or a pasta machine, is to roll it over and over again, rolling and stretching it as much as you can.
Make a paper thin wide sheet of pasta.
Put little mounds of filling – about one teaspoon each - at regular intervals onto the strips. Cover with another sheet of pasta and press gently with your fingers all around the filling, to seal it. With a scalloped pastry cutter cut the ravioli. Put the ravioli onto a floured tray in one layer.
To cook the ravioli bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt the water and pour a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in it: this will prevent ravioli from sticking to each other.
Cook ravioli in batches, according to the size of the pot.
When they rise to top, which will be in less than 5 minutes, remove them gently with a large slotted spoon and place them on a large deep plate.
Melt a knob of butter in a small pan with fresh thyme. Pour the brown butter and the thyme over the ravioli and serve immediately.


Galassia plate with Crespelle


Ingredients for the crespelle
2 eggs
2 heaping tablespoons flour (about 60 g)
1 pinch salt
200 ml whole milk  

Ingredients for the filling
250 g spinach, cooked and drained
150 g fresh ricotta cheese
1 egg
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 pinch salt Grated nutmeg  

Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

50 g butter
60 g flour
500 ml milk
1 pinch salt Grated nutmeg  

For garnish

Grated Parmesan cheese
Tomato sauce
Butter  

Make the pancake batter a bit in advance and leave it to stand for at least half an hour.
Beat the eggs with salt and flour avoiding any lumps, then incorporates the milk in a thin stream.
For the filling of the pancakes, chop the spinach with a sharp knife and mix them in a bowl with the mashed ricotta, the grated Parmigiano, a pinch of nutmeg and salt.
Taste the spinach and ricotta filling to check if it is savoury enough and eventually stir in a beaten egg.
Now make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan. When melted spoon in the flour and whisk for a few minutes until golden and toasted.
Pour in the cold milk in a thin stream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.
Let cook the béchamel sauce for a few minutes until thickened and season with a good pinch of salt and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease with a knob of butter a 14 cm wide non-stick frying pan, heat it on medium flame and cook the crespelle for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown (use about 3 tablespoons of batter to make 7 to 8 pancakes).
Spread each pancake with the spinach and ricotta filling and roll them up.
Put the crespelle in a baking dish previously spread with a few tablespoons of béchamel sauce.
Drizzle the crespelle with the left béchamel sauce, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, more grated Parmigiano and a few knobs of butter.
Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on the sides.
Eat the crespelle warm just out of the oven, or warm them the day after with a dash of milk.


The festive meat sauce for tortelli in Medici plate


Ingredients

1 red onion
2 large carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
20 g of butter
100 g of mixed dried mushrooms
300 f of ground pork
700 g of ground beef
1 and ½ tablespoons of salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 glass of red wine
1,5 l of tomato purée  

Cover with extra virgin olive oil the bottom of a heavy large pan and add in the butter and the chopped vegetables. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Pay attention not to overcook the vegetables: they should get lightly golden and soft.
Soak the mushrooms in a cup of hot water until soft.
Add into the meat and sauté on a medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to break up any meat lumps. Stir continuously to let the meat cook evenly and mix it to the chopped vegetables. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the moisture from the meat has evaporated. Scrape the bottom of the pan with the wooden spoon while stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in the red wine, bit by bit, not all at once. Grandma recommended to add it in three times, stirring with the wooden spoon and letting it evaporate before pouring the remaining wine. You'll need about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, stirring thoroughly to mix it with the meat. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then add in the squeezed and finely chopped mushrooms and the strained mushrooms water.
Partially cover and simmer for at least 1 hour and a half. Stir frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking.
It will be ready when it will be covered by a few spots of grease.


Greek salad in D’O plate by RCR


Fresh and colourful, like summer in a dish, the Greek salad is a quick dinner to be enjoyed in the garden with a group of friends.  

Ingredients for 4 people
4 ripe tomatoes
2 cucumbers
1 red onion
200 g of feta cheese
4 tablespoons pitted
black olives
Dried oregano
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil  

Wash the tomatoes, cut them into pieces and remove the seeds. Collect all the tomatoes into a plate.
Peel and slice the cucumbers and add them to the tomatoes. Thinly slice the onion and scatter it on top of the tomatoes, then add the olives.
Crumble the feta with your hands over the vegetables. Dress with extra virgin olive oil, salt and dried oregano, and finished with some basil leaves.
Let sit at room temperature for about ten minutes before serving.


