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!

Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

An easy Italian pasta recipe for an impressive dish that can be prepared in advance for a great dinner with guests! And, as every recipe in my blog, that’s the best Gnocchi alla Romana recipe that I know of, so it’s a keeper!


roman style gnocchi semolina best easy romana perfect

Gnocchi alla Romana (pron. nyoh-k-kee uh-L-luh rome-uh-nuh) is a typical italian recipe from Lazio region and especially, as the name suggests it, from the city of Rome.

Gnocchi always scare a lot of people, because it’s said that they’re not easy to make, but these Gnocchi are not like those made with potatoes or ricotta but are made with semolina flour so it’s easier to deal with (have you tried my delicious Potato Gnocchi recipesuper easy even for a newbie!).

Here you just need to cook semolina flour into some milk and then spread the dough over a silpat or a baking paper and leave it too cool before shaping and cooking. Therefore super easy and quick!

best roman style gnocchi semolina

The classic Roman-Style Gnocchi recipe provide for a butter and cheese sauce but they can be served with a delicious Bechamèl sauce, a Mornay Sauce, or a sauce mixed with some ham, bacon or pancetta or with your favourite vegetables. In the dough you can also put some chopped greens such as spinach, nettle, chicory, etc.. So you can use your imagination and customize this dish to your liking!

You can also have fun choosing the form for these Gnocchi alla Romana! In Rome they usually shape gnocchi in circles while outside they use to cut the dough in squares or in rhombus. But nobody forbid you to create these semolina gnocchi in the shape that you want and you can even put the dough into a piping bag with a large tip and make some roses or something like that.

I adapted this recipe from an italian chef called Montersino and I like it because these Gnocchi alla Romana are not tough like others but tender inside with a thin crunchy crust and tastier!

So great results with low efforts! What more?

semolina gnocchi best recipe

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Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr / 8.8 oz/ 1 1/2 cup semolina flour (or semola rimacinata di grano duro)
  • 1 lt / 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100 gr / 3.5 oz / 3/4 cup butter (at fridge temperature)
  • 140 gr / 5 oz / 1 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated + more for baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg

romana roman style gnocchi ingredients

Instructions:

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a lightly simmer, then add salt, nutmeg and semolina flour then stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps.
Continue to stir with a wooden spoon and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. The mixture should be like some thick and firm mashed potatoes.

romana roman style gnocchi milk semolina

Remove from heat and add cold butter.

romana roman style gnocchi semolina butter

Add Parmigiano cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is melted and absorbed.

romana roman style gnocchi semolina parmigiano

Quickly add the egg and yolks and stir until all is well mixed.

Now you need to choose the shape of your Gnocchi.

(If you want to use a piping bag, immediately put the dough in it because as it cools it will be not so easy to pipe)

Put the dough over a silpat or a baking paper, cover with a cling film or plastic wrap or another silpat and roll with a rolling-pin until it’s flattened to about 1-2 cm / 0.40-0.80 inches.

roman style gnocchi semolina dough

Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

roman style gnocchi semolina flat dough

As you can see from the picture above, I rolled half the dough into a rope to freeze it (I don’t have a big freezer), because the dough was too much for the three of us. Don’t do a rope if you don’t freeze it, because this dough is not tough enough to cut a neat slice. If you freeze the rope-dough, slice it right away when removed from the freezer (and bake as soon as you can).

Once cooled in the fridge, you can cut the dough in circles with a round pastry cutter (5-8 cm / 2-3 inches Ø) or in squares or rhombus with a knife. It the dough has not cooled enough and it’s sticky, plunge the cutter into some water to help you (or brush it with some extra virgin olive oil).

making roman style gnocchi

If you choose the classic form (circle) you can put the remaining pieces of dough under the circle ones in the baking pan. If the dough is still soft and mixable you can re-knead what is left and roll out again to make other Gnocchi.

Spread butter onto one or more casserole (to make some single serving dishes) or onto a baking pan.

Line up Gnocchi into the pan and, if you like, overlap them a bit.

Sprinkle some more Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese over Gnocchi.

roman style gnocchi ready bake

Pour some melted butter on.

roman style gnocchi semolina bake butter

Bake at 200°C / 425°F / gas mark 7 for about 20-30 minutes.

