Mary’s Sformato di carciofi e proscuitto

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150g/1 cup of slightly cooked artichoke hearts
50g/ 1/c minced prosciutto
120g/2 cups grated gruyere
20g/ 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
1 med. yellow onion, diced
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
besciamella
1 cup toasted fresh bread crumbs
olive oil
salt
pepper

Besciamella
75g unsalted butter
35g flour
700g whole milk
salt
pepper
nutmeg

Butter 6 6oz ramekins. Coat with the toasted bread crumbs. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.

To make the besciamella, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture turns a light golden brown. In the meantime, gently heat the milk in another pot until just below a boil. When the flour mixture is ready, add the milk a third at a time whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste plus a couple of gratings of nutmeg. Set aside to cool until ready to use.

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil then the chopped onions. Cook until transparent, then add the partially cooked minced artichokes. Continue cooking until the onions are golden and the artichokes are completely cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the gruyere, half of the P.R., the cooled artichoke mixture, the eggs and yolks which have been lightly mixed together, and all of the cooled besciamella. Pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins and place into a large roasting pan. Place in the preheated oven then pour water into the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and from the roasting pan and rest for 15 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edges to loosen the sformato, invert onto a plate, top with the remaining P.R. and the toasted bread crumbs and serve.

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Amber’s Drunken Chocolate Coffee Souffle

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Drunken Chocolate Coffee Souffle.
150 grams of good quality dark chocolate (it’s all about the chocolate here….)
4 heaping teaspoons of brown sugar (how sweet do you like it?)
3 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1-2 glugs of brandy
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
Half a cup of strong coffee

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F. Melt chocolate in double broiler with coffee. Temper egg yolks into with chocolate coffee mixture by add a bit of the chocolate to the yolks at a time while whisking. Keep doing this until all the chocolate is in. Add a glug/s of brandy.
Set mixture aside.

Beat egg whites. After about a minute, add a pinch of cream of tartar and pinch of salt. After peaks have formed, add three spoons of sugar- slowly, so it doesn’t deflate. Once hard peaks are formed, stop.

Add a heaping spoon of egg whites to chocolate mixtures and combine, but do not whip. Continue folding in egg whites. Transfer to buttered, sugared soufflé dishes or dish.
This mixture was enough for four dishes but I have no idea what size they are.

Souffles should bake for around 10 minutes- but no longer. While baking whip up some whipped cream and flavor with vanilla, almond extract, more brandy, amaretto or other liquor of your liking.
Don’t forget to sweeten to your liking as well. Adapted from divinechocolate.com

Tina’s Ricotta-honey-orange sformatini

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1-1/2 cups ricotta
1 large egg
the juice of about 3 or 4 clementines (I just cut them in half and squeezed with my hands)
1 generous spoonful of honey
1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar

Mix the ricotta, egg, juice, honey and sugar together and put into 4 (in my case) ramekins, and bake for 25 minutes at 200C.

Remove from the oven and let “set” for about 20 minutes before inverting and removing from ramekins.

Serve topped with some more honey. 🙂

(Note: I purposely didn’t add much sugar – you might increase the amount of sugar or honey if you want this to be richer.)

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.

Judith’s Insalata di Finocchio e Mela

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1 bulb finocchio, trimmed and cleaned, save some of the nasty green fronds
1 Granny Smith apple, washed and cored, cut in two

using a very sharp knife or a mandolin, cut these into the thinnest possible slices, paper thin.

Sauce:
1 small clove garlic, finely minced and squashed
2 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt and then to taste
2 egg yolks
125 ml plus best extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic and anchovy into a medium sized bowl and add the lemon juice. With a fork, mash them very vigorously until you can barely see that they were there. Add the egg yolks and salt and whisk briskly to combine. Whisking continuously, slowly add the olive oil, making it into an emulsion. After adding the 125 ml, taste and add more to taste. The dressing should be strong because the juices of the finocchio will dilute it powerfully.

Just before serving, toss the finocchio and apple with most of the dressing. To serve, lightly pile 1/4 of the salad onto a plate and sprinkle a bit of that horrid green frondy stuff on it. You can drizzle or dot a little more dressing on the plate around the salad. Don’t make it up too far ahead as the finocchio wilts very quickly and the apple will brown.

You might like a grind of pepper over it, but of course it won’t photograph so well after it.

Tina’s pasta with caramelized fennel & onions and chopped pumpkin seeds

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Slice two fennel bulbs and one onion into thin slice and caramelize for about half an hour or so (to caramelize, I like to use butter and a touch of oil, some salt and maybe a bit of sugar to help the caramelization).
Optional: while this is going on, chop a handful of raw pumpkin seeds very small set them aside. (Use any nut or seed you’d like, really!)

Cook up some penne and after draining, toss into the pan with the carmelized fennel.
Add the chopped pumpkin seeds, just enough olive oil (based on what you like I suppose) and black pepper.
Serve! I wound up adding a bit more olive oil to my dish, but I think it’s a personal preference thing

MARINA’S STUFFED FENNEL WITH PROSCIUTTO

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4 bulbs fennel. Young outer leaves.
Remove leaves and boil for about 10 minutes till tender.

Chop up the fennel hearts and small onion and fry in 10 gm butter for a few minutes till tender.

20 gm butter
150 gm Prosciutto
200 gm Ricotta Cheese
2 egg yolks
30 gm parmigiano cheese

Chop up prosciutto and mix with cheese and egg yolks. Mix in the fennel and onion and add salt and pepper as per taste. Spoon into fennel leaves, sprinkle with more cheese and dot with remaining 10gm butter flakes and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in 180 degree oven till slightly brown roasted.

Amy’s Fennel with Pecorino, Speck and Fried Molicca di Pane

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4 bulbs of fennel, chop them up fine. Sautee with butter and a drop of oil about 5 minutes then add milk about 150 ml, cover and cook at low heat about 6 minutes, add speck and let cook at low heat about another 5 minutes and then add another 100ml of milk and grate pecorino 75 grammi, cook on low for 8 minutes add another dash of milk and a pinch of parmigiano for 3 minutes, add salt and pepper q.b. and serve