Nothing beats a delicious (and easy) apple cake. In Italy, the torta di mele is a staple. Italians eat this cake for dessert… and for breakfast! Yum.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 20-30 min
1.3 C flour
.4 C butter
.6 C sugar
1.3 C milk
1.5 packets of yeast (25 g)
pinch of salt
zest of lemon
Begin by melting the butter in warmed milk on the stove.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and salt together.
Then slowly add warmed milk and butter mixture to the egg mixture.
Next add flour and then the yeast.
Pour cake batter into a 9” greased round cake pan.
Peel and thinly slice apples. Place slices in circular pattern in the cake batter.
Bake at 340F until done.
This dish requires a little bit of elbow work but it is so worth it! You can make a batch to eat fresh and then freeze the rest for later. Adding nutmeg (a little tip I learned from taking a cooking class with Fabio Viviani) makes all the difference!
Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours (some must be done the day before)
Cook Time: 2-3 min
Ingredients: (about 7-8 servings)
8 large potatoes
4 heaping Tbs flour (may need more if potatoes are too wet)
2 Cups Parmigiano Reggiano
½ of nutmeg (grated)
2-3 Tsp of salt
1 Tsp of pepper
The night before: Wrap potatoes in foil and bake at 350 until finished. Let them cool and peel them. Put in fridge overnight.
The day of: Take potatoes and put them through a meat grinder or a food mill.
Put all of the ground potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, parmigiano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. If you have a paddle attachment for a stand mixer, use the paddle to mix everything together. Otherwise, use a dough hook attachment. The dough should be moist and have a consistency that is a somewhat softer than Play Doh. (Sorry, but that’s the best description I can offer.) If your dough is too wet, the gnocchi will fall apart while cooking. If necessary, keep adding additional flour to get the dough to the right consistency. [Tip: taste the dough and add more salt and nutmeg if necessary.]
Next, take the dough and roll out into logs that are roughly the size of a cigar. Then start cutting off ½” pieces. Try to make all the pieces the same size so that they cook evenly.
Try to keep the cut pieces from touching as they tend to start sticking together. (Likewise, if you choose to freeze some of the gnocchi for later, try to keep them from touching otherwise you end up with a ball of dough that you just have to re-roll and re-cut.)
Place gnocchi in salted boiling water. Don’t boil too aggressively – these are very delicate.
As soon as some of the gnocchi start to rise to the surface, remove them all from the water. Use a slotted spoon or something similar to remove gnocchi. Place them directly on the plate. Do not dump the gnocchi into a strainer/colander as they will get mashed together and lose their shape.
Top with sauce of your choice and a little parmigiano if you like. (I like to use a simple sauce to allow the taste of the gnocchi to dominate the dish… something like a butter and sage sauce or a light tomato sauce.)
To see this recipe in action, watch me make it below:
This is a fantastic hors d’oeuvres or aperitivo. My friend Campa made this at his dinner party are we all gobbled it up!
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15-25 min
Slices of grilled polenta
300 grams (10.5 oz) porcini mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
Clean the mushrooms with a knife and with a damp cloth (do not immerse in water!).
Chop and sauté mushrooms with minced garlic, oil, salt, and pepper until the water (produced by the mushrooms) is almost gone.
Add the parsley.
Make or buy pre-made polenta. If you are in America, Trader Joes has a nice pre-made one that I like. If you want to make it yourself, you’ll need water, unsalted butter, cornmeal, and salt… (An easy one to try is Giada’s.)
Cut the polenta in slices (from 0.5 cm to 1 cm, or a little less than ½ inch) and bake in the oven (200 C°, or approximately 400° F) for 15 min or until they are golden brown.
Spread the mushroom mixture on slices of crispy polenta and serve hot.