At the end, if Gnocchi don’t have a golden crust, just switch to the broil/grill setting for a couple of minutes.

And Roman-Style Gnocchi with semolina flour are ready to be served and gobbled up!

italian gnocchi roman style easy best

Roman-Style Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana) with Semolina Flour
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Best authentic Italian Gnocchi alla Romana recipe.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 250 gr / 8.8 oz/ 1½ cup semolina flour (or semola rimacinata di grano duro)
  • 1 lt / 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 100 gr / 3.5 oz / ¾ cup butter (at fridge temperature)
  • 140 gr / 5 oz / 1¾ cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated + more for baking
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • a pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a lightly simmer, then add salt, nutmeg and semolina flour then stir well with a whisk to avoid lumps.
  2. Continue to stir with a wooden spoon and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. The mixture should be like some thick and firm mashed potatoes.
  3. Remove from heat and add cold butter.
  4. Add Parmigiano cheese and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter is melted and absorbed.
  5. Quickly add the egg and yolks and stir until all is well mixed.
  6. Put the dough over a silpat or a baking paper, cover with a cling film or plastic wrap or another silpat and roll with a rolling-pin until it's flattened to about 1-2 cm / 0.40-0.80 inches.
  7. Leave to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  8. Once cooled in the fridge, you can cut the dough in circles with a round pastry cutter (5-8 cm / 2-3 inches Ø) or in squares or rhombus with a knife. It the dough has not cooled enough and it's sticky, plunge the cutter into some water to help you (or brush it with some extra virgin olive oil).
  9. If you choose the classic form (circle) you can put the remaining pieces of dough under the circle ones in the baking pan. If the dough is still soft and mixable you can re-knead what is left and roll out again to make other Gnocchi.
  10. Spread butter onto one or more casserole (to make some single serving dishes) or onto a baking pan.
  11. Line up Gnocchi into the pan and, if you like, overlap them a bit.
  12. Sprinkle some more Parmigiano Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano cheese over Gnocchi.
  13. Pour some melted butter on.
  14. Bake at 200°C / 425°F / gas mark 7 for about 20-30 minutes.
  15. At the end, if Gnocchi don't have a golden crust, just switch to the broil/grill setting for a couple of minutes.

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.

Béchamel Sauce (Besciamella) and my foolproof lump-free process

Béchamel Sauce or Besciamella in italian (beh-shuh-mel-luh), is one of the mother sauces of the french and italian cuisine but it’s also known as white sauce.
For someone it may be a little tricky because sometimes it turns out a bit lumpy, but trust me and follow my quick recipe and tips for a perfect foolproof lump-free sauce, Besciamella is a really simple and versatile sauce!


bechamel sauce besciamella best lump free

History tells that an earlier version of Besciamella was born in Tuscany named as “Salsa Colla” (Glue Sauce), consisted in slow cooked milk with meat broth, spices and cream, then it was imported in France (together to several other recipes like onion soup) by Catherine de’ Medici, the wife of King Henry II of France, and then was modified by a chef in honour of the “marquis de Béchamel”, who held the honorary post of chief steward to Louis XIV.

Nowadays, in Italy, Besciamella is most used in the Emilian cuisine especially in the Lasagne recipe, Cannelloni, Pasta al Forno (baked pasta) and 4 cheeses pasta.

But it’s also used with vegetables such as baked cauliflowers or broccoli (for that recipe I like to use a more flavorful sauce: bechamel plus egg yolks, cream and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – called by chefs Mornay sauce – recipe in a next post).

Béchamel is made by melting butter with equal parts of flour in order to make a roux, which is cooked under low heat while stirring with a whisk and, because it’s a white sauce, you have to pay attention to not over brown the roux (a dark brown roux is usually used to thick roasted meats or stews so they will have more flavour, albeit less thickening power).

The roux is then mixed with nutmeg, heated milk, and it’s customary in Italy, especially in Emilia-Romagna, to add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese inside for a better taste. Then the sauce is cooked until thickened and smooth.

So, the final thickness of the sauce depends from the proportion between roux and milk and the cooking time, so if you want a more liquid Besciamella reduce the amount of roux, otherwise add more roux.

