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A recipe for all occasions and all year round: Ricotta and tuna patties with vegan mayonnaise.

Patties are always a successful dish with children and adults alike. These Ricotta and tuna patties are the solution for a quick, but tasty and nutritionally rich meal with the protein of ricotta and tuna.

I decided to prepare this recipe to be served as finger food during the Cibus exhibition in Parma during which I will be at the booth of the Isola d’oro company that produces Tonnotto, delicious 100% Italian tuna fillets that I used in my recipe.

To win over our visitors, I have prepared a very special vegan mayonnaise, flavoured with smoked paprika and Kala namak salt. What is Kala namak and why use it?

Kala namak is a dark, grey to violet coloured salt that is extracted from mines in northern India and the lakes surrounding the Himalayas rich in sulphurous springs. In fact, what characterises this salt is thehard-boiled egg smell that has made it particularly popular among those on a vegan diet as it is a perfect aromatic substitute for egg.

In addition to its organoleptic characteristics, this salt is recommended by Ayurvedic cooking in case of gastric disorders and is excellent for fighting bad cholesterol: that’s why I decided to use it instead of ordinary salt for my vegan mayonnaise! Be careful to the amount used because it is saltier than the salt we are used to.

Are you ready to experiment?

Polpette-di-ricotta-e-tonno-con-maio-vegana

Ricotta and tuna patties with vegan mayonnaise

5.5g carbohydrates per 100g of patties without mayonnaise

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 500g cow’s milk ricotta
  • 150g Tonnotto l’Isola d’oro tuna fillets
  • chopped parsley or other herbs to taste
  • gluten-free breadcrumbs**
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the vegan mayonnaise

  • 100g sunflower seed oil
  • 50g soy milk*
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • kala Namak salt
  • smoked paprika

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Put ricotta in a bowl and mix it with the drained, chopped tuna; add salt and season with pepper and chopped parsley or other herbs to taste. Form patties and coat them with breadcrumbs.
  2. Arrange them on a baking tin lined with parchment paper and bake at 200°C in grill mode for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the mayonnaise by placing all the ingredients in a tall glass and mix with an immersion blender for a few minutes to obtain a smooth, homogeneous mayonnaise.
  4. Serve the patties warm or cold with vegan mayonnaise.

Polpette-di-ricotta-e-tonno-con-maio-vegana

Version with gluten of Ricotta and tuna patties with vegan mayonnaise

Replace the gluten-free breadcrumbs with conventional breadcrumbs, the rest of the recipe is naturally gluten-free.

 

 

Today I want to take you on a trip to the mountains of the Abruzzo region to discover artisan liqueurs created, as if by magic, by a family of nature and food lovers, which I want to propose to you in this recipe, also lactose-free, to prepare my Prawns with cream of Cannellini beans flavoured with Ratafià.

Artisan liqueurs in the kitchen

Let me introduce the liqueurs by the Scuppoz company starting with the name. The term ‘Scuppoz’ is an onomatopoeic word from Abruzzo that sounds like glasses clinking for toasting and celebrating, but today, Scuppoz is an artisan company that produces liqueurs using what the land of the mountains has to offer: wild herbs, berries and a lot of creative energy.

Before I met the Scuppoz liqueurs, I met Anna, the irrepressible wife of the second generation of herb alchemists whose passion in telling about the battles and challenges of making liqueurs in the hostile mountains of Abruzzo conquered me to the point that I couldn’t but find out about these ‘strong and gentle spirits’, as the motto of the ‘Medicinette’ liqueur collection reads.

Le "Medicinette" dell'azienda Scuppoz

The “Medicinette” collecion by Scuppoz

Ratafià: black cherry liqueur from the hills and Montepulciano wine

For my recipe, I chose the black cherry liqueur Ratafià made with black cherries from the hills and Montepulciano wine, ingredients that give the liqueur a powerful structure. Scuppoz Ratafià can be enjoyed by people with coeliac disease because it is prepared only with red wine, sour cherry juice and alcohol, i.e. without the addition of flavourings (here you will find the AIC rules for choosing gluten-free liqueurs).

Where does the name Ratafià come from? From the Latin expression‘ut rata fiat’, let the deed be ratified, because it was customary to drink this liqueur (prepared by women, but drunk mostly by men) immediately after signing a notarial contract to sanction its validity.

