30 January, 2015

Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie

Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie

I'm particularly glad to finally share this recipe with my readers. I prepared it for the first time about a year ago (last spring), with fresh peas and fava beans, slightly adapting the recipe published in Sale&Pepe magazine. We so loved the pie, that I never had the chance to photograph a single piece of a baked pie. I only had a couple photos from the prep phase.
I made it a few more times during the winter with frozen legumes and decided it was about time I shared it with everyone.


Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie

It's such a delicious, open face pie. The crust is a light, strudel like, dough. Once the pie is baked it's really crispy and truly delicious.
The crust hides a rich and very nutrious, healthy filling. Whole grain spelt (precious for its fibres, vitamins and minerals content), combined with vegetables (Swiss chard, scallions) and legumes (peas and fava beans), and enriched with ricotta and parmigiano cheese. It's a bomb of flavours and nutritious elements. A dish that serves as a whole meal, to be completed only with a fresh seasonal salad.

Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie



Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie

Dough:
* 150 g AP flour
* 30 g rye or wholewheat flour
* 3 TBspoons extra virgin olive oil
* a little salt
* 90 ml water

Filling:
* 3 spoonfuls of pearled spelt
* a bunch of Swiss chard
* 2 scallions (green onions) or 1/2 leek
* 100 g cleaned fava/broad beans (fresh or frozen)
* 100 g cleaned peas (fresh or frozen)
* 100 g ricotta
* 30 g grated parmigiano cheese
* ekstra virgin olive oil
* salt and pepper

Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie   Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie   Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie   Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie

For the dough (this is basicly the same dough that is used for strudel), mix the two flours with a generous pinch of salt, in a mixing bowl or on a kneading board. Form a well in the middle, add the oil and then gradually the water, stirring at first with a fork until the flour's been absorbed and then kneading for about 10 mintues to get a soft and elastic dough. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes on the kneading board, covered with a mixing bowl turned upside down.

In the meanwhile prepare the filling.
Cook the pearled spelt in a saucepan with water, for about 30 minutes. Drain it and set aside.
Carefully wash the Swiss chard and cut the leaves into stripes. Stir fry the Swiss chard in a skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil and 1 clove of garlic until softened a little.
In another skillet cook the chopped scallions with 2 TBspoons of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add the fava (broad) beans, previously boiled for a minute in hot water and the white skin removed, and the peas. After one minute add 1/2 cup hot water and cook for 10 minutes, making sure all the liquid has evaporated.
Mix together all the ingredients for the pie filling: the cooked vegetables (peas, fava beans, Swiss chard), the spelt, the ricotta and the grated parmigiano cheese.
Lightly oil the bottom of a 20-22 cm round, springform pan.
Roll the dough out into a thin, 28-30 cm in diameter, circle. Line the pan with the dough covering the bottom and the sides.
Fill the shell with the vegetables, spelt and ricotta filling. Flip the dough over the filling.
Mix 1 TBspoon of extravirgin olive oil with 1 TBspoon of water and brush the dough.
Bake the pie in an oven preheated to 200°C (390F) for 1 hour (if necessary protect the surface with a piece of baking paper after the first 1/2 hour.






Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie


Torta salata con farro, ricotta e verdure

Pasta:
* 150 g di farina "0"
* 30 g di farina di segale o di frumento integrale
* 3 cucchiai di olio extravergine d'oliva
* poco sale
* 90 ml di acqua

Ripieno
* 3 cucchiai di farro perlato
* un mazzo di bietole
* 2 cipolotti o 1/2 porro
* 100 g di fave sgranate (fresche o surgelate)
* 100 g di piselli (freschi o surgelati)
* 100 g di ricotta
* 30 g di parmigiano grattugiato
* olio extravergine d'oliva
* sale e pepe

Per l'impasto (che sostanzialmente è la pasta per lo strudel) mescolate le due farine con un pizzico abbondante di sale in una ciotola o sulla spianatoia. Fate la classica fontana con un buco al centro. Versateci dentro l'olio e poi gradualmente l'acqua, mescolando fino ad idratare la farina, e poi impastate per una decina di minuti per ottenere un impasto morbido ed elastico.
Formate una pallina, mettetela sulla spianatoia infarinata e coprite con una ciotola rovesciata. Lasciate riposare l'impasto mentre preparate il ripieno, almeno 1/2 ora.