Summer farro salad in Galassia and Medici plates by RCR


Serves 6  

Ingredients
250 g of spelt
5 green zucchini
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1/2 glass of vinegar
1 teaspoon of coarse salt
1 tomato
2 tablespoons pitted green olives
2 tablespoons pitted black olives
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of mint
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt Freshly ground black pepper  

Cook the spelt in boiling salted water for about 25 minutes and drain it al dente.
Cool the spelt under cold running water and set aside.
Cut zucchini, carrots and celery into small cubes and blanch in a pot of boiling water with vinegar and salt for about 5 minutes.
Drain the vegetables and cool them under cold water.
Scoop the spelt into a bowl and add the vegetables, the chopped tomatoes, the sliced ??olives and the basil and mint, torn with your hands.
Season the spelt salad with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, toss well and leave in the fridge for a few hours so that the flavour will mingle.


Choux pastries with whipped cream and raspberries in Galassia plate


Ingredients to make the choux pastries
50 g of extra virgin olive oil
100 g of water
100 g of flour
3 eggs + 1 to brush

Ingredients to fill the choux pastries
500 ml fresh cream
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
100 of fresh raspberries  

Pour water and olive oil in a small non-stick saucepan, bring it to the boil. As soon as it starts bubbling add the flour in one go. Toast the flour for about five minutes, beating constantly and vigorously with a wooden spoon, until you have a golden ball of dough that will leave the sides of the saucepan clean.
Remove from the stove, transfer into a bowl and let it cool slightly. After a few minutes add the beaten eggs and whip with an electric beater for about five minutes, until smooth, glossy and thick.
Heat the oven to 200°C and line a tray with parchment paper. Using a pastry bag form walnut size choux pastries onto the lined baking tray. You should obtain about 20 choux pastries.
Brush them with a beaten egg. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up.
Remove from the oven and let them cool down. Whip the cream into soft peaks with the icing sugar.
Crush the raspberries with a fork and fold them into the cream. Fill the choux pastries and dust with icing sugar.
Serve immediately.  


RCR plate Medici with gnocchi and asparagus


To make the gnocchi:

  • 1 kg (2,2 lb) of potatoes
  • 200 (7,05 oz) g of potato starch + that to form the gnocchi
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Nutmeg
For the dressing:
  • 1 kg (2,2 lb) of asparagus
  • 4 spring onions
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Semi aged Tuscan pecorino
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  Make the gnocchi
  1. Choose potatoes of the same size: we are going to leave them whole while boiling, to prevent them from absorbing too much water. This will assure equal cooking times. Rinse the potatoes under running water to remove all traces of dirt and collect them in a large pot. Cover with cold water and put them on the fire, cooking them over medium heat until you can easily pierce a potato with a knife.
  2. Drain the potatoes, cool them under running water and peel them, then mash with a potato masher or a ricer, and collect the mashed potatoes on a wooden board.
  3. Knead the potatoes with a fork with a beaten egg, add a generous pinch of salt and a some grated nutmeg: it should give a remote nutmeg smell to the potatoes. Slowly knead in the potato starch until it has been completely absorbed.
  4. Clean the wooden board with a scraper and, with clean hands lightly dusted with potato starch, roll the dough into thin sausages, which then will be cut into chunks. Roll every chunk of dough in between your hands to form a gnocco, which will be slightly larger than a hazelnut.
  5. Arrange the gnocchi on a cutting board dusted with potato starch: you can eat them now or store them in the refrigerator for a few hours at most.
Make the dressing for the gnocchi
  1. Clean the asparagus, remove the woody ends and keep aside the tops. Slice the asparagus stalks ??into thin rounds. Thinly slice the spring onions up until the end. Do not discard the green part but use it as well.
  2. Gather in a pan sliced asparagus and spring onions, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and cook over medium-low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  3. After about ten minutes also add the asparagus tips and bring to the set boil a large pot to cook the gnocchi.
  4. Cook the asparagus for another ten minutes, adding a few tablespoons of cooking water if they tend to dry out.
  5. Cook the gnocchi in boiling water in batches. As soon as they float to the top fish them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them into the pan with the asparagus and spring onions.
  6. Sauté the gnocchi for a minute to blend them with the sauce, add a sprig of parsley and some chopped chives and finished with a few slivers of pecorino. Serve immediately.


