ERBAZZONE O SCARPAZZONE REGGIANO – dough: flour O, mineral sparkling water, oilve oil and milk in about the same quantities, salt. The filling: bietoline da taglio (chards), parmigiano reggiano, garlic, parsley, rice or ricotta, salt. – Make the dough and let in rest in a bowl while you cook the cards, then squeeze all the water out of them. Slightly fry the garlic ( at least three cloves for this quantity) and the parsley, add the chopped up cards, rice (or ricotta) and the parmigiano and mix them all together. Stretch the dough, put thevcompound on it – cook in pre-heated oven for about 20 min. It could be covered with dough or not. If you don’t cover it with dough sprinkle some parmigiano reggiano on top.

Giselle’s Gorgonzola & Pear Risotto

You need to give yourselves TIME for this – you really shouldn’t leave this dish to do itself. 

You need to be there stirring, stirring, stirring! Allow about 40 mins. 

What you’ll need…

A heavy flat-bottomed pan with fairly low sides – ie not a saucepan.
A saucepan.
Wooden spoon
small ladle

Ingredients for a couple of generous portions ….

Glug of olive oil and lump of butter

1 small white onion – finely chopped

6oz Risotto rice – my fav is Carnaroli – seems to make the risotto extra creamy somehow – Arborio is absolutely fine too. I used a 1/2 cup to measure and then used the cup as my ladle.

Glass white wine (optional, but hey! you get to drink the rest, right?)

Pear of your choice – whatever looks nice to you! Chopped up into little cubes. You can keep the peel on, it softens nicely and gives the dish a little colour. (I didn’t this time, but usually do!)

Gorgonzola – either the creamy mild one or the more crumbly stronger one – I used a mix of the 2. Cut up into little cubes.

Handful of parsley. (Again, for colour.)

Seasoning to taste – freshly ground pepper and fresh ground rock salt.

Stock – I use chicken stock, although if you want to keep it strictly veggie, vegetable stock will be very good too. Now, I do not bother with making my own stock very often. I like the cubes and the new stock jelly cubes from Knorr. I use a mix of the 2 (one of each) in about a litre and half of water. If you like making your own stock, knock yourselves out, it’ll be undoubtedly delicious! My reasoning behind not doing it is that I usually make my mind up to do risotto pretty much last minute – I don’t give myself enough time to make my own stock!

Putting it all together ….

First get your stock on the boil in the saucepan and then turn it down to a bare simmer. Keeping it very hot is, as far as I’m concerned, essential to a good risotto.

In your pan generously glug in your oil and melt the butter gently over a medium heat. 

When the butter has melted, add the onion and break up with the wooden spoon. 

Cook the onion without allowing it to brown until it’s softened and a little translucent.

Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in the oil/butter. Keep stirring gently to prevent the rice from sticking or browning. After a few minutes, the rice will look a little bit see-through on the edges.

Turn the heat up very slightly until you can hear the rice and onion cooking. Add the glass of wine (or a ladle of stock if you’re not using wine) – you should hear a very satisfying sizzling sound!

Keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed. Add a ladleful of stock and stir through. Keep gently stirring! Stirring keeps the risotto from sticking and breaks down the starches in the rice – the starch is what makes the risotto lovely and creamy.

After the 3rd ladleful of stock, before you start your stirring, add your apple cubes, then start your stirring again.

Stir in a gentle figure of 8 with a circuit of the pan after the ‘8’ to bring the risotto together again. Sort of a ‘8’ followed by ‘0’ …

Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, one at a time until the risotto is creamy, thick and the grains of rice still have a little ‘bite’ to the centre of them. (Al dente). Turn off the heat and stir through the cheese and the parsley. Check and season to taste. Let it sit for a minute or so before serving. It shouldn’t be dry nor soupy – but something between the 2. If it’s too dry, add a little of the stock and stir that through. 

(NB . Don’t forget to turn the heat off the stock at the end of making the risotto too!)

Serve in warmed bowls. Have the white wine used for this dish (if there’s any left!).