Per il ripieno, mettete il farro in un pentolino con l'acqua e lasciatelo cuocere per circa 1/2 ora. Scolatelo e lasciatelo raffreddare leggermente.
Lavate bene le bietole e tagliatele a strisce. Saltatele in una padella con poco olio extravergine d'oliva e 1 spicchio d'aglio, finché non sarà leggermente appassita.
In un'altra padella soffriggete i cipollotti sminuzzati con 2 cucchiai di olio extravergine d'oliva. Aggiungete le fave (precedentemente sbollentate e private della pellicina bianca che le ricopre) e i piselli. Fate insaporire per un minuto o due, poi aggiungete 1/2 bicchiere di acqua calda e lasciate cuocere per 10 minuti, lasciando evaporare tutto il liquido.
Mescolate le verdure con il farro, ricotta e parmigiano grattugiato. Aggiustate di sale e pepe.
Stendete la pasta sulla spianatoia infarinata usando il mattarello. Dovreste ottenere un cerchio sottile (circa 2 mm) di diametro circa 28-30 cm. Rivestite con la pasta uno stampo rotondo di 20-22 cm di diametro, leggermente unto con l'olio, coprendo il fondo e i lati.
Riempite il guscio con il ripieno preparato e ripiegate i bordi sopra.
Preparate un emulsione con 1 cucchiaio di olio extravergine d'oliva e 1 cucchiaio di acqua, e spennellate l'impasto.
Fate cuocere la torta per circa 1 ora nel forno riscaldato a 200°C. Se comincia a scurire troppo presto in superficie, coprite la torta con un pezzo di carta da forno.
Lasciate intiepidire la torta prima di servirla.




Spelt, ricotta and vegetable pie


Pita s pirom, ricottom i povrćem

Tijesto
* 150 g pšeničnog brašna
* 30 g raženog brašna ili integralnog pšeničnog
* 3 žlice ekstra djevičanskog maslinovog ulja
* malo soli
* 90 ml vode

Punjenje
* 3 žlice pira
* svežanj blitve
* 2 mlada luka ili 1/2 poriluka
* 100 g očišćenog boba (svježeg ili smrznutog)
* 100 g graška (svježeg ili smrznutog)
* 100 g ricotte
* 30 g naribanog parmezana
* ekstra djevičansko maslinovo ulje
* sol i papar

Za tijesto, pomiješajte obje vrste brašna.
Dodajte malo soli, napravite hrpicu s rupom u sredini. Dodajte u sredinu ulje, a zatim po malo oko 90 ml vode i zamijesite meko, elastično tijesto.
Ostavite tijesto na pobrašnjenog dasci i pokrijte ga preokrenutom zdjelom. Neka odmara 30 minuta.
Očistite i narežite blitvu na trakice. Pirjajte je u tavi s malo maslinovog ulja i malo soli na jačoj vatri dok ne odmekne.
Posebno popržite nasjeckani mladi luk s 2 žlice maslinovog ulja, dodajte bob (kojeg ste prvo ubacili na minutu u ključalu vodu i potom mu uklonili, vanjsku, bijelu kožicu) i grašak. Zalijte s 1/2 čaše vode i ostavite kuhati na srednje jakoj vatri 10 minuta, dok sva tekućina ne ispari.
Pomiješajte u zdjeli kuhani pir s povrćem, ricottom i parmezanom. Posolite i popaprite po ukusu.
Tijesto razvaljajte u krug promjera oko 28-30 cm, prvo valjkom a zatim ga malo dodatno razvucite rukama (radi se u biti o tijestu za savijače, samo ga razvucite malo deblje).
Obložite nauljeni kalup (20-22 cm) tijestom tako da prelazi preko ruba.
Uspite nadjev u kalup, savijte rubove tijesta preko nadjeva.
Pomiješajte žlicu maslinovog ulja i žlicu vode pa kistom premažite tijesto.
Pecite pitu na 200°C oko 1 sat. (ako pita počne prerano tamniti, pokrijte odozgor komadom papira za pečenje).
Poslužite pitu nakon što se malo prohladila.

27 January, 2015

Mini Carrot Almond Cakes

Mini Carrot Almond Cakes

These tiny carrot cakes are so lovely and delicious that you will want to invite the whole neighbourhood over for a cup of tea.
You'll want to share these for sure. Onel, because they look and taste lovely and everyone likes to receive compliments (isn't it true?). And two, because you'll eat them all by yourself, so better share.