Scuppoz liqueurs are a journey of aromas, flavours and mountain stories, which I have brought to you in this recipe so that even the little ones at home can fully enjoy the experience without taking the alcoholic part for which they will have to wait a while!

And remember to follow Anna’s adventures on social media (https://www.instagram.com/scuppoz_spirits/ ): you won’t regret it!

gamberi con crema di cannellini al ratafia

Prawns with cream of Cannellini beans flavoured with Ratafià

14.10g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 400g red onion from Acquaviva delle Fonti (or Tropea onion)
  • 400g cooked chickpeas
  • 8 prawn tails
  • 2 shallots
  • vegetable stock
  • Ratafià – Scuppoz black cherry liqueur*
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Slice the red onion and brown it in a non-stick pan with a little oil for a few minutes, then cover with vegetable stock and let it cook without browning.
  2. When the onion is soft and the stock has evaporated, deglaze with 4-5 tablespoons of Ratafià, add salt and pepper and let the liquor thicken for a few minutes, then turn off the heat.
  3. Prepare the Cannellini cream. Put the chopped shallot in a non-stick pan, let it brown, then add the cooked Cannellini beans and let them season for about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the Cannellini beans to a blender, add the necessary amount of stock to obtain a thick cream and blend. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer the onion cooked in Ratafià to a bowl so that you can use the frying pan to cook the prawns: leaving the cooking juices of the onion, cook the prawn tails for a maximum of 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Now assemble the dish: with a ring, form a disc of Cannelli cream, place the Ratafià flavoured onion on top, then 2 prawns and finish with a grinding of pepper and a very light drizzle of oil.

gamberi con crema di cannellini al ratafia

Version with gluten of Prawns with cream of Cannellini beans flavoured with Ratafià

The recipe contains only naturally gluten free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

E’ arrivata l’estate e con essa il caldo che ci va venire voglia di piatti freschi e gustosi e allora è il momento ideale per preparare queste Cheesecake salate con zucchine e olive senza dovere accendere forno o fornelli!

 

Summer has arrived and with it the heat that makes us crave for fresh, tasty dishes, so now is the perfect time to prepare these Savoury cheesecakes with courgettes and olives without having to turn on the oven or cooker!

All the ingredients are typical for a cheesecake, but the shape is more unusual in the small glass, ideal for a cheerful and colourful appetiser. Lemon peel and mint give freshness with their scent, courgettes provide crispness and olives the unmistakable sapidity – in short, a complete experience for the senses and great joy for diners!

What are you waiting for? You only need a few ingredients, you can follow the video and in 15 minutes you will have everything ready to impress family and friends. And if you want to end the meal with a sweet version of a cheesecake, try these Strawberry Cheesecakes.

Savoury cheesecakes with courgettes and olives

10.70g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 8 small glasses

  • 300g Ricotta cheese
  • 100g courgettes
  • 40g Le Veneziane mini breadsticks**
  • 40g pitted black olives
  • 20g Pecorino cheese, grated
  • 20g peeled and roasted almonds
  • 1 lemon zest
  • fresh oregano or caper powder*
  • mint leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Wash the courgettes and cut them into chunks, place them in a small bowl with the diced olives, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a grating of lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir and allow to gain flavour.
  2. Prepare the ricotta cream: put Ricotta in a bowl, add grated Pecorino Romano cheese, add a pinch of chopped fresh oregano or caper powder, and finally season with salt and pepper.
  3. Crumble the breadsticks and place them on the bottom of 8 small glasses. Cover them with the Ricotta cream and complete the preparation with the courgette and olive salad and the lightly chopped toasted almonds.
Le cheesecake pronte per essere gustate

Cheesecakes ready to be enjoyed

Version with gluten of Savoury cheesecakes with courgettes and olives

Simply replace the gluten-free breadsticks with standard ones, all other ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

Do we really know where this dish comes from and how to prepare a Perfect Amatriciana?

Pronta a cucinare online dalla mia cucina

Ready to cook online from my kitchen

Discovering Amatriciana

Although the fame of Amatriciana sauce is linked to the city of Rome, its true cradle lies in the heart of our country. If you were to take a compass and place it in the centre of Italy, its point would probably end in Rieti, the easternmost city in Lazio between Umbria and Abruzzo, which gathers gastronomic traditions and extraordinary products from all these regions, and in whose province the city of Amatrice is located.

