Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

Some of you asked me about the recipe for the Italian Cheesecake (made with ricotta) always served in italian restaurants, that is lighter, airy and fluffier than the american one, so I made for you a little research and some tests to find the best one.


best italian cheesecake ricotta mascarpone fluffy soft

I personally like more the NewYork Cheesecake version (you can find the best recipe ever here) because it kinda reminds me my beloved journeys to the U.S., but whichever you prefer, if you’ll make this italian Cheesecake you’ll love it so much that you’ll have to restrain yourself from not eating the entire cake! (I’m not joking, me and my husband ate it in just 2 days and we fought for the last slice…)

The first two recipes I tried, provide for just ricotta as a main ingredient but, although the flavors were lovely, they didn’t send me to the moon because the texture was a bit grainy and less smooth.

So I swapped out half of ricotta for mascarpone cheese, known for its silky texture and its sweet taste. And that’s when I found the best version. Smooth, lighter but rich in flavour, so fluffy and delicate, just amazing! Especially when eaten after an overnight rest (covered and refrigerated), so the flavors have time to blend, as for every cheesecake. After 2 days in the fridge it’s even better, but who can wait for 2 days to eat it?!

So this is my “go to” italian cheesecake, definitely your sweet tooth will be satisfied!

best italian cheese cake ricotta mascarpone sliced

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Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 8-12 servings

Ingredients:

for the base:

  • 200 gr / 2 cups / 7 oz graham crackers finely crushed (I use the classic italian cookies Oro Saiwa)
  • 30-50 gr / 1/8-1/4 cup / 1-2 oz sugar (I use 30 gr)
  • 110 gr / 1/2 cup / 4 oz unsalted butter

for the filling:

  • 250 gr / 1 1/8 cups / 9 oz whole milk ricotta (cow or sheep or mixed, I use both mixed because the cheesecake will be tastier)
  • 250 gr / 1 1/8 cups / 9 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 100-120 gr / 1/2-3/4 cup / 3.5-4.5 oz sugar (I use 100 gr)
  • 1/2 vanilla pod or 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (10 gr) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt

for the topping:

  • fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces….

Instructions:

Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you star mixing the filling.

If ricotta is too watery put it in a sieve or a cheesecloth set over a bowl for at least 30 minutes, but I’ve never had to do this so just drain it when you see that it loses liquid.

Grease with a no-stick spray or some butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan or use a sheet of baking paper.

italian cheesecake silicon springform pan

As you can see, I use a silicone springform pan, it’s perfect for cheesecakes!

To make the crust, mix the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Press this mixture over the bottom of the springform pan and about 2,5 cm / 1 inch up the sides.

italian cheese cake oro saiwa

Classic Italian cookies for cheese cake – they don’t contain eggs

Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.

Using an electric mixer beat ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch just until smooth (do not over beat!).

Add egg yolks one at a time and beat for no more than 30 seconds each, to avoid the cheesecake to crack in the oven.

If used, split half the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them (or the vanilla extract) into the batter and combine.

In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.

italian cheesecake egg whites firm

Add whipped egg whites to the ricotta and mascarpone batter.

italian cheese cake batter complete

Mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon or spatula to avoid undoing the whipping of the egg whites (if you want a less fluffier cake, put no whipped egg whites together with the yolks).

italian cheesecake batter springform pan

Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and level the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

italian cheesecake batter leveled springform pan

Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 and bake for about 90 minutes, when the top is lightly golden and/or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 20 minutes, then remove the cake and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.

best authentic italian cheese cake torta ricotta baked top

Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight. Don’t eat it if it’s not chilled well because it will not taste like a cheesecake but like a mousse (well… it wouldn’t be so bad though, right?).

italian cheesecake baked side

Serve the italian cheesecake with fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces or whatever you like! (I usually use a blueberry jam and some mixed preserved berries to garnish).

best italian cheese cake topped blueberry sauce

best italian cheesecake ricotta mascarpone authentic

perfect italian cheese cake ricotta mascarpone soft fluffy

As you can see from the pictures, the inside of my cheesecake is yellow but that’s why I used eggs with orange yolk, so if you use normal eggs the cheesecake will be as white as usual. Enjoy!