Mini Carrot Almond Cakes


Mini Carrot Almond Cakes

* 2 whole small eggs + 1 egg yolk (total: 115 g)
* 125 g sugar
* 100 g almond meal
* 150 g carrots
* 120 g AP flour
* 20 g potato starch
* 8 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
* 1 organic orange (zest and juice)

Mini Carrot Almond Cakes   Mini Carrot Almond Cakes   Mini Carrot Almond Cakes   Mini Carrot Almond Cakes


Clean the carrots and chop them very finely in a food processor.
Mix and sift  together the flour, the potato starch and the baking powder.
Put the sugar in a plate/or a bowl and grate the orange zest directly into the sugar. Mix the two, so that the sugar absorbs the orange aroma well.
Put the whole eggs and the egg yolk into a mixing bowl, add the orange sugar and beat with an electric mixer until thick and pale.
Add the almond meal and the carrots. Stir them in gently.
Add the flour mix and stir until smooth.
Grease and flour mini bundt pans (or tartelette pans or muffin pan, whatever you got) or one standard bund cake pan.
Fill them with the batter and bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Once they'are baked, take the cakes out of the pans and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Serve them sprinkled with powdered sugar or orange cream cheese glaze and garnished with caramelized carrots.

* for orange cream cheese glaze: Mix well 2-3 TBspoons of softened cream cheese with sugar (add sugar to your taste), when smooth add a little orange juice at a time until you reach the consistency that you like.
* for caramelized carrots: Julienne one carrot, put in a small skillet or saucepan with the juice of 1/2 orange and 1 TBspoon sugar. Cook on low heat until the liquid is caramelized and syrupy.




Mini Carrot Almond Cakes


Tortine (Ciambelline) alle carote e mandorle

* 2 uova intere + 1 tuorlo (insieme 115 g)
* 125 g di zucchero semolato
* 100 g di mandorle pelate (o farina di mandorle)
* 150 g di carote
* 120 g di farina 00
* 20 g di fecola di patate
* 8 g di lievito per dolci (baking powder)
* 1 arancia non trattata (scorza e succo)

Tritate finemente le mandorle.
Pulite le carote, tagliatele a pezzi e poi tritatele finemente nel mixer (tritatutto) oppure grattugiatele usando una grattugia a fori piccoli.
Mescolate insieme e setacciate la farina, la fecola e il lievito.
Grattugiate la scorza d'arancia direttamente in una ciotola dove avete messo lo zucchero e mescolate in modo che lo zucchero assorba l'aroma d'arancia.
Montate le uova intere e il tuorlo con lo zucchero aromatizzato fino a ottenere un composto denso, chiaro e spumoso.
Aggiungete le mandorle e le carote e mescolate delicatamente.
Unite anche la farina con la fecola e il lievito.
Mescolate fino a ottenere un composto senza grumi.
Distribuitelo nei stampini per ciambelline (o quelli per tartellete, o stampi da muffin) imburati e infarinati, oppure un unico stampo per ciambella.
Cuocete le tortine nel forno caldo a 180°C per 18-20 minuti facendo prova con unu stuzzicadenti che deve uscire asciutto.
Sformate le tortine e lasciatele raffreddare.
Servitele spolverate con lo zucchero a velo o con la glassa di zucchero e succo d'arancia, e decorate con le carote caramellate.

* per la glassa: mescolate 2-3 cucchiai di formaggio tipo philadelphia con lo zucchero (a piacere) e diluite poi aggiungendo poco alla volta il succo d'arancia fino a ottenere la consistenza che ci piace.
* per le carote caramellate: tagliate una carota a julienne, mettetela in un padellino con il succo di 1/2 arancia e 1 cucchiaio di zucchero. Cuocete sul fuoco basso finché il liquido inizi a caramellare. Lasciatele raffreddare e poi decorate le tortine.