World’s Best and Panna cotta with blueberries


Ingredients for 6 cups
500 ml fresh cream
100 ml of fresh whole milk
1 vanilla bean
50 g of sugar
13 g of gelatine sheets

For blueberries
100 g of blueberries
1 tablespoon of sugar
50 ml of red wine

Soak the gelatine in cold water for about 10 minutes. Pour cream and milk in a saucepan, add sugar and vanilla seeds scraped with a knife. Warm cream and milk until they begin to simmer. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the gelatine to remove excess water and add it to the saucepan. Stir to dissolve the gelatine. Pour the cream into glasses and leave in the fridge until the next day. Cook the blueberries on low flame with sugar and red wine until syrupy. Let cool completely before scooping over the panna cotta.


World's Best with zabaglione


Ingredients for 4 people
4 egg yolks
4 scant tablespoons of sugar
4 half shells of marsala (sweet wine)
Crack the eggs open pur the egg yolks in a saucepan. Add the sugar and pour in the sweet wine. Wisk the egg yolks until evenly mixed, then put the saucepan on the stove on a double boiler: it is important to control the temperature as not to cook the egg yolks too suddenly. Beat the egg yolks with a whisk until they become pale, frothy and thick, you’ll need patience. If you have a cooking thermometer, your zabaglione is ready when it will go over 70 ° C. Serve the zabaglione into individual glasses with cookies.


Happy butternut squas and sausage puff pastry rolls


Serves 6
400 g of butternut squash
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg
450 g of puff pastry
2 fresh sausages

Preheat oven to 180 ° C. Wash the squash under running water to remove any traces of soil, then remove the seeds and slice it into 2 cm thick slices. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush it with extra virgin olive oil. Arrange the squash slices onto the baking sheet and season with a pinch of salt, nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Roast the squash for at least 30 minutes, until golden and almost caramelized on the edges, then let it cool down slightly. Roll out the puff pastry, then blend the roasted squash with the fresh sausages. Spread the squash and sausage mixture onto the puff pastry and roll it on itself on the longer side.
Cut the log into 2 cm thick rolls, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 200 ° C for about 20 minutes.
Serve them warm as an appetizer.


Happy finger food and eggplant meatballs


Serves 4 to 6 people
1 eggplant
450 g of ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 sprig of mint
1 sprig of catmint
1 bunch of parsley
Salt Pepper
1 tablespoon of black olives
pitted Flour
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 180 ° C.
Cut the eggplant lengthwise, and carve it with a crisscross with a sharp knife on the cut side, then season it with extra virgin oil, salt and pepper.
Roast the eggplant in the oven for about 45 minute, until it is soft and well cooked. Remove it from the oven and scoop out the roasted pulp with a spoon.
Chop the eggplant pulp with a knife and reduce it into small pieces, then mix everything with the ground beef, a beaten egg, chopped fresh herbs, chopped olives and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and black pepper. With wet hands, shape the meatballs in the size of a walnut then roll them in flour.
Fry the meatballs in olive oil for a few minutes until they are golden on both sides.


Riflessi Bicolour small bowls and Peach and prosecco sorbet


Ingredients
Riflessi Bicolour small bowls
400 g of chopped nectarines, peeled and stone removed
100 g of cane sugar
100 g of water
2 sprigs of lemon balm
50 g of prosecco

Peel the nectarines, remove the stone and chop them in a bowl. Pour into a saucepan water and sugar, add the sprigs of lemon balm and bring to a gentle boil until the sugar dissolves and becomes a syrup. Remove the sprigs of lemon balm and pour the sugar syrup in a blender with the chopped nectarines. Blend until smooth, then stash it in the fridge for a few hours until completely cold.
When it is ready, pour it into the ice cream maker and follow maker's directions.
When the sorbet has the right texture, serve it immediately or transfer it in a Tupperware and place it in the freezer until ready to serve in the beautiful Riflessi Bicolour small bowls!