best italian cheese cake torta ricotta mascarpone airy soft

Authentic Italian Cheesecake (Torta di Ricotta e Mascarpone)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Classic Italian Cheesecake with ricotta and mascarpone, smooth and lighter but rich in flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
for the base:
  • 200 gr / 2 cups / 7 oz graham crackers finely crushed (I use the classic italian cookies Oro Saiwa)
  • 30-50 gr / ⅛-1/4 cup / 1-2 oz sugar (I use 30 gr)
  • 110 gr / ½ cup / 4 oz unsalted butter
for the filling:
  • 250 gr / 1⅛ cups / 9 oz whole milk ricotta (cow or sheep or mixed, I use both mixed because the cheesecake will be tastier)
  • 250 gr / 1⅛ cups / 9 oz mascarpone cheese
  • 100-120 gr / ½-3/4 cup / 3.5-4.5 oz sugar (I use 100 gr)
  • ½ vanilla pod or 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp (10 gr) cornstarch or potato starch
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt
for the topping:
  • fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces....
Instructions
  1. Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you star mixing the filling.
  2. If ricotta is too watery put it in a sieve or a cheesecloth set over a bowl for at least 30 minutes, but I've never had to do this so just drain it when you see that it loses liquid.
  3. Grease with a no-stick spray or some butter the bottom and sides of a 23 cm / 9 inch springform pan or use a sheet of baking paper.
  4. To make the crust, mix the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and melted butter until combined. Press this mixture over the bottom of the springform pan and about 2,5 cm / 1 inch up the sides.
  5. Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
  6. Using an electric mixer beat ricotta, mascarpone, sugar and cornstarch just until smooth (do not over beat!).
  7. Add egg yolks one at a time and beat for no more than 30 seconds each, to avoid the cheesecake to crack in the oven.
  8. If used, split half the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. Add them (or the vanilla extract) into the batter and combine.
  9. In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.
  10. Add whipped egg whites to the ricotta and mascarpone batter.
  11. Mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon or spatula to avoid undoing the whipping of the egg whites (if you want a less fluffier cake, put no whipped egg whites together with the yolks).
  12. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and level the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
  13. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C / 300°F / gas mark 2 and bake for about 90 minutes, when the top is lightly golden and/or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar for 20 minutes, then remove the cake and let cool to room temperature before covering with plastic wrap.
  14. Refrigerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
  15. Serve the italian cheesecake with fresh fruit, fruit sauces, chocolate sauces or whatever you like!

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

Thinking of a famous dessert you can find in almost every italian restaurant, I remembered how my grandmothers use to do it, with simple and easy available ingredients. I’ve made several tests to achieve a perfect result because unfortunately I didn’t have a recipe in hand….. so now let’s talk about a delicious, creamy, delicate and authentic gelatin-free Panna Cotta!


authentic gelatin-free panna cotta best perfect italian

Panna Cotta (pron. pun-nuh cot-tuh – means “cooked cream”) is a great italian dessert, born in the Piedmont region and then widespread all over Italy, generally made from cream, set with gelatine, served chilled and topped with chocolate, wild berries or caramel sauce.

But some time ago people didn’t have widely available gelatin in their pantry and they used egg whites instead. So this recipe can be useful to use up leftover egg whites instead of throwing them away (you can freeze extra egg whites and defrost them in the fridge when you’re ready to use them).

Today you can find gelatin in every grocery store and you can do Panna Cotta easily in few minutes, but I like this traditional Panna Cotta recipe the most because I think it has the real Panna Cotta taste.

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Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 5 minutes + cooling time Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 4

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml double / heavy cream (2+1/3 cup)
  • 150 gr egg whites (about 5 medium eggs, but try to be precise) *
  • 80/100 gr granulated white sugar (I use 80 gr / 3 oz) *
  • 1/2 empty vanilla pod or 1/4 vanilla pod with seeds

(*I prefer to not convert these ingredients in volume measures because in desserts the weights are essential for the final result)

Instructions:

Place the cream, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool.

cream vanilla pod sugar panna cotta

Preheat oven to 300°F – 150°C – gas mark 2.

In a bowl beat the egg whites with a fork, paying attention to not create foam or bubbles or your Panna Cotta will come out with holes, until the whites are become liquid quite like water and have lost elasticity. If you can find them at the grocery store, use pasteurized egg whites that are better because they usually are perfectly liquid.

Update: a reader commented saying that she used an immersion blender to beat the egg whites instead of a fork. It took about 15 seconds to make the texture like water, and by keeping the whole blade under the surface it made no bubbles.

egg whites bubbles

Add egg whites to the cream mixture (as you can see from the picture above, I created foam, because I was in a hurry, but I resolved by using a sieve in adding egg whites to the cream mixture and it also stopped any egg whites impurities).