Anita’s German Cheese Cake


300gr flour 00
150gr fine sugar
150gr butter
1 med egg

Rub the dry ingredients together like making crumble.
Add the egg and mix in till it all sticks together.
Rest for 1/2 hour


750 gr Quark a German type of ricotta ( can be found at Lidl )
5 eggs
200gr fine sugar
Zest of a lemon
50 gr sultanas soaked in 2 tbsp Rum
2 tbsp potato flour
1/2 packet baking powder

Beat the egg whites till stiff.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar till thick and creamy.
Add the Quark and beat in well, mix in the sultanas, potato flour and baking powder.
Then at last fold in the egg whites.

roll out the pastry thinly best is between cling foil line a 28cm spring form making sure the the lining comes 2/3ds of the way up at the sides.
Put the filling into the pastry case and bake for 50 minutes at 190° c

Judith’s Toasted Leek and Potato Soufflé

You need about 3 cups of cleaned leeks cut into 1/8″ or so slices
About ½ teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of good olive oil

1 pound of potatoes, peeled, chunked and boiled until done with about ½ teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of butter
2 eggs
a pinch of cayenne pepper (peperoncino)
a pinch of nutmeg
about ½ cup milk
salt to taste
black pepper
100 grams or 3.5 ounces of pecorino fresco not aged
40 to 50 grams of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

When the potatoes are done, drain them and puree them. Puree in the butter and then the eggs.
Add the cayenne and nutmeg, stirring them in. Add the grated pecorino and stir it in.

Heat a wide and heavy frying pan with the olive oil. Add the leeks and salt them. Cook slowly, stirring, until they start to toast and take on a toasted flavor. They do not have to be entirely brown, but browned enough to take on that taste.

When the leeks are done, stir them into the potato mixture. Then stir in enough milk so that the mixture will not pile up, but stays level when you spoon it. Don’t go overboard. Transfer the mixture into a two-quart baking dish, then scatter the Parmigiano over the top. You can at this point cover it tightly with foil and refrigerate it until the next day, but take it out an hour before you want to cook it.

When ready to cook it, put it into a 350°F or 175°C preheated oven and cook for about 45 minutes until puffy and well-browned.

You can use different cheeses, too

Tina’s Finocchio Gratinato



I had no idea what I’d do with Parmigiano Reggiano for this challenge, so I took to searching on the internet like anyone would do. I wound up straight at the source – and found a very simple recipe using fennel. I altered it a bit to my liking; for example, I didn’t feel the recipe called for enough cheese.

1 medium fennel bulb
a knob of butter
a good handful or so of grated Parmigiano

Peel the fennel at the hardest parts, cut it and cook it briefly in salted water. (The original recipe calls to cut it in half, but I sliced mine several times as I preferred smaller pieces.)
Drain the fennel, melt the butter in a frying pan and lightly brown it.
Place the fennel baking dish, sprinkle it with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and bake it until the cheese is completely melted.* Serve hot.

* I baked at about 150C and did not time it; I just kept my eye on the cheese.


Here’s my trial and error (and what I have in the fridge) recipe for Melanzane Parmigiana (Parmesan Aubergine/Eggplant) –


My own version – I KNOW it’s not a traditional version, before the purists slate me!!

You’ll need – A large plump fresh aubergine sliced into 1cm rounds

Grated parmigiano – a nice little mountain of it!

Chopped or coarsely grated ball of mozzarella.

Tomato sauce


Finely chopped onion

Couple cloves finely chopped (or crushed) garlic

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

Tablespoon tomato concentrate

Big handful of basil leaves, ripped up.

Salt and freshly ground pepper.

(Glug of red wine, if you want to make it richer)

About 200-250ml of beschamel sauce – if no time, the little tetra packs are a reasonable substitute for making it yourself!

What you need to do …

Heat the oven to a med-hot heat. I use about 180°c (I’m doubting myself now – is it °C or °F? You’ll know!)

Get a griddle pan nice and hot – no oil.

Cook the aubergine slices until tender and very slightly charred along the lines of the griddle. Put them to one side as you cook them, you’ll need to do the slices in batches, I doubt if you have a griddle pan big enough to do them all in one go!

While they are cooking, get your tomato sauce sorted …. In a saucepan, add a good glug of EVO and warm up – add the onion and stir a little to coat in the oil.

After the onion has softened slightly, add the garlic and stir that around too, coating it in the oil. Cook gently for about 5 minutes stirring frequently to stop the onion and garlic browning.

When they are nice and soft add the tin of tomatoes and about a tablespoon of tomato concentrate. (You can add your glug of wine at this stage if you want!)

Stir everything well and bring back to a simmer.

Add the ripped basil leaves & seasoning.

Stir, simmer for 15/ 20 minutes or so until the onions are really soft and the sauce has thickened.

When the sauce is done to your liking and the aubergines are cooked, start layering!

Start with a bottom layer of a bit of the tomato sauce.

Then aubergine

Then some blobs of beschamel dotted over

Then a hefty sprinkling of parmigiano

Then tomato sauce…

Then start again.

Finish with a layer of aubergine.

Absolutely finish with a mix of parmigiano and mozzarella.

Into the oven for about 30 minutes.