Béchamel Sauce (Besciamella) and my foolproof lump-free process

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 1 minute Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: ≈4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/4 cups / 1 lt milk (preferably not skimmed)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr unsalted butter
  • 2-3 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

Note: these quantities of butter and flour produce a medium-thick Béchamel, suitable for Lasagne or as a base for other sauces (generally you can use one to three tablespoons each of flour and butter per cup of milk – e.g. one tbsp of each for a thin sauce while three tbsp of each for an extra thick sauce).

Instructions:

In a medium saucepan heat the milk with salt until little bubbling, then remove from heat or you can heat milk in microwave to save time (pre-heating the milk will reduce the time of stirring and controlling the sauce while cooking).

butter flour

In another pan, melt the butter until foaming. Remove from heat, add flour, stir well with a whisk or a spoon and return to heat (if you don’t remove from heat the pan, the flour will cook too fast and lumps can be too difficult to dissolve).

roux

Every minute (or when necessary) stir with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the roux is blond/light gold and smooth (to me it took about 10-12 minutes), paying attention to not over brown it.

roux 2

Quickly add the nutmeg and mix well (adding nutmeg in the roux instead of in the milk will avoid the nutmeg to clump on the skin of the milk), remove from heat.

roux nutmeg

With one movement put all the roux into the scalded milk (into a saucepan). Stir with a whisk until smooth.

roux milk

Return to heat and simmer Besciamella, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (or a whisk), until sauce comes to a boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes).

Wait 2-3 minutes (to allow flour to cook better) and then remove from heat (this will prevent the sauce from taste floury).

If desired add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir a little bit.

Your perfectly smooth Besciamella is ready to be used however you like! (use it immediately as long as it’s hot, so it’s easier to deal with).

besciamella authentic italian lasagne

Béchamel Sauce (Besciamella) and my foolproof lump-free process
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A quick recipe and tips for a perfect foolproof lump-free sauce, Besciamella is a really simple and versatile sauce.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4¼ cups / 1 lt milk (preferably not skimmed)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 8 tbsp / 80 gr unsalted butter
  • 2-3 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan heat the milk with salt until little bubbling or you can heat milk in microwave to save time.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. In another pan, melt the butter until foaming.
  4. Remove from heat, add flour, stir well with a whisk or a spoon and return to heat.
  5. Every minute (or when necessary) stir with a wooden spoon over a low heat until the roux is blond/light gold and smooth (to me it took about 10-12 minutes), paying attention to not over brown it.
  6. Quickly add the nutmeg and mix well.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. With one movement put all the roux into the scalded milk (into a saucepan).
  9. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
  10. Return to heat and simmer Besciamella, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (or a whisk), until sauce comes to a boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes).
  11. Wait 2-3 minutes (to allow flour to cook better) and then remove from heat (this will prevent the sauce from taste floury).
  12. If desired add Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir a little bit.

Italian Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli… or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci, Galani, Grostoli, Bugie…

AUTHENTIC ITALIAN CARNIVAL SWEET FRITTERS

These are my favourite Carnival Sweet Fritters ever! Crispy but light and no greasy at all thanks to vinegar added in. I could eat them all day long!


crostoli chiacchiere frappe sfrappole galani carnival sweet fritters italian

Here in Italy is not the right time to start a diet (or at least for me), because it’s Carnival time!
During this time we are used to eat/make typical Italian sweet fritters, among which there are, what I call, Crostoli (cross-toh-lee), but as you can see from the title, depending on what town you are in Italy, they’re called with different names.

from Wikipedia:
Carnival, or Carnivale, is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party.
People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life. The last day of Carnival is Mardi Gras. […]
[…] The most famous Carnivals of Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea and Acireale. […]
-Read more information here on Wikipedia about Carnival in Italy-

carnival mask venice crostoli chiacchiere sweet fritters

A Venetian Carnival Mask

Crostoli are made from dough into thin rectangular sheets and then twisted as ribbons or kept flat with wavy borders, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Crostoli flat

Remember that, when you eat one Crostolo, you can’t make you stop from eating more, even if the first mouth-impression seems not to be that amazing.