Mix well with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered non-stick moulds.

panna cotta mixture mould

Immediately, pour boiling water into a baking pan until the water level reach 3/4 of the moulds.

panna cotta boiling water

Place the moulds in the pan (bain-marie method).

panna cotta moulds baking pan

The picture may show 1/3, but the boiling water has to reach 3/4 of the moulds height.

Bake at 300°F – 150°C – gas mark 2 for 1 1/2 hour (90 minutes) or until the surface is golden brown.
If you bake Panna Cotta at 275°F – 140°C – gas mark 1 you would need about 2 hours and the surface will be less coloured.

Turn off the oven and let cool Panna Cotta completely inside it before covering the moulds with plastic wrap.

panna cotta baked

Refrigerate several hours (at least 4).

To serve, unmould the Panna Cotta by passing a thin knife, or a long needle, heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. Turn each Panna Cotta out onto a dessert plate holding the base with a warm cloth to help the release. If you don’t like the soft brown crust at the end of Panna Cotta, remove it before serving.

Spoon your favourite sauce or fresh fruit over or just dust with some icing sugar.

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta italian best

Ooops! Sorry, I couldn’t wait! 😉

authentic gelatin-free panna cotta eat best

And now you have your creamy, hearty, authentic Panna Cotta! Yes, it’s a bit long recipe but really worth the results!

Authentic Gelatin-Free Panna Cotta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Creamy, hearty, authentic Panna Cotta!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 ml double / heavy cream (2+1/3 cup)
  • 150 gr egg whites (about 5 medium eggs, but try to be precise) *
  • 80/100 gr granulated white sugar (I use 80 gr / 3 oz) *
  • ½ empty vanilla pod or ¼ vanilla pod with seeds
Instructions
  1. Place the cream, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to the simmer.
  2. Remove from heat, remove the vanilla pod and let cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 300°F - 150°C - gas mark 2.
  4. In a bowl beat the egg whites with a fork, paying attention to not create foam or bubbles or your Panna Cotta will come out with holes, until the whites are become liquid quite like water and have lost elasticity.
  5. Add egg whites to the cream mixture..
  6. Mix well with a fork and divide the mixture among buttered non-stick moulds.
  7. Immediately, pour boiling water into a baking pan until the water level reach ¾ of the moulds.
  8. Place the moulds into the pan (bain-marie method).
  9. Bake at 300°F - 150°C - gas mark 2 for 1½ hour (90 minutes) or until the surface is golden brown. If you bake Panna Cotta at 275°F - 140°C - gas mark 1 you would need about 2 hours and the surface will be less coloured.
  10. Turn off the oven and let cool Panna Cotta completely inside it before covering the moulds with plastic wrap.
  11. Refrigerate several hours (at least 4).
  12. To serve, unmould the Panna Cotta by passing a thin knife, or a long needle, heated in boiling water around the inside of each one. Turn each Panna Cotta out onto a dessert plate holding the base with a warm cloth to help the release.
  13. If you don't like the soft brown crust at the end of Panna Cotta, remove it before serving.
  14. Spoon your favourite sauce or fresh fruit over or just dust with some icing sugar.

Calf’s Liver Venetian Style (Fegato alla Veneziana)

AUTHENTIC FEGATO ALLA VENEZIANA (CALF’S LIVER VENETIAN STYLE)

Fegato alla Veneziana (pron. Fay-gah-toe Ah-lah Vay-nez-e-ah-nah*) is one of the most traditional Venetian dishes known all over the world for its simplicity and above all because it’s appreciated even by those who don’t like eating liver.


fegato alla veneziana calf liver venetian style perfect best

I’m one of them, even if I’m born in a land where offal parts are a strong presence in the traditional cousine, but I don’t like most of them, one in particular: liver (well, at least until I tried this recipe) 😀 .

I cannot stand its strong bitter taste. Maybe because when I was young a friend of mine gave me for the first time a plain boiled liver (for me the worst thing on earth to eat!) and I remember that I covered it with a lot of ketchup to be able to chew it because I didn’t want to give a bad impression for having not eaten it.

The second time in my life I ate liver was definitely better. I went to Tuscany and they served me Chichen Liver Patè on Crostini. I realized that was liver patè at the end of the meal, but it tasted good (you have to treat livers with a special treatment so they lose a bit of their bitterness – try this amazing Crostini recipe).