You want it to be browned a little on top and bubbling away – and of course for the tomato sauce to have soaked into the aubergines!

Leave it to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

It is a fairly ‘saucy’ dish, but REALLY tasty!

Now, silly me, I was so taken with eating this, I forgot to get a picture of it when it was on my plate! Rest assured, it was pretty damned good!

Sarah & Mark’s Chicken Caesar Baskets


This perfect summers day lunch is so easy to make and so delicious to eat. The parmesan baskets are a fantastically simple idea and are light and chewy but crisp. Wonderful!

Chicken Caesar Baskets (Makes 4)

For the Baskets:
2 cups grated parmesan
1 empty jam jar or glass

For the Filling:
1 large chicken breast
2 strips of bacon or speck
Romaine lettuce

For the Caesar Dressing:
2 cloves garlic
4 anchovy fillets
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

First make your baskets:
1. Take a handful of parmesan and a hot flat griddle
2. Spread the parmesan in the centre of the griddle in a circle, thicker towards the centre and thinner towards the edges (this will make the edges more lacy)
3. Heat, then once bubbling and slightly starting to turn golden, remove from the heat
4. Loosen parmesan disk from the griddle with a spatular and as soon as you can, pick it up and drape over the up-side-down jam jar.
5. Make creases to form the bowl shape.
6. Remove from the jam jar and set aside to cool.

For the dressing:
1. Mash the garlic and anchovies together – if you have a mini blender then this is perfect.
2. Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, egg yolk and then whisk in the olive oil. Blitz or whisk together until thick and creamy.

Now for the filling:
1. Slice chicken breast into small pieces and cook on a hot griddle (with any seasoning you may like)
2. Cook bacon in a similar way and cut into strips
3. Wash lettuce, tear into small pieces and toss in the Caesar dressing
4. Place a handful of the lettuce in the bottom of each basket, top with the chicken, bacon strips and chopped chives and you are done.
5. Yummy!

Marina’s Broccoli and Parmigiano Pasta.


Broccoli, pasta, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and parmigiano cheese.
Roast Pine nuts then add olive oil and garlic in heavy bottom pan. Boil the broccoli in salted water and when al dente, scoop out of pot with slotted spoon and put into frying pan. Cook the pasta in the broccoli water and when cooked, add to frying pan with broccoli. Toss together then add as much cheese as you like and serve. Easy light meal!!!

Amber’s Asparagus, Arugula and Parmesan Salad

250 grams of asparagus
Half a red onion, sliced thin
Two handfuls of arugula
Shaved Parmesan (use your vegetable peeler!), About 10 slices
2 strips of cooked (crunchy) bacon or pancetta
Olive Oil for sautéing

For the vinaigrette:
6 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2-3 tablespoons of champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tsp of Dijon mustard
1.5 tsp of honey
1 small shallot, chopped very fine
Salt and Pepper Q.B.

Wash and remove the woody stems from the asparagus. Cut tips of asparagus off and using a vegetable peeler, “slice” the asparagus into long strips. Heat oil in a pan large enough to hold onions and asparagus. Add onions first and let them cook for a few minutes over a medium low heat. Add asparagus strips and tips and continue cooking until desired tenderness. Don’t forget to season with S and P.
Let cool until warm but not cold.
While cooling, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette to a shaker or glass jar with a lid and shake vigorously until completely emulsified.
To make salad, toss arugula, asparagus, red onions and a desired amount of dressing. (Hey, some people like it lightly dressed while others heavily dressed!) Add cheese and toss again gently. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.

Serve alone or accompany with a nice big steak!

Giselle’s Courgette & Parmesan Soup

Here’s the link to the site I found the recipe originally –

Good glug of EVO

1 tbsp chopped garlic

handful basil leaves chopped

sea salt and ground pepper to taste

1kg courgettes cut lengthways into quarters then into 1cm slices

750 ml chicken stock

60 ml or big glug of single cream

handful fresh flatleaf parsley chopped

50g freshly grated parmigiano plus extra for serving


Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a med heat.

Cook the garlic, basil, salt and courgette slowly for about 10 mins or until the courgettes are lightly browned and softened (or just softened!)

Add pepper to taste, then pour in the stock and simmer for about 8- 10 mins uncovered.

Remove from heat.

If you have a stick blender, stick it in the mix and whizz about 3/4 of it.  If you have a food processor, do the same amount. (I prefer 1st method – less washing up!)

Return the soup to the pan and stir in the cream parsley and parmigiano.

To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl, sprinkle with more parmigiano (or shavings are good) and some toasted pumpkin seeds. ( Salt n pepper optional – I think it’ll be fine.)

Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.