And it is from Rieti that the virtual journey in which I participated together with other bloggers, journalists and cooking enthusiasts began. Since we could not physically go there due to Covid restrictions, the Rieti Chamber of Commerce thought of making the products travel and sent us the kits containing the ingredients to prepare some traditional local recipes, more or less well-known outside their province of origin.

For our journey, from every region of Italy we went online armed with equipment, ingredients and a lot of curiosity. As good and diligent students, we listened to find out where the products we had received came from and how we should use them in our recipes, guided step by step by a local chef.

The perfect Amatriciana

First gastronomic encounter of the trip: Gricia and Amatriciana. Having to choose which of the two recipes to cook live, at my place they overwhelmingly opted for Amatriciana… and we didn’t regret it! This is how I find out that Amatriciana is a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed regulated by Specifications where, I must admit, some ingredients are a surprise. In fact, in addition to the ever-present guanciale (mind you, not pancetta!), extra virgin olive oil and  tomato sauce or peeled tomatoes, there are also white wine and chilli pepper. Naturally, the recommended ingredient is Pecorino cheese of the Amatriciano or Pecorino Romano DOP type.

Io, pronta per la diretta per cucinare gli spaghetti all'Amatriciana

Waiting to cook spaghetti all’Amatriciana live

Ingredients

Each of these ingredients tells a story. The matured pork cheek, Guanciale, tells us of the shepherds who were forced away from home for 4-5 months, usually from May to September, for the transhumance. For their sustenance, they carried some easy to store and nutritious products, such as Guanciale and flour. In an iron frying pan with a long handle, shepherds could thus cook their frugal, hearty main course: Pastasciutta (i.e. pasta), where pecorino cheese was the ingredient always available in the cool mountain pastures.

And the tomato? Just think that in Italy, this much-loved fruit only met pasta in the 1800s and, in the Amatrice area, the encounter became eternal love, giving rise to one of the best-known dishes of Italian cuisine. From here, shepards arrived in Rome with the many inhabitants of the town of Amatrice who emigrated there in search of work and found it mainly in restaurants and food shops offering products from their area of origin, which soon became the symbol of cheap, popular cuisine.

Which pasta shape should be cooked with Amatriciana sauce? Our precious kit contained artisan spaghetti made with Senatore Capelli wheat which we had to give up due to the presence of gluten, so we replaced them with a gluten free version accessible to the whole family. The alternative to spaghetti is definitely Bucatini, a shape that I have, however, never found on the market in a gluten free version.

I must admit that this Amatriciana was indeed one of the best I have ever tasted and, given the simplicity of its preparation, it is once again confirmed that it is the ingredients that make the difference. Guanciale by Salumificio Sanolocated between the Monti della Laga and Monti Sibillini National Parks, caressed our palate with the soft and fragrant crunchiness of the strips dipped in sweet tomato, but the product that really bewitched me was the mature Pecorino cheese from Azienda Agricola D’Ascenzoa small business located in the heart of the Riserva Naturale dei Laghi Lungo e Ripasottile, a green oasis in the Rieti plain where the flock can graze freely, feeding on fresh herbs that give the cheese scents and flavours that leave their mark.

So are you ready? Would you like to know how we prepared our Amatriciana?

Here is the recipe!

Spaghetti all’amatriciana

26g of carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 400g spaghetti**
  • 400g peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 200g Guanciale Amatriciano Sano* (pork cheek)
  • 80g matured Pecorino, La Riserva D’Ascenzo, grated
  • 50g white wine
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • chili
  • a grinding of black pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. We cut Guanciale into strips of about 5x10mm and put them in the iron pan (which was sent to us together with the ingredients because this also makes a difference!) with a drizzle of oil, taking care to have only one layer of Guanciale in the pan so that all the pieces could be in contact with the hot iron bottom. We let the fat melt slowly, allowing the Guanciale to cook, becoming crispy on the surface.
  2. We doused Guanciale with the wine, then added the peeled tomatoes broken up with our hands (I added passata) and the chilli pepper. The chef told us that at home the sauce was put on the stove in the morning and left there for hours, whereas today the custom is to let the sauce cook for no more than half an hour.
  3. To complete, we added grated Pecorino cheese directly into the tomato.
  4. We put a pan of water on the stove, brought it to the boil, salted it and threw in Spaghetti.
  5. We drained Spaghetti and poured them into the pan with the sauce to finish cooking, added a grinding of pepper and served.
  6. Finally, we added a sprinkling of grated Pecorino cheese and a spoonful of sauce left in the pan. Simply divine!
Il piatto pronto da mostrare allo chef

The dish ready to show the chef

The second recipe we will prepare on the journey? Pulse pasta with Rascino lentils. Stay tuned!

