South Tyrollean Apple Strudel

For pasta

  • 300g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2tbsp butter

For filling

  • 500g apples
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pine nuts
  • raisins
  • lemon zest, grated
  • 2 teaspoons Rum
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Make a well in the center of the flour, place the egg inside, butter and add the water.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Make a dough which is smooth and solid.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the bread crumbs and brown well.

Cut the apples into segments.
Mix the apples with the bread crumbs, pine nuts, raisins, grated lemon, cinnamon and the remaining ingredients. Leave it all to gain flavor.

Roll out the dough and lay the filling on top.
Close the dough by wrapping up the filling carefully, prick all over with a fork, brush with butter and sprinkle some pine kernels on top. Put the strudel into the oven for about 40 minutes at a temperature of 180C.

Even if people generally think that strudel is an Austrian dish, this sweet is originally Turkish. In fact, the precursor to the strudel is baklava, a Turkish dessert stuffed with dried fruit and spices. The Hungarians and Austrians were introduced to baklava during the invasion of Eastern Europe by the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. From 1526 to 1699, the Turks dominated the Hungary and, during these two centuries, the Hungarians adopted many different aspects of the Ottoman culture, including various Turkish recipes.
In 1699, when the Turks lost their power over Hungary to the Hapsburgs, the recipe for baklava spread throughout Austria and became known as strudel. Unlike traditional baklava, strudel was made with the apples that grew across Europe.
During the Congress of Vienna in 1816, Austria gained control of Venice and the surrounding region and strudel spread throughout Northeastern Italy

Home made yeast

1 big apple (grated)
1 bunch organic grapes
2 cups white bread flour
2 cups water from a bottle (non chlorinated)

1. Crush the grapes slightly, and measure out about 2 cups into a glass bowl. 
Add the flour, apples and water.

2. Mix with a wooden spoon until the batter has become thick and gooey.
3. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it sit at room temperature overnight.
4. The next day, check the starter for bubbles of gas coming to the surface, a sure sign of fermentation. Be patient: This can take as long as 5 days in some environments.
5. Once the starter has begun to ferment, strain out the grapes and apples and “feed” the starter with a bit of flour and water.
6. You can use the starter right away, or you can let it sit for another few days. The longer you let the starter ferment, the stronger the flavor of your bread will be; after about 4 days, chances are it will be too sour to eat.

7. If you aren’t ready to make bread right away, or if you’ve made enough starter for several loaves, you can freeze your starter and save it for later. Simply divide it into 1-cup portions, wrap each one in 2 layers of plastic, and put them in the freezer.

8. To bring the starter back to life, let it sit in a glass bowl overnight at room temperature. When the yeasts “wake up,” the fermentation process will start again.

Making a great starter is only half  the battle, you also have to maintain it, which is not unlike having a pet, or, some might say a very low-mainenance child! Once a week remember to feed it with 1/2 cup of non chlorinated water and 1/2 cup of flour. or, you can do this twice a week with 1/4 cup of water and flour. When you feed it, you might want to discard a tablespoon or two of the starter so that the amount doesn’t grow too big. Remember your starter is alive and growing which means it’ll increase in volume.

Pane Siciliano

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast or half tablet of fresh yeast
3 1/2 cups fine Semolina
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil
1/2 pound sesame seeds

Combine 1/2 cup of water, the yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour. Stir to dissolve and allow to ferment for 20 minutes.

Add remaining water, salt and as much of the remaining flour as needed and kneed on medium speed to create a ball of dough that is just slightly tacky and winds around the dough hook. Let dough rest in the mixer for 5 minutes, then kneed again.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise. When risen, punch down and place in a plastic container or bag and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the dough from refrigerator and transfer it to a bowl, cover and allow it to come to room temperature. 

Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 4 minutes, then shape into a 10 inch round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or baking peel. Cover and allow dough to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. 

If using a stone, place it in the oven and heat it 30 minutes prior to baking the bread.

Score the top of the dough with a lame, razor or sharp knife the letter of your initial.

Brush the top of the bread with olive oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top.

If using a stone, transfer the dough off the peel directly onto the stone with the parchment paper. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Half way through the baking, shimmy the parchment paper away from the dough.

If baking on a baking sheet, place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cool completely.


Recipes of December

Bucattini alla Amatriciana
Tortellini soup
-Spaghetti alla Carbonara
-Saltimbocca alla Romana
bigoli dough with duck ragu 
apple strudel
tagliatelli with panceta and radicchio, 
tagliolini al limone 
pappardelle alla norma  
Poached pear


Cherry cake

  • 1 pound tart cherries, pitted
  • ¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • Heat oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with 2-inch-high sides. Combine cherries, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and water in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook, stirring frequently, until cherries are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat ¾ cup sugar and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in vanilla. In 3 additions, mix in dry ingredients alternately with milk just until combined. Using a clean bowl and beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tarter to stiff, but not dry, peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold ¼ of the whites into the batter to lighten, then fold remaining whites into batter. Pour batter into pan and cover top with half of the cherries and half of their juice. Sprinkle top of batter with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake cake until golden and tester inserted comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and run a small knife around edges of cake to loosen. Let cool on rack before serving with reserved cherries. 