Mini Carrot Almond Cakes


Tortice s mrkvom i bademima

* 2 cijela jaja + 1 žumanjak
* 125 g šećera
* 100 g oguljenih badema (mljevenih)
* 150 g mrkve
* 120 g brašna
* 20 g škrobnog brašna (gustina)
* 8 g (1 ipol žličica) praška za pecivo
* 1 neprskana naranča

Sameljite sitno bademe.
Mrkvu očistite, narežite na komade i usitnite u električnoj sjeckalici (ako nemate sjeckalicu naribajte je na sitno ribežom).
Brašno pomiješajte sa škrobnim brašnom i praškom za pecivo i prosijte.
Naranču naribajte u posudu u koju ste odmjerili šećer i izmiješajte da šećer upije aromu naranče.
Stavite u zdjelu za mućenje cijela jaja i žumanjak, dodajte šećer aromatiziran narančom, pa mutite mikserom dok smjesa ne postane gusta i pjenasta.
Dodajte mljevene bademe i usitnjenu mrkvu i polako izmiješajte ručno (žlicom).
Umiješajte također mješavinu brašnu i izmiješajte da dobijete ujednačenu smjesu.
Rasporedite smjesu u kalupiće (za mini kuglofiće, tartelete ili napunite do pola kalupe za muffine, što imate) ili u jedan veći kalup za vijenac.
Pecite kolačiće u pećnici zagrijanoj na 180°C, 18-20 minuta (provjerite čačkalicom ubodenom u sredinu, mora izaći suha).
Izvadite kolačiće iz kalupa i ostavite da se ohlade.
Pospite ih šećerom u prahu ili glazurom od soka naranče, šećera u prahu i krem sira, i po želji ukrasite karameliziranom mrkvom.

*za glazuru: pomiješajte 2-3 žlice krem sira sa šećerom u prahu (po ukusu) i razrijedite sokom naranče do željene gustoće.
* za karamelizirane mrkvice: očistite mrkvu, narežite je na julienne (tanke trakice), stavite je u manju tavu sa sokom pola naranče i 1 žlicom šećera. Kuhajte na laganoj vatri dok tekućina ne postane sirupasta. Ostavite da se mrkva prohladi pa ukrasite kolačiće



Mini Carrot Almond Cakes

23 January, 2015

Gluten-free bread rolls


Gluten-free bread rolls


There's more than one gluten-free recipe on this blog. But it's the first time I tried my hand with bread. I use often naturaly gluten-free flours, like rice/ corn/ chickpeas/ buckwheat/ quinoa/ chestnut flour, but I use them mostly to make cakes, muffins or flour gnocchi so far. Never yeast dough.
Now, I don't effectively need to follow a gluten-free diet, noone suffering from celiac (coeliac) desease in my family or having alergy or intolerance towards gluten.
Then why did I make these, you may wonder, just like my husband did.
Simply because I'm very sensible when it comes to a question of food. I'm one of those people who are sorry to have people over at home and hear them say, "It all looks so good, but I have to avoid gluten so I'm really sorry I can't eat any of these." It's happend to me at birthday parties and such.
I see parents of children suffering from celiac desease to be so protective (probably afraid), to the point they don't take their kids to birthday parties (probably thinking, What's the point of exposing my kid to contamination risk, s/he can't eat anything there anyway). That makes me sad. If we all made a little more effort to understand the problem these kids/people are facing we could make them more comfortable and welcome.
Of course, I made these bread rolls without taking particular precautions to avoid gluten contamination, that I would normally do if I were really making them for someone with celiac desease. I was just curious to see if I was able to come up with something edible I could serve to my guests. And I was totally satisfied with the result. They tasted very nice, they were really soft, and had nice texture.
I used a gluten-free flour mix indicated for bread (actually an all purpose mix of gluten free flours),
composed of rice flour and potato starch, with addition of psyllium fibre, xantam gum and tara gum.

I'm sending this recipe over to 100% Gluten Free (Fri)Day




Gluten-free bread rolls


Gluten-free bread rolls

* 250 g Gluten-free bread mix
* 200 g milk
* 1 egg
* 25 g butter
* 15 g honey
* 10 g fresh yeast (or 125 gluten-free sourdough starter)
* 10 g extra virgin olive oil
* 5 g salt

for brushing:
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 TBspoon milk
* mixed seeds, for garnish

Gluten-free bread rolls  Gluten-free bread rolls  Gluten-free bread rolls  Gluten-free bread rolls

