lasagne

New Year's Lasagne resolutions

So back to work for us all. The best thing of this time of the year is that we all still feel pampered by cosy images of a long needed precious time spent with family and friends over these past festivities. All this cheerful togetherness, however, has brought along the other side of the coin, which is tangible enough (talking me sadly through my trousers size), and its removal on top of all our new year's resolutions. Undoubtedly no sacrifice can be fully adopted without an exception to the rule. That's why tonight I'm cooking the healthiest red cabbage based vegan lasagna version. Why, aren't you?

cavolirossi

Red Cabbage Lasagne (serves 6 persons)

  • 1 red cabbage (about 1 kg.)
  • 250 g. carrots
  • 125 g mozzarella cheese
  • 150 g cooked ham
  • 250 g fresh pasta lasagne sheets
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 500 ml bechamel sauce
  • 100 g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 30 g dairy butter
  • 6 sage leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the béchamel sauce:

  • 50 gr. dairy butter
  • 50 gr. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 liter whole milk

Preheat the oven at 180°. Clean the red cabbage, removing the outer leaves (if damaged), then cut it into 4 pieces, wash it under running water and put it to boil in salted boiling water for approximately 10 minutes. Peel the carrots and put them to boil along with the red cabbage for the same amount of time. Once the vegetables aree cooked, drain and allow them to cool, then cut them into smaller pieces and put 2/3 of them in a blender together with 20 ml of oil, a pinch of salt and  some freshly ground pepper. Blend until you get a creamy consistency, if necessary adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of boiling water (preferably that previously used for cooking the vegetables).

Prepare a nice thick bechamel. To start with, heat the milk in a saucepan; apart, melt the butter over low heat, then turn off the heat and add the flour, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Then put it back on low heat and stir until it becomes golden. You will have obtained what the French call roux; flavor the milk with nutmeg and a pinch of salt (you can do these operations even as the last step, when the sauce is ready); then join it gradually to the roux, stirring the whole thing vigorously with a whisk. Cook for 5 minutes on low heat until the sauce thickens and begins to boil.

Now you can compose the lasagna in a pyrex baking dish greased with butter. We start with a thin layer of bechamel sauce, then a sheet of lasagne, and then a layer of red cabbage and carrots cream, another sheet of lasagne, a layer of thin slices of mozzarella, carrots and cabbage, a tsp of oil, still a layer of pasta, one of ham, and so on continuing to alternate layers (each cycle calls for a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste). Finish off with a layer of red sauce, then sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese and some butter. Bake for 25 minutes at 180 ° C. Serve the piping hot lasagne garnished with sage leaves.

Happy new year with love and lasagne,

Eleonora

Ecstatic Tuscan Food Revelations

A memorable food experience will fill you with pure joy and #foodhappiness whenever your mind casually crosses that smell again. IMG_3876

When I was a child, I used to spend many Easter holidays in the Tuscan countryside with my family. The latest international allure that this region has taken over the last decade recently left my real Italianness rather disappointed with the quality of the dishes.

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I felt that the usual care and that handmade "je ne sais quoi" were gone. For good. Until I entered Gli Attortellati, a family run farm and restaurant located just minutes from Grosseto.

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Literally, the term "attortellati" refers to those fellows who like to sit, eat, play and talk altogether... for hours. It certainly wasn't difficult for my friends and I to get completely overwhelmed by the atmosphere and the savoury dishes. About 12 of them, yep you hear me well, in authentic vintage Italian food tradition.

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All dishes were carefully crafted in front of our eyes. Lasagne, chestnut gnocchi and the queen of them all: tortelli. Filled with chard, fresh ricotta and nutmeg, these little pieces of heaven were served with an exceptional ragù sauce.

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It's great to know that these guys, having many hectares' worth of space, have opted for the plantation of the so-called lost fruits, that is those fruits which are in danger and are in need to be recuperated. Amongst those, the Scosciamonache (litterally, unveiling nuns), the most delicious quality of plum you could ever dare to dream of.

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Each year, at the end of the summertime, they make fruit preserves, which is exactly what I do too. I normally give them out as presents to my Cooking Workshops subscribers throughout the year.

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They make terrific wintery pies. But that's another story, and another blogpost. Talk to you soon,

Eleonora