The third time I ate liver was the best, and was with the recipe I’m showing you today.

Because I want that my son tastes all kind of dishes, even those that I don’t like, I bought a Calf’s liver (the best and healthy between livers).
I followed the Venetian style recipe… I taste it out of curiosity…. and I was amazed! I really liked it a lot!
And above all it doesn’t taste like liver at all! The meat it’s so tender and the sweet onions are the perfect combination!

Have I said that it’s a lot cheaper than other meats? That doesn’t hurt, right? So try it and let me know!

Calf’s Liver Venetian Style (Fegato alla Veneziana)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound / 250 gr calf’s liver (or pork)
  • 1/2 pound / 250 gr white onions
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Cut the onion into thin slices (here it’s called venetian style).

cutting onion sliced onion

Trim the covering membrane, blood vessels and any blemishes from the liver (these parts would become tough after the cooking process).

trim skin liver

Cut the liver into about 2L x 1/2h x 1/2w inch or 5L x 1h x 1w cm strips, but I know that it’s a little bit tricky to cut them into even pieces so keep this just as an example.

cut liver strips If you want the dish to have a thicker sauce and to make the liver softer, flour the strips and set aside.

liver in flour In a skillet (preferably non-stick) large enough to hold the onions and the strips of liver in a single layer, add oil and butter over a medium-high heat.

Add onions, white wine, season with salt and reduce the heat to medium-low (wine will give a mild flavour and a sweeter taste to the onions, you can skip it if you want a stronger flavour).

Cook the onions covered, stirring often to avoid them from sticking (if necessary add some water), until they are soft and fully cooked (about 20 minutes, it depends on how thin you cut the slices).

cooked onion Increase the heat to high and add the strips of liver along with the vinegar, stirring and tossing them constantly until browned outside and to your taste (if you want a medium rare liver cook it for 3 minutes) but no more than 6-7 minutes (starting from a fridge-cold meat) to avoid to eat a rubbery liver (I like it well done so I cooked the liver for 6 minutes and it was really tender anyway).

As you read before, I salted the onions so there’s no necessary to use more salt on the liver, but check the seasoning anyway and add salt, if you want, only at the end because it dehydrates the liver and makes it hard and stringy.

Add parsley and serve immediately.
calf liver venetian style

Traditionally, Calf’s Liver Venetian Style is served alongside with polenta but since we’re going to the warm weather it would be also good with a fresh and crunchy salad to balance with the liver tenderness.

Calf's Liver Venetian Style (Fegato alla Veneziana)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An authentic Italian healthy offal recipe that even children will love!
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound / 250 gr calf's liver (or pork)
  • ½ pound / 250 gr white onions
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • a bunch of fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the onion into thin slices (here it's called Venetian style).
  2. Trim the covering membrane, blood vessels and any blemishes from the liver (these parts would become tough after the cooking process).
  3. Cut the liver into about 2L x ½h x ½w inch or 5L x 1h x 1w cm strips, but I know that it's a little bit tricky to cut them into even pieces so keep this just as an example.
  4. If you want the dish to have a thicker sauce and to make the liver softer, flour the strips and set aside.
  5. In a skillet (preferably non-stick) large enough to hold the onions and the strips of liver in a single layer, add oil and butter over a medium-high heat.
  6. Add onions, white wine, season with salt and reduce the heat to medium-low (wine will give a mild flavour and a sweeter taste to the onions, you can skip it if you want a stronger flavour).
  7. Cook the onion covered, stirring often to avoid them from sticking (if necessary add some water), until they are soft and fully cooked (about 20 minutes, it depends on how thin you cut the slices).
  8. Increase the heat to high and add the strips of liver along with the vinegar, stirring and tossing them constantly until browned outside and to your taste (if you want a medium rare liver cook it for 3 minutes) but no more than 6-7 minutes (starting from a fridge-cold meat) to avoid to eat a rubbery liver (I like it well done so I cooked the liver for 6 minutes and it was really tender anyway).
  9. Check the seasoning and add salt, if you want, only at the end because it dehydrates the liver and makes it hard and stringy.
  10. Add parsley and serve immediately.

Potato Gnocchi: authentic, best and fool-proof recipe, firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy… simply delicious!