Put slightly lukewarm milk into a mixing bowl (I prepared these rolls entirely mixing by hand, but you can use stand mixer with paddle attachment as well).
Dissolve the yeast and the honey in milk.
Stir in 1/3 of the flour mix.
Add the egg, the butter (melted and cooled or very soft), and the extra virgin olive oil.
Stir well with a spoon and then add the remaining flour and salt.
Work the dough (spoon or mixer) until homogeneous. NOTE: the texture is totaly different from the dough made with regular gluten flour, so don't expect the dough to come together in the same way. It is quite wet, and you don't knead it in order to develop the gluten in it. It won't be elastic or anything like that.
Cover the bowl (lid or plastic wrap) and let it ferment for about 1 hour (if using gluten-free sourdough starter it will take a bit longer, wait until the dough has doubled in volume).
Transfer the dough on a floured kneading board and divide it in 8 pieces (65-70 g each).
Delicately shape the dough to form rolls.
Place the rolls apart on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Brush the rolls with the egg wash (egg yolk beaten with milk). Cover them with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap + cotton cloth and let ferment again until doubled in size.
In the meantime, put a small pan to the bottom of your oven, and turn the oven on, to 220°C.
When the buns have doubled in size, brush them one more time with an egg wash and sprinkle with seeds of your choice, put them in the oven, throw a handful of ice cubes into the empty pan on the bottom of the oven (to create steam), lower the heat to 200°C and bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Let them cool on a colling rack before serving.
I cut one after just 10-15 minutes because I was in a hurry to take pictures, but it's much better to let the bread cool down completely before cutting or eating it (the rule that applies to all types of bread).





Gluten-free bread rolls

Panini morbidi senza glutine

(per 8 panini da 70 g circa)
* 250 g di Mix "farina" mille usi senza glutine Molino Rosetto
* 200 g di latte
* 1 uovo
* 25 g di burro
* 15 g di miele
* 10 g di lievito di birra fresco (o 125 g di lievito madre senza glutine)
* 10 g di olio extravergine d'oliva
* 5 g di sale

per spennellare:
* tuorlo
* 1 cucchiaio di latte
* semi vari (lino, girasole, papavero, sesamo), per completare

Mettete il late leggermente intiepidito nella ciotola. Scioglietevi il lievito e il miele.
Unite 1/3 della farina e mescolate con un cucchiaio di legno.
Aggiungete l'uovo, il burro fuso (o molto morbido), e l'olio.
Mescolate e aggiungete la restante farina e il sale.
Lavorate l'impasto finché diventi omogeneo. NOTA: se (come me) non avete mai fatto un impasto lievitato senza glutine, non aspettatevi che abbia lo stesso aspetto o struttura come impasti che contengono il glutine. Essendo, appunto, un impasto senza glutine, non viene lavorato a lungo, e più umido e appiccicoso, non ha l'elasticità del impasto con il glutine.
Copritelo e lasciatelo lievitare in un luogo caldo per circa 1 ora o fino al raddoppio (se usate il lievito madre, regolatevi aspettando che il volume raddoppi).
Trasferite l'impasto sulla spianatoia e dividetelo in pezzi da 65-70 ciascuno. Formate delle palline e sistematele sulla teglia ricoperta con la carta da forno.
Sbattete il tuorlo con il latte e spennellate i panini.
Coprite la teglia con un pezzo di pellicola alimentare unta leggermente con un po' di olio.
Lasciate raddoppiare i panini.
Scaldate il forno a 220°C. Mettete a scaldare sul fondo del forno anche una teglia piccola dove butterete del ghiaccio o acqua per creare il vapore.
Spennellate delicatamente (per non sgonfiarli) i panini lievitati e cospargeteli con i semi a vostra scelta.
Infornate i panini, mettete una manciata di cubetti di ghiaccio nella teglia piccola sul fondo.
Abbassate subito la temperatura a 200°C e cuocete i panini per 20 minuti circa o finché dorati.
Lasciateli raffreddare su una gratella.



Gluten-free bread rolls


Mekana peciva bez glutena

* 250 g mješavine bezglutenskog brašna za kruh
* 200 g mlijeka
* 1 jaje
* 25 g maslaca
* 15 g meda
* 10 g svježeg kvasca (ili 125 g bezglutenskog prirodnog kvasa)
* 10 g ekstradjevičanskog maslinovog ulja
* 5 g soli

za premazivanje:
* 1 žumanjak
* 1 žlica mlijeka
* razne sjemenke (sezam, lan, mak, suncokret), za posipanje