Gli spaghetti all'amatriciana pronti per essere gustati

Spaghetti all’amatriciana ready to be enjoyed 

 

 

 

 

Peach pudding with coconut and mint is a fruit salad disguised as a dessert and is the answer to two needs: the first is to find an alternative to ice cream for Gaia and Nicolò on long, sultry summer days, the second is to use the very sweet peaches my greengrocer friend gave me before closing for the holidays.

In fact, this Peach pudding with coconut and mint can be prepared without adding sugar to what the sweet seasonal fruit already contains, or, as I did to make the preparation really resemble a real dessert, I added a few drops of liquid sweetener in the preparation of the pudding.

By using coconut milk (strictly natural and unsweetened) I have avoided adding fat to the preparation, the carbohydrate intake per 100g of coconut milk is only 2.7g and, a gift we can give to friends who cannot consume dairy products, it is also lactose free.

Finally, a touch of freshness with the mint that grows in the corner of aromatic herbs of my vegetable garden at home could not be missing… even if the sprig gave me a lot of trouble by twisting itself around the whisk I used to make the pudding… check it out!

Any other soft desserts? Take a look! 

Il budino di pesche al cocco e menta pronto per essere gustato

Peach pudding with coconut and mint

Peach pudding with coconut and mint with no added sugar    

7.56g carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients for 6-7 puddings

  • 400g coconut milk
  • 300g peach pulp (approx. 2 peaches)
  • 30g rice starch*
  • 8g gelatine sheets*
  • a sprig of mint plus a few leaves for garnishing
  • sweetener* or sugar to taste

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 125g blackberries
  • 125g raspberries
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • slivered almonds*
  • sweetener* or sugar (optional, I did not add anything)

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. First of all, soak the gelatine in a bowl with cold water.
  2. Peel the peaches and cut them into coarse pieces which you put in a food processor with some of the coconut milk. Blend to obtain a homogeneous and perfectly smooth mixture.
  3. Mix the rice starch in a saucepan, gradually adding the remaining coconut milk while stirring with a whisk; add a sprig of mint and place the mixture on the heat; when it is lukewarm, pour in the blended peach and when the cream starts to thicken, remove it from the heat and add the squeezed out gelatine, stirring well with the whisk so that the gelatine melts and is perfectly incorporated.
  4. Allow the peach cream to cool, stirring occasionally, then, when the container is cool enough, cover it with cling film and chill for a few hours in the refrigerator.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Put the berries in a non-stick pan with the juice of half a lemon and cook on high heat. When the fruit has released its liquid, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Remove the peach cream from the refrigerator, remove the cling film, and mix the cream with a spatula in bottom-up movements. Using a ladle, transfer the pudding into serving cups and top with a spoonful of berry sauce and almond slivers to taste. Garnish with mint leaves.

Immagine ravvicinata del budino pronto

Version with gluten of Peach pudding with coconut and mint with no added sugar

The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

 

The Ricotta and Lentil Tart is the start of a wonderful journey in the company of a blogger friend, Aura from the blog www.aurasenzaelle.comduring which we will accompany you to discover the regions of our enchanting Italy with an itinerary of trekking and typical dishes.

The ’20 di cambiamento’ project

My friend Aura’s project is called ‘20 di cambiamento‘ and is a tour throughout Italy divided into weekends. I summarise it in 4 points, but you can read the full description in this article:

  • One visit in each of the 20 Italian regions;
  • One trek in each of the 20 visits;
  • A different person for each of the 20 visits to act as a guide to connect with that place;
  • A virtuous local company (for sustainability, environmental commitment, production respecting the land) to be visited, supported and promoted.

This is where I come in with the recipes of the dishes that you will find if you travel to that region and that you can then reproduce at home, in gluten or gluten free versions and with a carbohydrate count, to relive the experience also through taste.