So here’s the recipe my grandmother taught me.

Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli… or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci…

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow part) or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar (plain vinegar or grappa also works well)
  • ≈1 – 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the working area
  • powdered sugar to garnish as needed
  • oil to fry (peanut, corn, sunflower…) as needed

Instructions:

In a bowl mix the egg, melted butter or evo oil, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and vinegar. Add flour until a no sticky dough is formed.
Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes until it’s smooth. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a cool place but not in the fridge.

After that, divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to form a strip as thin as you can.

Instead, if you use a pasta maker (like me), set it on the widest setting (1), take one piece of the dough and with the palm of your hand flatten it a bit, turn the crunk (or if you have an electric pasta maker switch on the start button) and feed the dough through the rollers.
Fold the edges of the strip towards the middle and feed it through the rollers several times, changing the setting of the pasta maker until you reach the smallest (5). Don’t worry if the strips are not perfect, Crostoli has to come out irregular anyway.

Crostoli little helper

My little assistant…

Cut the thin strips into ≈ 3.5 x 3 inch (9 x 7,5 cm) pieces with a pastry wheel cutter (with wavy edge is better).

Crostolo phase 1

Make 3 small cuts in the middle of each piece as shown above.

And follow the next photos to make the classic Crostoli shape (but you can leave them flat).

Crostolo 2 phaseCrostolo phase 3

Crostoli phase 4Crostolo phase 5

crostoli galaniCrostolo phase 7

Crostolo phase 8

And that’s the final Crostolo shape!

crostolo final shape sweet fritter carnival

Place over a floured surface.

chiacchiere ready

In a wide and high frying pan, heat up the oil until a wooden spoon dipped in starts to make little bubbles.

Deep-fry Crostoli, turning them twice until they lost their “white” color, do not overcook or they will have a burning taste.

Scoop them out and drain off the oil by putting them over a kitchen paper.

When they’re cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

crostoli chiacchiere sfrappole carnival

With that same pasta dough you can do sweet fritters Tortelli (traditionally filled with italian sweet mustard plus chestnut flour or jam or custard or Nutella). Yummy!!!

Italian Carnival Sweet Fritters: Crostoli... or Chiacchiere, Frappe, Sfrappole, Cenci, Galani, Grostoli, Bugie...
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Delicious Carnival Sweet Fritters, crispy and full of flavour.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large or medium egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of finely grated lemon zest (only the yellow part) or 1 drop of lemon essential oil (organic)
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar (plain vinegar or grappa also works well)
  • ≈1 - 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the working area
  • powdered sugar to garnish as needed
  • oil to fry (peanut, corn, sunflower...) as needed
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix the egg, melted butter or evo oil, sugar, salt, vanilla, lemon zest and vinegar. Add flour until a no sticky dough is formed.
  2. Knead the dough on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes until it's smooth.
  3. Let it rest for about 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap, in a cool place but not in the fridge.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll them out on a floured surface with a rolling pin to form a strip as thin as you can.
  5. If you use a pasta maker, set it on the widest setting (1), take one piece of the dough and with the palm of your hand flatten it a bit, turn the crunk (or if you have an electric pasta maker switch on the start button) and feed the dough through the rollers.
  6. Fold the edges of the strip towards the middle and feed it through the rollers several times, changing the setting of the pasta maker until you reach the smallest (5).
  7. Cut the thin strips into ≈ 3.5 x 3 inch (9 x 7,5 cm) pieces with a pastry wheel cutter (with wavy edge is better).
  8. Make 3 small cuts in the middle of each piece (see pictures in blog post).
  9. Make the classic Crostoli shape (but you can leave them flat).
  10. Place over a floured surface.
  11. In a wide and high frying pan, heat up the oil until a wooden spoon dipped in starts to make little bubbles.
  12. Deep-fry Crostoli, turning them twice until they lost their "white" color, do not overcook or they will have a burning taste.
  13. Scoop them out and drain off the oil by putting them over a kitchen paper.
  14. When they're cool, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.

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.