    Red wine cake

    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan 
    1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    3 large eggs, separated
    5 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate (82%), very finely chopped
    1 cup dry red wine 

    1/2 cup dry red wine 
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    4 cups raspberries
    Whipped Cream
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

    For Cake: Heat oven to 350º. Grease springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.
    In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and ½ cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time, scraping bowl as necessary. Add chocolate; beat just to combine. In 3 additions, add wine to butter mixture, alternating with flour mixture. 
    In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat until the whites are firm and glossy.
    Using a spatula, gently fold whites into batter just until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to
    45 minutes. 

    Transfer cake to wire rack; let cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan to loosen cake; release from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack. 
    For Raspberries: While cake cools, bring wine and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Put raspberries in a bowl and pour the hot syrup over them, gently tossing to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes or up to 1 day. (If preparing raspberries more than 4 hours ahead, keep covered and chilled. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.)
    For Whipped Cream: Combine cream and sugar in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until soft peaks form. 
    Serve cake with raspberries and whipped cream.

    Polenta Budini with Caramelized Chestnuts

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (2-inch-long) cinnamon stick
  • 5 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fine polenta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 lemon, cut in half crosswise
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons maraschino liqueur
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 1 1/2 cups vacuum-packed or bottled chestnuts, cut in half if large
  • SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:6 (4-ounce) ramekins or silicone molds

  • Lightly coat ramekins with cooking spray.
    In a heavy medium saucepan, dampen 1/3 cup sugar with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, gently stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but washing down any sugar crystals with a pastry brush dipped in cold water as necessary, until syrup begins to turn golden. Continue to boil, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is a deep golden caramel. Immediately divide caramel among ramekins, tilting if necessary to coat bottoms.
    In a medium saucepan, bring milk, 1/2 cup cream and cinnamon just to a boil. Remove pan from heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine 1/3 cup sugar, chocolate and polenta.
    Remove and discard cinnamon from hot milk mixture, then, whisking constantly, pour over polenta mixture. Bring mixture to a bare simmer over very low heat; cook, whisking initially to dissolve any lumps, then stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until polenta is thickened and tender, about 20 minutes; remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
    In a bowl, beat together remaining 1/4 cup cream, egg and egg yolk. Add to polenta; return to heat and gently simmer, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Immediately divide hot polenta mixture among prepared ramekins, pressing mixture firmly into molds to release any air bubbles, then cover ramekins with plastic wrap and chill until pudding is set, about 4 hours or up to 2 days.
    Secure 1 lemon half onto the tines of a fork, with cut side facing out. In a heavy medium saucepan, dampen remaining
    1/3 cup sugar with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, gently stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but washing down any sugar crystals with a pastry brush dipped in cold water as necessary, until syrup begins to turn golden. Continue to boil, swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is a deep golden caramel.

    In a slow and steady stream, add orange juice, then stir with lemon half until clumps are dissolved into the caramel. Add maraschino and Cognac. Remove pan from heat and ignite alcohol with a match. Return pan to heat. When flames subside, add chestnuts. Very gently simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat and let stand 10 minutes.
    Run a thin knife along sides of ramekins to loosen, then invert budini onto serving plates. Spoon caramelized chestnuts over the top. Serve immediately. 

    Chicken with Speck, Swiss Chard and pine nuts

  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ pound sliced Speck
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1⅓ pounds Swiss chard, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts

  • Heat oven to 400°. Season chicken with pepper and wrap with Speck. Place in a baking dish. Bake until browned, about 20 minutes. While chicken is baking, cut a 1-inch wide strip of peel from the orange, avoiding the pith, and thinly slice. Set sliced peel aside. Squeeze juice from orange. Remove chicken from oven. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chard and orange peel; cook, stirring, until chard is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Transfer chicken to skillet with chard; add orange juice and pine nuts, bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. 

    Lentil soup with Chestnuts

    • This is one of my favourite soups from the Centre Region of Italy! The chestnut give a unique almost sweet taste to the stew. Very easy to make and healthy           

                1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
                1/4 cup finely chopped onion
                ¼ cup carrots in small cubes
                1 stick of celery in small cubes
                 3 cloves of garlic
                  Fine sea salt
                  1 cup small brown lentils, such as castelluccio or colfiorito
                  1 tablespoon tomato paste
                  3 bay leafs
                  20 chestnuts (fresh baked)
                  3 leafy sprigs thyme
                  Freshly ground black pepper
                  4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices baguette, toasted
                  Finely chopped fresh basil and/or marjoram for garnish (optional)

      In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and pinch salt; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add lentils and tomato paste; stir to combine, then add 4 cups water and bay leaf. Bring just to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes.

