Temple’s Sformatini di zucchine e ricotta con coulis di pomodori

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1-2 medium zucchine chiare
300g ricotta
50g diced cooked ham
¼ cup grated parmesan
1 egg
1tbsp flour
Olive oil
For the coulis:
canned tomatoes
Olive oil
Using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, slice the raw zucchini very thinly—they should be pretty pliable. In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients evenly.
Lightly oil 4 ramekins and carefully drape the zucchini slices so there is a bit of overhang. Use about 3-4 slices per ramekin to almost cover the bottom and sides. Fill with the ricotta mixture up to the top and gently fold the “tails” over the top.
Bake in a 200° oven for about 30 minutes, until the sformati have puffed up and any ricotta showing is golden.
Meanwhile make the coulis: press the canned tomatoes through a sieve using the back of a spoon, so you have just thin tomato puree (do not substitute paste). Cook over a low heat with a little oil and S&P until slightly thickened, enough to coat a spoon generously.
Unmold the sformatini onto plates and pour a little coulis over them. Serve hot.

Amy’s Sformato di Pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale

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I started with making my ragu the day before..

700 grams of polpa di cinghiale.(wild boar meat) I had macinato cause I like it better that way but you can also chop it into tiny cubes
2 sausages(cinta senese)
2 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 large onion
a handful of fresh parsley 
juniper berries…q.b.
doppio conc. tomato paste(2 tbls)
2 pelati (peeled tomatoes from can)
salt q.b.
pepper q.b.
a full glass of red wine
normally I would also put black olives in but I thought they wouldn’t help the sformato form so I left them out

Just as you would make a normal ragu or bolognese sauce
chop up your carrots, celery, onion, parsley and put them in a large pot with olive oil to brown but don’t let them get too brown!
after that I push the sausage out of its skin or whatever that is called and put it in with the celery, carrots, onion etc
I brown it for about 2 minutes then add the wild boar meat and stir it about 2 minutes and then a glass of red wine maybe even a glass and a quarter and let it cook until wine evaporates
next I add 2 large spoonfuls of double concentrated tomato paste and mix
then 2 pelati, (squished by hand or fork before putting them in the pot)
next a handful or more of juniper berries 
add your salt and pepper
now adding water to make ragu depends on what kind of pot you have, I have a large deep pot so add water up to the last 1/4 of the pot..
bring the sauce to a boil when it boils I move it to a small burner and partially covered for about 2 and 1/2 hours and stirring often 
cooking times can vary, usually tuscan ragu is very very thick and not very saucy..depends on what you like 
I also think making ragu the night before eating eat gives it a better flavour

I made pappardelle for 8, probably close to 500 grams 
8 eggs, 1 kg of flour a pinch of salt
after you have made the rolled and stretched the sfoglia cut in wide strips of about 1,5 cm

Cook the pappardelle al dente and season with sauce and parmigiano 
next I oiled the pan and put dusted it with bread crumbs
I cut up 250 grams of smoked provolone and 1 mozzarella and cut into cubes 200 grams up ham
I mixed these together with the papparedelle
Next using my hands I squished the pappardelle and all the stuff into the pan and packed it hard until it was full up to the top
I grated some pecorino and tons of parmigiano and then put a light layer of ragu on top
baked in 180 preheated oven for 35 minutes

Paula’s Sausage and Fennel Pasta

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for 3 people

2 small onions
3 italiian sausages
tablespoon of fennel seeds
250ml of cream (uht cooking cream works well)
330g large pasta such as rigatoni or mezze maniche

Put your pasta on to boil.

Chop up the onions into 1cm pieces and fry gently in a little olive oil until they start to soften. take the sausages out of their skins and break up into rough pieces about 2cm diameter. Add the sausage meat to the onions and fry on low heat until sausages brown up and onions start to colour up. The pasta is nearly done so turn off the heat but leave it in the cooking water. Add the fennel seeds to the sausages and stir on medium heat for a couple of minutes till you smell the lovely fennely aromas. Add the cream, mix through on low heat and add the drained pasta, heating through. Add pepper to taste; the sausages here are so salty you really won’t need any more salt. transfer to heated serving dish and serve with crisp green salad.