Stop looking elsewhere. Here you’ve found the best and fool-proof Gnocchi recipe ever. Yes, now you can make authentic Italian Gnocchi like a fine restaurant (or even better) with no fuss, I promise. (comments below can confirm that)


Potato Gnocchi best italian soft firm tender not chewy

If you don’t know what they are, Gnocchi (nyoh-k-kee) are a typical italian pasta, they can be prepared with different flours like semolina but the most popular are those made with potatoes.

Here in Italy you can easily find good quality fresh Gnocchi at the grocery store, but making them at home it’s always comforting…. especially when you’re stuck at home with your son ill and you have only some potatoes and eggs in your pantry, like me today 😀 .

I don’t like gum-like Gnocchi, they are too chewy for me, and I like to make them little, so when you eat them you can taste the sauce better, but they’re easy to make so you can choose the size you want – little Gnocchi are also called “Chicche” (kee-k-kay).

Have a try at them because is not the hardest pasta to make if you follow my instructions (as instead many people say that). Those which haven’t been successful in making gnocchi is just because they were in lack of information, trust me!

parmigiano reggiano discount

So here is my best version for delicious Potato Gnocchi!

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30-40 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6-7 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • 2/3 cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area

Gnocchi Ingredients

Instructions:

Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes. For me this is the best cooking method because most of the water will evaporate in the cooking process and this will prevent to use too much flour in the dough thus avoiding rubbery Gnocchi.

If you don’t have a microwave just rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don’t absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.

Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.

Let them cool a bit.

(If you cook potatoes in a pot with water wait the next day to make gnocchi or try to dry them a bit in the oven)

Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.

Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it’s still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!

Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form 3/4 inch – 2 cm in diameter ropes.

Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation (this is a bit difficult to explain with words but there a lot of videos on the Web so you can watch them until I have time to make one by myself) or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.

potato gnocchi rolls

Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.

Let them rest for 15 minutes.

potato gnocchi best authentic

If you want you can freeze them with the plate and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag to leave more space in the freezer.

To cook Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.

Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.

When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.

Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

If you don’t serve them immediately, remember to sprinkle Gnocchi with a little bit of olive oil and give a little stir. When you want to serve Gnocchi just put your favourite sauce in a pan, heat up and put them in to combine for less than 30 seconds.

potato gnocchi ragu bolognese

As shown above, I used my Ultimate Best Authentic Bolognese Sauce but they’re really good too with just a melted butter and sage sauce like I did for my son.

potato gnocchi butter sage

Potato Gnocchi: firm outside with a delicate and soft texture inside, not chewy, not soggy... simply delicious!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best Authentic Italian Gnocchi recipe, fool-proof, easy and super delicious.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs / 1,4 kg raw potatoes not peeled, suitable for gnocchi (starchy or old potatoes not waxy)
  • 2 egg yolks (medium)
  • 3 tbsp / 30 grams / 1 ounce potato starch
  • ⅔ cup / 50 grams / 1.8 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (finely grated)
  • 2 tsp / 15 grams salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 cup / 130 grams / 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (sifted) plus more to put on the working area
Instructions
  1. Rinse, peel and cut potatoes into little pieces and put them in a microwave steamer for about 15 minutes.
OR
  1. Rinse potatoes, leave the peel (so they don't absorb too much water) put them in a pot filled with water and boil until fork-tender. While still warm, peel the potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes with a fork or a potato masher and put them in a big bowl.
  3. Let them cool a bit.
  4. Add egg yolks, potato starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Cheese, a pinch of grated nutmeg (if you like), salt and flour.
  5. Knead gently until a nice pliable ball is formed, do not over knead. It has to be soft and not too much sticky. If it's still a bit damp add some more flour, not too much though!
  6. Immediately dust with flour your working area, take a piece of the dough at a time and gently roll each out to form ¾ inch - 2 cm in diameter ropes.
  7. Cut the ropes into about 1 inch / 2,5 cm pieces (it depends on what size you want your Gnocchi), lightly press and roll each pieces into the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board with the tip of your thumb to make a small indentation or you can skip this passage and leave gnocchi as is.
  8. Put Gnocchi, divided from each other, over a well floured plate to avoid from sticking together.
  9. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
  10. To cook Gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil and add a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to avoid them from sticking while cooking.
  11. Drop Gnocchi (both fresh or frozen), a few at a time, into the boiling water, make a little stir.
  12. When they rise to the surface, immediately remove and drain them with a slotted spoon and put onto the serving dish.
  13. Put pasta sauce over them and serve immediately.