Riflessi and panzanella


La panzanella – Bread salad
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
300 g of stale Tuscan bread
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 fresh onion
Basil
Salt
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine vinegar
Tear the bread into large pieces, put it in a large bowl and soak it with water.
They used to make panzanella with leftover homemade baked bread: it had a very different and better flavour and took a lot of time to soak up.
Slice thinly the onion and soak it in cold water, to shade its strong taste. Chop the tomatoes and slice the cucumber.
After 10 minutes, when the bread is soft, squeeze it, crumble it with your hands, put it in a large bowl and dress it with the well drained onion, the chopped tomato, the sliced cucumber and the fresh basil, torn roughly with your hand.
Season with salt and drizzle generously with of extra virgin olive oil, then pour a small quantity of white wine vinegar. If you prefer a more delicate vinegar, opt for an apple cider vinegar.
Set aside for half an hour in the fridge, then it’s ready to be eaten.


Invino small tumbler and Strawberry muffins


Ingredients for 12 muffins
Dry ingredients:
200 g of unbleached flour
100 g of caster sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
Grated zest of one organic lemon
200 g of fresh strawberries
Liquid ingredients:
125 ml of plain whole yogurt
100 g of melted butter
1 egg
Heat oven to 200°C, fan assisted. Stir all the dry ingredients but the strawberries in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk the yogurt with the melted butter and a beaten egg. Now pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and fold gently until you have a smooth batter. Finally add the chopped strawberries. Line 12 muffin tins with baking paper or paper cups, fill them with the strawberry batter and bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, until golden and well puffed.


CRYSTAL WISHES and Potato and artichoke tortelli


Ingredients for 4 people
Fresh pasta ingredients
150 g tender wheat flour
150 g durum wheat semolina flour
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 medium eggs
Cold water
 Ingredients for the filling
300 g of potatoes
2 tablespoons of grated pecorino cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 artichokes
Fresh ginger
Salt
Black pepper
Sift the tender wheat flour with the semolina flour, pour them on a wooden board or a large working surface and make a well in the middle. Break in the eggs and add a good pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix the flour and the eggs with a fork until crumbly, then knead the dough, adding cold water if needed.
After a while the dough should have the right consistency: smooth, velvety and no longer sticky. Wrap it in plastic film and let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Boil or steam the potatoes, let cool and then mash, mixing with the grated pecorino cheese. Season the filling with salt and pepper to taste. Clean the artichokes, cut them in think slices and cook them with the olive oil and some grated fresh ginger until tender. Add them to the potato and mix in a beaten egg, too.
Roll out long strips of pasta, about 10 cm wide. Lay them on a floured tablecloth. Put little mounds of potato filling – about one teaspoon each - at regular intervals onto the strips. Cover with another sheet of pasta and press gently with your fingers all around the filling, to seal it. With a scalloped pastry cutter cut the tortelli. Put the tortelli on to a floured tray in one layer.

To cook the tortelli bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt the water and pour a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in it: this will prevent tortelli from sticking to each other. Cook the tortelli in batches, according to the size of the pot. When they rise to top, which will be in about 5 minutes, remove them gently with a large slotted spoon and place them on a large deep plate.
Season them as you prefer, they are excellent with a traditional meat sauce or with a simple butter and sage dressing.


Happy finger food for dark chocolate truffles with coffee liqueur


Ingredients:
200 g of dark chocolate
100 ml of cream
2 tablespoons of coffee liqueur
60 g of butter
50 g of unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon of ground coffee

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler with cream. As soon as it is melt and smooth remove from the heat and stir in the coffee liqueur. Add the cold butter cut into cubes and whisk to dissolve. Transfer the chocolate in a bowl and let it cool in the fridge for a few hours or better until the next day. When the chocolate is completely cold prepare the cocoa and mix it with the ground coffee. Using a teaspoon make many hazelnut size truffles: dust your hands with cocoa and shape them round, then dust the truffles again with cocoa. Arrange the truffles on a dish sprinkled with cocoa powder and keep them in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.


Happy small bowls with greek yoghurt with honey and pistachios


Happy entertainment! When friends are invited to dinner at the last minute we have always the time to prepare a pudding refined, vaguely oriental scents.

Happy small bowls are the perfect container. They will cool in the time of the dinner, and you can decorate it however you like.