      Meanwhile, coarsely chop 12 chestnuts. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil and thyme over medium heat until oil is shimmering. Add chopped and whole chestnuts; cook, stirring occasionally, until chestnuts are lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

      When lentils have cooked 25 minutes, add chopped chestnuts and pan contents into pot with lentils. Continue cooking until lentils are tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season soup with 1/4 teaspoon salt and generous pinch pepper, then ladle soup into serving bowls. Tuck whole chestnuts and toasts into soup. Garnish with fresh herbs, if using.

    Meat broth

    • 2 1/2 pounds beef brisket or chuck, cut into 4 pieces
    • 1 pound meaty beef shanks
    • 1 large chicken leg and thigh
    • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rinds 
    • 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
    • 1 carrot, cut into 3 pieces
    • 1 celery stalk, cut into 3 pieces
    • Fine sea salt    
    • 4  quarts cold water
    In a large stockpot, combine beef, beef shanks, chicken, cheese rinds, onion, carrot, celery and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming foam and fat from surface. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, skimming occasionally, for 3 hours. 

    Pour broth through a large fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids. Skim off and discard fat, as desired. Season broth with salt to taste. 

    Note: Broth can be made ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered, 1 week, or frozen in an airtight container up to 2 months.

    Lasagna Verdi alla Bolognese


    • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
    • 1/2 celery rib, peeled and finely diced
    • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2 ounces chopped pancetta
    • 1/3 pound ground beef 
    • 1/3 pound ground pork
    • 1/4 pound prosciutto, chopped
    • 1/4 pound mortadella, chopped
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 2/3 cup beef broth
    • 1/3 cup red wine
    • Pinch ground nutmeg
    • Fine sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    Green Pasta
    • 1 small bunch spinach , stems trimmed (or 1/2 cup of frozen)
    • Fine sea salt
    • 1 1/2 cups “00” flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
    • Fine sea salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Pinch ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, more to taste
    • 1/2 cup smoked Scamorza or Provolone
    FOR SAUCE: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery and pancetta and cook, stirring, until vegetables are lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, ground pork and prosciutto and cook until beef is no loner pink. Stir in the tomato paste, broth, and wine and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pan, and cook the sauce at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. (The sauce may be made up to 2 days ehad; cover and refrigerate it, and bring the sauce to room temperature before assembling the lasagne.)
    FOR PASTA: Rinse spinach leaves in several changes of cold water; do not dry. Put leaves in a medium saucepan with pinch salt, and cook, covered, over medium heat until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain spinach and let cool, then gently squeeze out excess liquid and very finely chop.
    On a clean work surface, mound the flour and form a well in the center. Add the egg, olive oil, a pinch of salt and the spinach to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolk and slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed. When the dough gets to stiff to work with a fork, knead the dough by hand until the dough is no longer sticky, adding additional flour in 1 tablespoon increments as necessary. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
    Cut the dough into 2 pieces. Flatten 1 piece of dough so that it will fit through the rollers of a pasta machine. Set rollers of pasta machine at the widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine. Roll pasta through machine, decreasing the setting one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta), until pasta sheet is scant 1/16 inch thick. Cut sheet into rectangles the width of the pasta roller and 7 inches long. Lay the lasagna noodles on a lightly floured baking sheet in a single layer until ready to use. (Lay noodles that don’t fit on another layer separated by lightly floured wax paper or kitchen parchment.) Do the same with the second piece of pasta dough. 
    FOR BECHAMEL: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring, until golden. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to just under a boil. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter and stir to combine. If not using the béchamel immediately, let it cool, cover it with plastic wrap and set aside. 
    Heat the oven to 400°.
    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and have ready a large bowl of ice water. Add the lasagna sheets, a few at a time, to the boiling water. Cook until the noodles float to the top of the surface, about 15 seconds. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice water to keep from overcooking. Drain well and lightly pat dry with a kitchen towel. 
    Cover a 11” x 7” by 2” rectangular baking dish (or similar size gratin dish) with an initial layer of lasagna, overlapping the noodles slightly and letting any excess hang over the sides. 
    Cover with about one-fifth of each: the Bolognese sauce, the béchamel, and the cheese. Cover with another layer of pasta, trimming the noodles if necessary so they fit snug in the dish. Top with another layer of sauce, béchamel, and cheese. Repeat this step two more times for a total of four layers, saving some sauce, béchamel, and cheese for the top.
    To finish, fold any overflowing lasagna pasta over the dish. Top with the remaining sauce, béchamel, and cheese. 
    Bake until the top is brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let the lasagne rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.