Stavite lagano umlačeno mlijeko u zdjelu za miješenje (ja sam peciva mijesila u potpunosti ručno, ali možete to napraviti i u stolnom mikseru koristeći lopaticu ili K nastavak).
Otopite namrvljeni kvasac i med u mlijeku.
Dodajte 1/3 brašna i izmiješajte.
Dodajte zatim jaje, maslac (otopljen i ohlađen ili samo jako omekšan) i maslinovo ulje.
Izmiješajte pa dodajte ostatak brašna i sol.
Miješajte tijesto dok ne dobijete ujednačeno tijesto. NAPOMENA: ako se niste dosad susretali s bezglutenskim tijestom, nemojte očekivati da ima istu teksturu (glatko i elastično) kao tijesto s glutenskim brašno. Tijesto se ne mijesi na uobičajeni način, upravo stoga što se u njemu neće razviti gluten. Dakle tijesto će biti čak dosta vlažno. Samo ga dobro izmiješajte da se sastojci povežu i da je homogeno.
Stavite tijesto u čistu, malo nauljenu zdjelu, pokrijte i ostavite da se diže na toplom oko 1 sat (ako koristite bezglutenski kvas pričekajte dok se volumen tijesta ne udvostruči).
Premjestite tijesto na lagano pobrašnjenu dasku i podijelite ga na 8 komada (teških 65-70 g svaki) i nježno, ne pritiskajući previše tijesto (koje kako sam ranije napisala nije elastično) oblikujte pravilne loptice.
Smjestite ih na pleh obložen papirom za pečenje, razmaknute.
Razmutite žumanjak s mlijekom pa premažite peciva uz pomoć kista.
Pokrijte ih malo nauljenim komadom plastične folije i pamučnom krpom i ostavite da se dižu dok se ne poduplaju (oko 1 sat ili malo manje).
U međuvremenu zagrijte pećnicu. Na dno pećnice stavite manju posudu, uključite pećnicu na 220°C.
Kad su peciva spremna, premažite ih još jedanput žumanjkom i pospite sjemenkama po želji, stavite ih u pećnicu. U prazan pleh na dnu pećnice ubacite šaku kockica leda (da dobijete paru). Smanjite odmah temperaturu na 200°C i pecite peciva oko 20 minuta ili dok ne porumene.
Ostavite ih da se ohlade na rešetki prije posluživanja.
Možete ih poslužiti za doručak ili za sendviče.

22 January, 2015

Beans and Chicory Soup

Beans and Chicory Soup

One thing I'd like to learn is to be better organized when it comes to meal planning. I can't help it. I do things impulsively. I see things like nice vegetables or other ingredients at the store, a flash starts blinking in my head, I now what I want to do with it, and then suddenly I wake up and my beautiful ingredient is about to be dumped in the garbage as it's passed to a better life. For various reasons. Sometimes it's my family that doesn't agree with my meal plan. Sometimes it's lack of time. Sometimes, Most often, it's because I forgot about it once I got home.
And this time I had in mind two different things I wanted to make. One with beans. One with chicory. They ended up in the same pot. With a surprisingly good result.
This soup may not become everyone's favourite, but I liked it a lot.
I'm leaving some space for doubt simply because I know many people hate bitter veggies, and chicory can indeed be quite bitter. That's why I combined it with beans, creamy and sweet.
My husband's reaction went from frown to delight. After tasting the first spoon he was a bit worried. His face was clearly saying, "Do I really have to eat this?" But then, having no choice, went on and spoon after spoon, began to "understand" the flavours. And in the end admitted it was particular but very good.
Before I leave you to the recipe, I'd like to spend a few words on legumes. I know that many of you keep canned beans as a staple in your pantry. I used to do the same thing.
But then I decided to change the habit for various reasons. And now what I do is cook the beans, chickpeas etc. at home, portion and freeze them. The great thing about legumes is that you can whip up a great, nutrious and cheap meal in no time if you have some precooked ones on hand. This recipe is one of those.
A few important things about legumes, though, if cooking them on your own. First, always soak them first. Depending on type of legume, but almost all of them can be left soaking overnight.  Soaking is important for several reasons. Soaking the legumes you eliminate some substances  that are not so good for us. At the same time, they become softer, so will be easier to cook later (some books and recipes suggest to add baking soda to soaking water, but it's better  not to, as baking soda will eliminate some good stuff, too). One thing you don't see is the inside of the beans that will start germinating when soaked in water, and this will result in nutritional value of the beans being even higher.
Carefully drain and rinse the legumes after soaking. The water they soaked in, is not good,  throw it away.
 Then pour some clean, cold  water in a pot, add the legumes and cook them until tender. Add some herbs, too, but remember to add salt only at the end or the skin will get too hard.
 Remember, legumes need to be cooked well, not al dente. The longer you cook them, the more toxic substances will be eliminated, and you will have less problems digesting them.
The water they were cooked in is nutricious and very good for you, so don't throw it away, use it in some way, for soups for example.
(The info about cooking legumes is from the book "Cucinare i legumi", by Giuliana Lomazzi)