Serves 2:

300 g of Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of rose syrup

2 tablespoons of shelled walnuts

1 tablespoon of unsalted pistachios, shelled

1 teaspoon dried rose petals  

Stir the yogurt with honey and rose syrup until they are perfectly blended. Add the chopped walnuts and stir again, then scoop the yoghurt into two Happy small bowls. Let it set in the fridge for at least one hour. Before serving sprinkle with chopped pistachios and rose petals and a drizzle with honey.


Flute Graffiti and rice croquettes


Ingredients for 6 people

1 shallot

30 g of butter

200 g of Carnaroli rice

250 g of tomato sauce, diluted with ¼ cup warm water

Salt

3 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1 egg

  To make the croquettes: Bread crumbs 1 egg 500 ml of peanut oil   Chop the shallot, add it the pan with butter and let it cook until it softens. Add the rice and toast it for a few minutes, stirring, until it becomes translucent. Pour in the tomato sauce and cook the rice, stirring often. Eventually season with salt, then add the grated Parmigiano and a beaten egg. Stir to mix. Leave it to cool completely, then with wet hands shape the ice into walnut size balls. Coat every rice croquette with egg wash and breadcrumbs. Deep fry the rice croquettes in hot peanut oil for a few minutes, until golden brown. Leave them to drain the excess oil on a plate lined with some kitchen paper.

Serve the croquettes hot or warm with a sprinkling of salt flakes.


Calice Invino e lasagne al pesto!


Servings: 6

Ingredients for fresh pasta
100 g of semolina flour
100 g of tender wheat flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of salt

Ingredients for béchamel sauce
100 g of butter
120 g of tender wheat flour
1 l of whole milk
1 pinch of salt
Grated nutmeg

200 g of basil pesto, softened with a few tablespoons of hot water
100 g of almond, finely chopped, plus a few whole

Sift the tender wheat flour with the semolina flour, pour them on a wooden board or a large working surface and make a well in the middle. Break in the eggs and add a good pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix the flour and the eggs with a fork until crumbly, then knead the dough, adding cold water if needed.
Keep on kneading, more and more, as to develop the gluten which will give strength to the sheets of pasta. Just do as when you knead the bread: hold it with one hand while you roll it from you with the other, with the heel of the palm.
After a while the dough should have the right consistency: smooth, velvety and no longer sticky. Wrap it in plastic film and let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Now roll the dough. The most important thing, whether you’re using a classic long rolling pin or a pasta machine, is to roll it over and over again, rolling and stretching it as much as you can. Make a paper thin wide sheet of pasta.
Leave the pasta sheets for 30 minutes on a tablecloth dusted with semolina flour.
Make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir continuously with a fork or whisk until amber coloured and toasted. Pour the milk in a thin stream, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Stir until the sauce is thick, it will take a few minutes, then season with salt and grated nutmeg. Now make the lasagna. Alternate layers of fresh pasta, béchamel sauce, pesto and finely chopped almonds.
End with with a thick layer of béchamel sauce, then top with a sprinkling of chopped almonds, some almond slivers and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Heat oven to 200°C and bake your lasagna for about 20-25 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling on the edges and the surface is golden and crisp.



Chestnut shortbread cookies


Chestnut shortbread cookies

In Tuscany we produce a great chestnut flour.
We can use it, as well as in classic recipes such as chestnut cake and necci, to make small shortbread cookies with pine nuts. Serve them with a cup of tea in the cold winter afternoons.

Makes about 36 cookies:

120 g of butter at room temperature
35 g of powdered sugar
20 g of eggs*
100 g plain flour
100 g of chestnut flour
20 g of pine nuts

Whisk the butter with the icing sugar with an electric mixer.
Add the egg and when it is absorbed mix in the two sifted flour.
Knead the dough just enough to form a soft ball.
Wrap it in plastic film and put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
After an hour, remove it from the fridge, knead the dough quickly with your hands to soften it and roll it out with the help of some rice flour and a rolling pin in 5 mm thick sheet.
Cut out the cookies using your favourite cookie-cutter and gently press a few pine nuts on each cookie.
Preheat oven to 180°C, then bake the cookies nicely laid out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 15 minutes. Let them cool before dusting with icing sugar.

* It's about 1/3 of a beaten egg.

 You can even double the quantity of the ingredients to make more cookies: in this case use a whole beaten egg.


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