Giselle’s Chilli Recipe

I use minced beef – good quality from the butchers. about 400g
1 onion chopped
several cloves of garlic crushed
1 tin chopped toms
1 big dollop tomato paste out the tube
Big glug of whatever red wine you have to hand
1 tin red kidney beans (Lidl) drained
Hot chilli powder about a teaspoon
Ground cumin about 2 teaspoons
Fresh coriander if you have it – I grow my own. Handful
If you have some unsweetened coco powder, a teaspoon of this is amazing!

Fry up the garlic and onion in olive oil until softened, but not browned.
Whack up the heat a bit and add the minced beef and break up, fry until meat is browned. 
Add all the other ingredients except the coriander if you have it.
Mix it up, bring it to the boil, turn it down to a bare simmer, cover and cook for at the very least 45 mins. Stir from time to time to stop it sticking.

Giselle’s Potato and Sausage Hot Pot.

All a bit rough, no measuring was done. A whatever’s-in-the-fridge recipe …

I’m going to adjust this recipe after the fact – as it was a made up one, I found the juices to be a bit too runny for me, so in the recipe, I think that if the potatoes and onions are coated in flour first before layering, that will be enough to slightly thicken the sauce …


About 8 medium sized potatoes, peeled & thickly sliced

Half a fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced

One large white onion, peeled, halved and sliced

About 1 tablespoon flour

3 leeks – sliced

3 italian pork sausages (fresh) skinned and broken up

Big handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

One ball of mozzarella, sliced

Grated hard cheese, like Parmigiano or grana padano

About 400ml chicken stock

Seasoning (I had some Cajun type seasoning – but if you want to keep it ‘traditional’, a little salt (stock is usually salty) and freshly ground pepper.)

What to do …

Heat the oven to 180°c or equivalent.

In a couple of bowls, put the onions in one and the potatoes in the other, sprinkle each bowl with flour and coat the onions & potatoes.

In a casserole dish or oven proof dish of some kind, start with a layer of the onion, then potato, then fennel, then sausage pieces. Sprinkle some parsley over. Repeat the layers, finish with a layer of potato. Pour the hot chicken stock all over. Place the mozzarella slices on top, sprinkle the grated cheese and any parsley left over. Season.

Either put the lid on the casserole or cover tightly with double tin foil. Put in the middle of the oven for about an hour or so – Mine was in for 1 hr 15 mins. Uncover and either pop back in the oven again for 5 minutes, like I did, or you could put it under the grill to finish off.

Wait for a few minutes before eating – it will be BOILING!

It was really tasty and just right for this chilly evening – proper comfort food and no other side dishes needed! A one pot meal.

Kate’s Potato & Sausage Casserole to be eaten while wearing slippers & listening to soothing music

Serves 1

2 potatoes (approx 100g), cut into bitesize chunks.
1 sausage (approx 120g), likewise
2 fat pachini tomatoes (approx 100g), quartered
1 onion (approx 100g), topped and tailed and cut into eight
1 tbsp olive oil
Dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste
A slosh of white wine

Winter is coming, so it’s time to bring out the comfort foods. This is no English suet pudding – that would be overkill here in Sicily – but has enough oomph to it, with chunky potatoes and dense mouthfuls of meaty sausage, to be cheering on a cool Sicilian evening.

Put all the ingredients into a roasting tin. Add the oil, herbs and seasoning and stir so that everything is coated lightly with oil. Put the roasting tin into a 180 degree oven and give it five minutes for everything to start cooking. Add the white wine (for me, it’s usually the dregs of the large glass that I got stuck into while I was prepping the ingredients).

Leave it all to do its thing for 40 minutes or so, checking it every so often and giving it a quick stir around to prevent burning. Add more liquid as necessary (either to the pan or to your glass).

When the potatoes are cooked through, with golden caramelised edges, and the onions and tomatoes have melded down into translucent, slightly blackened goo, pull the pan out of the oven and dish up into a large bowl. Eat with a spoon, while wearing slippers and listening to soothing music.

Author bio:
Kate Bailward (aka Katja) is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver who arrived in Italy in 2009 for a 9-month teaching contract. Three years later she has given up teaching but has no plans to give up Italy.