Mini Tuna Meatballs (Polpette di Tonno): an easy and tasty finger food

ITALIAN MINI TUNA MEATBALLS

New Year’s Eve is around the corner so, if you’re planning on doing a seafood-based party, why not making these delicious little tuna meatballs, Italian style?
They are perfect as a starter or as a finger food just as is, but you can dip them in mayonnaise or any delicate sauce you like.
You can eat them also as a second course with some fresh vegetables on the side, like a crispy salad.


mini tuna meatballs italian best perfect capers ricotta finger food

These meatballs are easy to make and require ingredients that everybody have at home… well maybe ricotta is not always in your fridge if you don’t live in Italy but you can substitute it with a good quality cottage cheese well-drained and finely ground or sifted (not the reduced-fat version), although ricotta would leave a lighter and better taste so use this one if you can easily find it in grocery stores.

Years ago I tried recipes found online that didn’t satisfy me at all, so I made some adjustment to make them perfect (in my opinion, of course).

I gave the recipe to almost all my friends because, after tasting them, they were amazed. Too delicious, they said. Once you eat one, you can’t stop from eating more.

Mini Tuna Meatballs – Polpette di tonno (pron. paul-pet-teh D ton-no)

Difficulty: easy
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. good quality tuna canned in olive oil, drained
  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. ricotta (or cottage cheese, drained and sifted)
  • 1 tbsp white onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp vinegar-brined capers, well-drained (if you have salt-packed capers soak them in cool water for about 15 minutes rinsing them in several changes of water or they will be too salty)
  • 2 oz. / 60 gr. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 3 oz. / 80 gr. bread crumbs, extra finely grated (plus extra for rolling meatballs)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

Take a bowl and add tuna (well-drained and roughly chopped), ricotta (or cottage cheese as specified above), onion, parsley, chopped capers, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and bread crumbs. Mix them well, adjust with salt to taste and then you can add eggs.

I suggest you to mix them with a fork or with your hands and avoid electric appliances to preserve the “little crumbly” texture (if you do this with an electric mixer the tuna meatballs could be too tough after cooking).

tuna capers dough meatballs

The dough should look like the picture above, soft but not too sticky (if it is, add more bread crumbs).

Make little balls (from 1 to 1 1/2 inches – 2,5 cm to 4 cm ø) and:

  • roll them in some fine bread crumbs for a quicker way (like I did);
    -OR-
  • roll them in some flour, dip them into a beaten egg and roll them again in some fine bread crumbs (this will give a crispier and firm crust to the meatballs – this is recommended).

tuna meatballs polpette authentic italian

Put the meatballs over a plate and heat oil in a deep-frying pan (if you like you can put them in a plastic bag, then in the freezer and cook when you want – after that remember to cook them frozen).

Deep-fry the “polpette” at about 320-335°F / 160-170°C until golden brown.

Remove from the frying pan and put them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

I suggest you to serve in a glass/crystal ball or thread them onto little skewers (3 meatballs per skewer) and place on a fancy plate if you need them for a party.

tuna meatballs capers ricotta authentic italian

They’re good both warm and at room temperature.
You can cook them in the oven for a light dinner (400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6) for about 15-20 minutes, but they will be not so good-looking as the fried ones.

polpette tuna meatballs authentic italian finger food

Mini Tuna Meatballs (Polpette di Tonno): an easy and tasty finger food
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Mouthwatering tuna meatballs that you'll love at first bite.
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. good quality tuna canned in olive oil, drained
  • 7 oz. / 200 gr. ricotta (or cottage cheese, drained and sifted)
  • 1 tbsp white onion, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp vinegar-brined capers, well-drained (if you have salt-packed capers soak them in cool water for about 15 minutes rinsing them in several changes of water or they will be too salty)
  • 2 oz. / 60 gr. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 3 oz. / 80 gr. bread crumbs, extra finely grated (plus extra for rolling meatballs)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Take a bowl and add tuna (well-drained and roughly chopped), ricotta (or cottage cheese as specified above), onion, parsley, chopped capers, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and bread crumbs. Mix them well, adjust with salt to taste and then you can add eggs.
  2. I suggest you to mix them with a fork or with your hands and avoid electric appliances to preserve the "little crumbly" texture (if you do this with an electric mixer the tuna meatballs could be too tough after cooking).
  3. Make little balls (from 1 to 1½ inches - 2,5 cm to 4 cm ø) and:
  4. roll them in some fine bread crumbs for a quicker way (like I did);
-OR-
  1. roll them in some flour, dip them into a beaten egg and roll them again in some fine bread crumbs (this will give a crispier and firm crust to the meatballs - this is recommended).
  2. Put the meatballs over a plate and heat oil in a deep-frying pan (if you like you can put them in a plastic bag, then in the freezer and cook when you want - after that remember to cook them frozen).
  3. Deep-fry the "polpette" at about 320-335°F / 160-170°C until golden brown.
  4. Remove from the frying pan and put them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.
OR
  1. You can cook them in the oven for a light dinner (400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6) for about 15-20 minutes, but they will be not so good-looking as the fried ones.