Beans and Chicory Soup


Beans and Chicory Soup

* 250 g dried cannellini beans
* a bunch of chicory
* 3 cloves of garlic
* 1 rosemary twig
* 1 small onion
* 12 cherry tomatoes
* 4 slices of rustic wholewheat bread
* extra virgin olive oil
* salt and pepper

Soak the beans overnight in cold water. The next day, rinse them and put in a pot with water, 1 clove of garlig and a rosemary twig. Cook the beans until tender, about 1 hour.
Let them cool in the pot in the water they were cooked in.
Wash the chicory leaves and cut them into stripes. Heat 2 TBspoons of olive oil in a skillet and add the chicory. Season with salt, cover and cook on medium heat until softened.
Heat 4 TBspoons of extra virgin olive oil in a casserole with finely chopped garlic, onion and rosemary leaves. Add the tomatoes cut in half or quarters, season with salt and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add the chicory and the beans, with several ladles of the water they were cooked in. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes.
Toast the bread and place one slice in every soup bowl. Pour the beans soup over bread and serve.

Beans and Chicory Soup


Zuppa di cannellini e cicoria

* 250 g di cannellini secchi
* 1 mazzetto di cicoria
* 3 spicchi d'aglio
* 1 rametto di rosmarino
* 1 piccola cipolla
* 12 pomodorini ciliegia o datterini
* 4 fette di pane integrale
* olio extravergine d'oliva
* sale e pepe

Mettete a bagno i fagioli in acqua fredda per una notte.
Scolateli, sciacquateli e cuoceteli in acqua con il rosmarino e 1 spicchio d'aglio intero per circa 1 ora o finché teneri. Salateli e lasciateli raffreddare nella loro acqua di cottura.
Lavate e tagliate a strisce la cicoria. Saltatela in padella con 2 cucchiai di olio e uno spicchio d'aglio intero. Salatela, coprite e lasciate cuocere per qualche minuto.
In una pentola scaldate 4 cucchiai di olio con il trito di cipolla, uno spicchio d'aglio e qualche foglia di rosmarino. Unite i pomodorini tagliati a metà o in quarti, salate e fate cuocere per 5 minuti sul fuoco basso.
Unite la cicoria, i fagioli e qualche mestolo della loro acqua di cottura.
Fate insaporire per 10 minuti sul fuoco vivace, regolate di sale e pepate.
Tostate le fette di pane e sistematele nei piatti. Versate sopra la zuppa di fagioli e servite.

Beans and Chicory Soup


Varivo od graha i cikorije

* 250 g sitnog bijelog graha (cannellini)
* 1 svežanj cikorije
* 3 češnja bijelog luka
* 1 grančica ružmarina
* 1 mala glavica crvenog luka
* 12 cherry ili šljiva rajčica
* 4 kriške integralnog kruha
* ekstra djevičansko maslinovo ulje
* sol i papar

Namočite grah u hladnoj vodi preko noći. Ujutro ga ocijedite i isperite pa stavite kuhati u novoj vodi u koju dodajte jedan češanj bijelog luka i grančicu ružmarina.
Kuhajte grah oko 1 sat ili dok nije kuhan.
Ostavite ga da se ohladi u vodi u kojoj se kuhao.
Cikoriju operite, i narežite listove na trake. Zagrijte u tavi 2 žlice maslinovog ulja i 1 češanj bijelog luka. Dodajte cikoriju, propirjajte je, posolite i kuhajte par minuta pokrivenu da odmekne.
Zagrijte 4 žlice maslinovog ulja u loncu, sa sitno nasjeckanim češnjem bijelog luka, crvenim lukom i par listića ružmarina. Dodajte rajčice, prepolovljene ili narezane na četvero. Kuhajte oko 5 minuta na srednje jakoj vatri. Dodajte cikoriju i grah, i nekoliko grabilica vode u kojoj se kuhao grah. Kuhajte sve skupa oko 10 minuta da se okusi prožmu.
Prepecite kriške kruha i stavite po jednu u svaki tanjur. Rasporedite varivo od graha u tanjure i poslužite.



Chicory
Chicory