Her work has been published at TravelBelles.com and she blogs at Driving Like a Maniac. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and

Amy’s Spezzatino con le patate alla Toscana

Tastes better than it looks in the pic I promise!
I recently learned that there existed a food called comfort food. My good friend Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen says I already knew what it was since I have many hangover cure dishes..anyway if there is a month where I need comfort its November and here it is.
500 grams of beef(should be spalla if possible) for spezzatino cut into small chunks
8 smaller size potatoes

2 white onions
1 or 2 celery stalks
2 small carrots
a small rosemary branch
pinch of chives
250 grams peeled tomatoes (pelati)
170 ml of red wine( I used Tuscan geografica tipica)
4 tablespoons olive oil
a small amount of beef broth might be needed
salt and pepper q.b.
Chop up your carrots, celery, onions, rosemary and chives as you would for ragu.
Put them in the pot with the olive oil to brown but not burn on low heat
after put in your beef to brown for about 3 minutes
add the wine and let evaporate
When wine has evaporated add the tomatoes and salt and pepper
Cover your pot and cook on low heat about 1 hour and 20 minutes
in the meantime cut potatoes into small chunks and when your meat has been cooking for about 1 hour and 20 minutes then add potatoes
You may at this time need the broth if the potatoes don’t have enough liquid to cook in
after adding potatoes cook another 40 minutes then uncover and let the left over sauce reduce to your liking!

Amber’s Tagliatelle with Porcini and Sausage

500 grams of fresh porcini
1-2 sausage links
½ to 1 glass of dry white wine (1-2 spins around the pan, really)
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

Handful of fresh chopped parsley
peperoncino to taste
2 sprigs of Nepitella (optional)
2 handfuls of grated parmigiano
Olive Oil Q.B.
Water/Brodo Q.B.
Fresh Tagliatelle (to feed 5 people, I did 400 grams of flour/four eggs)
Clean mushrooms. Chop to desired size. I usually chop the stems finer than the caps. Set aside.
Add olive oil to pan deep enough to add cooked pasta to. Add garlic and let it go for a minute over medium heat, but don’t let it get too brown! Add mushrooms. Let them cook over medium for a minute or two. Add wine. Turn heat up until alcohol burns off. Turn down heat, add salt and pepper, cover and let mushrooms cook through. If pan starts to dry out, add water. (You can do this with brodo/broth too.) These mushrooms aren’t as water logged as champignon, so watch carefully. Take the sausage out of its casing and cook in a separate pan. When cooked through, drain fat. Set aside (You can do this in the same pan before you add garlic, if you’d like, but we don’t like the extra grease.) When mushrooms are cooked through add sausage and handfuls of parsley. Combine and set aside.
N.B. If you’re using the nepitella, you can add it towards the end. It’s really strong, don’t add too much.
Cook pasta according to directions or taste in salted water.
After you’ve boiled the pasta, add the pasta directly to the pan of mushrooms. Set aside some of the pasta cooking liquid. Mix mushrooms and pasta together to fully coat the pasta over a low heat adding only enough water as necessary. As soon as the pasta is completely coated, turn off heat and add parmigiano. Mix through. EAT!

Temple’s Roast loin of pork with shallots and pears

Tonight I did a riff on the usual pork and apple ho hum. Roast loin of pork with shallots and pears. Coated a loin with olive oil by hand, S&P, studded it with cloves and hot roasted long enough to brown, about 30-40 minutes; down heat and added just enough water to deglaze the forming caramel. Basted and roasted for another hour. Added peeled shallots and basted again. Half hour before finishing, I peeled/sliced one of those beautiful red skinned pears, put the slices in a bowl with enough red wine (barbera to be precise) to coat generously and added pear slices and wine to the roasting pan. Took out pork when done and finished the pears and shallots until I had a lovely sauce but the pears were still fairly intact. Sliced pork thinly and served with sauce. We ended up almost licking the roasting pan. Pears add a whole nuther dimension to the finished item.

Scotch Eggs by Maureen Plotts Horvath

The picnics I remember were the one’s my mother put together for eating on the side of the road on our trips to the Transkei, South Africa back in the sixties. It was close to an 8 hour trip and we would stop around noon for cold chicken, “Perks” steak pies, pasta salad and Scotch eggs washed down with home made lemonade. The Scotch eggs were my favorite….

As many hard boiled eggs as there are people. Wrap each egg in home made sausage meat, then roll in breadcrumbs and fry in about 1/2 inch of vegetable or olive oil until golden brown all over and sausage meat cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Split in half to serve at room temperature, with salt & pepper and HP sauce for dipping.