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.

Passatelli Pasta (comfort Italian pasta)

AUTHENTIC PASSATELLI RECIPE – ITALIAN DUMPLINGS

Passatelli (puh-ssuh-tell-e) are a real comfort pasta typical of Emilia-Romagna, Italian region.
Usually eaten in cold evenings and accompanied by a genuine home-made meat and vegetable stock can be a really cure for a bad cold.


My mum made these every time I got a fever and now I make Passatelli for my young son, even if he’s not ill, and he likes them very much (he wolfs them down! 😀 ).

passatelli brodo broth romagna italian best perfect pasta comfort food

You can do Passatelli using a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (originally it was used a special Passatelli utensil, shown below, but it’s not easy to find it nowadays).

Due to the high amount of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese I suggest you to not use fake parmesan, or the result may differ a lot from the original recipe. You may use Grana Padano instead (another italian cheese like Parmigiano).

parmigiano reggiano discount

Passatelli in brodo (Passatelli in broth)

Difficulty: medium
Preparation: 40-50 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams / 5.30 ounces / 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, extra finely grated
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 2 1/2 cups Parmigiano Reggiano, extra finely grated
  • 3 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (grated directly from the seed is better)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt

(Some recipes calls for lemon zest to be added in the dough, like it’s used in Romagna, but I think that lemon zest is not appropriate if Passatelli are served in broth. You can add lemon zest and reduce the amount of nutmeg if you’re serving Passatelli with a seafood based sauce.)

Instructions:

Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It has to be quiet tough, not like a pizza dough, but it doesn’t have to crumble away (if it’s too sticky add some bread crumbs, if it crumbles add few drops of water).
Let rest 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
Put the dough into a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (0,5 cm / 0.2 inches diameter) and form Passatelli at about 5 cm / 2” length.

Put Passatelli in a plate and try to leave space between them to avoid sticking together.

Cook in a rolling boil stock (salted to taste) until they float (about 5 minutes). Put in a soup plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
They’re even better after 2 hours, just leave them in the stock and heat up before serving.
You can refrigerate both fresh and cooked Passatelli for a month.

Passatelli Pasta (comfort Italian pasta)
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 150 grams / 5.30 ounces / 1½ cups bread crumbs, extra finely grated
  • 200 grams / 7 ounces / 2½ cups Parmigiano Reggiano, extra finely grated
  • 3 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (grated directly from the seed is better)
  • 3 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough. It has to be quiet tough, not like a pizza dough, but it doesn't have to crumble away (if it's too sticky add some bread crumbs, if it crumbles add few drops of water).
  2. Let rest 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
  3. Put the dough into a potato masher or a meat grinder with large holes (0,5 cm / 0.2 inches diameter) and form Passatelli at about 5 cm / 2'' length.
  4. Put Passatelli in a plate and try to leave space between them to avoid sticking together.
  5. Cook in a rolling boil stock (salted to taste) until they float (about 5 minutes).
  6. Put in a soup plate and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
  7. They're even better after 2 hours, just leave them in the stock and heat up before serving.

How to avoid egg smell

eggs yolk membrane bad smell

When you bake something with eggs inside, sometimes the final product has a bad egg smell and this is very disturbing especially if you’ve done this for other people.

The smell is caused by the thin yolk membrane. So you can break the yolk into your hand and draw away the membrane with your fingers or simply break it into a strainer. Your cakes will no longer stink of eggs!