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Tenerina (pron. teh-nay-ree-nuh) is the most traditional chocolate pie in Emilia-Romagna and it’s typical of the town of Ferrara along with Cappellacci di zucca (egg pasta filled with butternut squash), Salama da sugo (boiled red wine cured salami) and its famous bread.


tenerina pie cake best italian ferrara chocolate tender heart

This pie was created in the early 1900 by Ferrara’s gourmands in honor of Elena Petrovich, queen of Montenegro, that married the king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III (she was a sweet queen with a tender heart).

tenerina cake pie sugar chocholate

You can find Tenerina in every restaurant in the town but few of them make it perfect, so you better try this at home instead, it’s wonderful!

From the pictures you would say that it’s like a brownie or a flourless chocolate cake but it has nothing to compare with them.
Outside is slightly crispy like a chocolate meringue while inside is rich, quite moist, tender and has a delicate texture, not dense nor heavy, that melts in your mouth. A real paradise for chocolate lovers (even if the pictures doesn’t show that).

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams / 7 ounces butter (at room temperature/soft)
  • 160-200 grams /5.7-7 ounces sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 medium or 6 small eggs
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces quality dark chocolate (50-60%)
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to taste

(I prefer to not convert these ingredients in volume measures because in desserts the weights are essential for the final result)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / gas mark 2 (convention oven is best).

Put the chocolate in a pirex bowl and microwave at 500w for 3-4 minutes, mix with a spoon and then microwave again for another minute or two until chocolate is melted.

chocholate chunk

In a bowl mix sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until it seems a custard. Add flour and mix again until all lumps are gone.

Add melted chocolate (not too hot) to the mixture and quickly mix until smooth.

In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.

egg whites firm

Add whipped egg whites to the chocolate custard one spoon at time, mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon to avoid undoing the whipping of the eggs whites. Proceed this way until the egg whites are finished.

Grease a 13” / 32 cm round pie pan with butter and cover with a little of flour or spray with a non-stick spray or use a baking sheet.
To avoid the pie from cracking after baking, I use a baking sheet only at the base with two little flaps and I use a non-stick spray on the pan sides. When I remove the pie from the pan I pull the flaps until the pie is on a plate, but it’s normal that the crust breaks a bit, it’s like a meringue.

Bake the pie for 45 minutes, but you can see the perfect cooking time when the circle of little bubbles (that you can see in the photo below) shrink into a ≈ 4 inches / 10 cm diameter. So the center will be a little tender but cooked (and this is one of its distinctive features).

You can make it look prettier by using powdered sugar on top or by adding some mascarpone custard on the side, but the rich taste and delicate texture are what make the Tenerina a winner.

tenerina slice cake pie

You can do a smaller Tenerina by dividing in two the ingredients (use 3 medium eggs). You can also use single-serving baking cups for an elegant touch.

Tenerina: tender, rich and delicate chocolate pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delicious cake that even no chocoholics will love!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces butter (at room temperature/soft)
  • 160-200 grams /5.7-7 ounces sugar
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 medium or 6 small eggs
  • 400 grams / 14 ounces quality dark chocolate (50-60%)
  • a pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150ºC / 300ºF / gas mark 2 (convention oven is best).
  2. Put the chocolate in a pirex bowl and microwave at 500w for 3-4 minutes, mix with a spoon and then microwave again for another minute or two until chocolate is melted.
  3. In a bowl mix sugar and butter until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Add egg yolks and mix until it seems a custard.
  4. Add flour and mix again until all lumps are gone.
  5. Add melted chocolate (not too hot) to the mixture and quickly mix until smooth.
  6. In a separate high bowl whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until forming stiff and firm peaks.
  7. Add whipped egg whites to the chocolate custard one spoon at time, mix slowly with an upward movement of the spoon to avoid undoing the whipping of the eggs whites.
  8. Proceed this way until the egg whites are finished.
  9. Grease a 13'' / 32 cm round pie pan with butter and cover with a little of flour or spray with a non-stick spray or use a baking sheet.
  10. Bake the pie for 45 minutes, but you can see the perfect cooking time when the circle of little bubbles (that you can see in the photo below) shrink into a ≈ 4 inches / 10 cm diameter. So the center will be a little tender but cooked (and this is one of its distinctive features).
  11. You can make it look prettier by using powdered sugar on top or by adding some mascarpone custard on the side.