Christmas menu 2016

21 Dec 2016

COURSE 1: L’ANTIPASTO

1.    Insalata Eoliana 

Aeolian salad with potato, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
Preparation time: 30 minute

The Aeolian Islands form an island chain north of Sicily. Insalata Eoliana is a traditional starter on these islands, prepared with ingredients that are essential to the Mediterranean cuisine.

Ingredients for 4 people:
-    4 medium sized potatoes
-    10 cherry tomatoes
-    1 small cucumber
-    1 white onion
-    4 leaves of fresh basil
-    a handful of capers
-    extra virgin olive oil
-    a pinch of salt
-    dried oregano 

Suggested wine: Chardonnay Sicilia IGT dell’Azienda Planeta www.planeta.it

Method:
Drain the capers with a strainer. Cut the onion into 3mm rings and discard its bitter flavour by immersing the rings in a bowl of water mixed with salt for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water, then drain. Peel off the skin and cut the potatoes in pieces of approximately 2 by 2 centimetres. Wash and cut the tomatoes into quarters. Peel the cucumber and cut it into thin slices. Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl and add the olive oil, oregano and salt to taste. Chop the fresh basil. Divide the salad over four plates and sprinkle it with the basil.

 

COURSE 2: IL PRIMO

2.    Penne rigate al forno con pecorino e pomodori

Oven-baked penne with pecorino cheese and tomato.
Preparation time: 40 minute

Ingredients for 4 people:
-    400 grams of penne rigato (pasta)
-    350 grams of ripe tomatoes
-    a handful of parsley
-    1 onion
-    4 leaves of fresh basil
-    2 garlic cloves
-    150 grams of shredded pecorino cheese
-    alt and pepper

Suggested wine: Pratto Benaco Bresciano IGT Azienda Agricola Ca’ dei Frati www.cadeifrati.it

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Finely chop the onion and the basil, garlic and parsley. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized and heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring often. Add the finely chopped herbs and let simmer over a medium heat. Cut the tomatoes in parts, squash them with a fork to form a pulp and add this to the onions and herbs. Add a pinch of salt and let the sauce simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. Meanwhile put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add the penne to the boiling water and cover the pan with a lid. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Check out our blog 'Cooking pasta' for tips!


When cooked, drain the pasta in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water. Mix the pasta with the tomato sauce, add some pepper to taste and tip into a large baking dish. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water and cover the whole dish with pecorino. Place the dish in the oven for approximately 10-12 minutes. Take it out of the oven and divide the dish over four plates.

 

COURSE 3: IL SECONDO

3.    Gratin di melanzane 

Oven-baked eggplant gratin. 
Preparation time: 25 minute / cooking circa 1 hour
 
Ingredients for 4 people:
-    3 large eggplants
-    350 grams of mozzarella
-    400 grams of peeled tomatoes 
-    150 grams of grated Parmesan cheese 
-    5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
-    salt and pepper
 
Suggested wine: Bardolino Azienda Le Vigne di San Pietro www.levignedisanpietro.it
 
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the eggplant lengthwise in slices of half a centimetre. Dice the mozzarella and the tomatoes. Take a large baking dish and fill it with a layer of eggplant, tomato and mozzarella. Repeat until all ingredients are used and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the whole dish with a layer of grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it with olive oil. Place the dish in the oven for approximately 60 minutes, until the cheese turns golden brown. Divide the gratin in four portions and serve with a small, green salad.
 

 

COURSE 4: IL DOLCE

4.    Dessert caldo agli agrumi

Sicilian, oven-baked dessert with citrus fruit 
Preparation time: 25 minute

Ingredients for 4 people:
-    4 fresh eggs
-    150 grams of sugar
-    1 large orange
-    1 pink grapefruit
-    1/2 litre of fresh, full-fat milk 
-    the zest of 1 lemon
-    a knob of butter

Suggested wine: un Brachetto d’Acqui Rosa Regale dell’azienda Castello Banfi www.castellobanfi.com

Method:
Preheat the oven to 200/220 degrees. Crack the eggs in a bowl, add the sugar and whisk it until the mixture starts to foam (be careful, don’t let the mixture turn into a thick, creamy substance). Slowly add the milk, followed by the juice of the orange and the grapefruit. Add the zest of the lemon. Mix it thoroughly. Grease a round cake tin with butter. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place it in the oven until the cake is firm (approximately 10-15 minutes). Carefully remove the cake from the oven and serve in the cake tin or on a preheated plate. Even if served cold this cake is a treat, so it’s possible to prepare this dessert in advance.

 

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