The first stop

The journey starts from a region, Umbria, which is often not at the top of the list of those visiting Italy, but which is a jewel for its historical and monumental wealth (just think of Assisi), for its natural beauty (and here you can enjoy this trek) and an unexpected source of culinary specialities.

La Basilica di San Francesco d'Assisi

Umbria owes much of its identity to the presence of the monastic orders that attracted the faithful from all over Europe. And it was precisely the pilgrims who had a very significant influence on the cuisine of the area because of the need they had to carry food in their saddle bags that could be stored easily. It is no coincidence that roasted meats, cured meats, Schiacciate (flat bread) and Polenta, desserts prepared with nuts, but above all pulses are the mainstay of traditional regional cuisine.

The widespread use of herbs for both cooking and curative purposes is also linked to the presence of religious orders with the liturgical calendar often imposing ‘lean’ periods during which herbs were used to replace fragrant, rich meats.

In addition to truffles, fish from Lake Transimeno and wines, here is a list of Umbria’s PGI and PDO products:

  • Extra virgin olive oil PDO
  • Spelt from Monteleone di Spoleto PDO (which we eating ‘gluten free’ cannot use)
  • Colfiorito red potato PGI
  • Prosciutto di Norcia PGI
  • Vitellone Bianco dell’Appennino Centrale PGI
  • Lamb of Central Italy PGI
  • Pecorino Toscano PDO
  • Italian Salamini alla Cacciatora PDO
  • Lentil of Castelluccio di Norcia PGI

The first recipe

The first recipe (see also the second recipe!) that I want to share with you starts from the flower fields of Castelluccio di Norcia where lentils are harvested in summer after flowering, between May and the end of June, next to a multitude of wild flowers that make the phenomenon an enchanting and unique attraction.

La fioritura a Castellucchio di Norcia

The flowering of Castelluccio di Norcia (photo: Aura Moia)

The Castelluccio lentil is small, round and has a thin skin so that it does not have to be soaked to cook it. This pulse was one of the main sources of sustenance for the shepherds of the area, who combined it with the other ingredients offered by sheep farming. This is the origin of the Ricotta and lentil tart, a cake where lentils replace chocolate chips in a delicious way. I wanted to prepare this recipe because for those of us who do not live in Castelluccio, eating lentils as a dessert is certainly less common than the wonderful soups that, here, are often flavoured by the presence of pork.

Zafferano di Cascia dell'Associazione Zafferano Purissimo dell'Umbria

Cascia saffron of the Associazione Zafferano Purissimo dell’Umbria (phooto: Aura Moia)

Another small but pleasant discovery: the ricotta and lentil tart can be made even more delicious by flavouring the ricotta with Cascia Saffron – Pure Umbria Saffron another of the jewels of small family farms whose economy is linked to the production and direct sale of saffron and the other products they grow, such as lentils, grass peas, spelt, Roveja (do you know it? It will be the star of the next Umbrian recipe) and cheese. I tried it using the yellow gold of the Zafferano e Dintorni company which I recommend you to try by going there as soon as you can or by ordering it directly from their website.

Gli ingredienti del ripieno della Crostata di ricotta e lenticchie

Ricotta and lentil tart   

36.61g carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients for the pastry for a 20cm diameter tart

  • 125g GF flour mix for sweets, brand Sarchio**
  • 50g butter
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15g brown rice flour*
  • ½ lemon, peel
  • a pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling

  • 400g sheep’s milk ricotta
  • 60g sugar
  • 40g Castelluccio lentils*
  • sweetener* or sugar
  • cinnamon powder

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Prepare the shortcrust pastry (of course you can also use other recipes for shortcrust pastry); pour the powders (flour and sugar) into a mixing bowl or planetary mixer, add the butter and start to knead it into the powders, then add the egg, the grated peel of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. Mix until the mixture is smooth, then place it in the refrigerator wrapped in cling film while you prepare the lentils and the filling.
  2. Place the lentils on a plate and make sure they do not contain other pulses or cereals, then rinse them well and place them in a saucepan with water and a bit of sweetener (I used Tic) or a teaspoon of sugar. Bring to the boil and cook the lentils for 15 minutes. Drain them and keep them aside.
  3. Put ricotta cheese in a bowl, add sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and the drained lentils.
  4. Roll out the shortcrust pastry into a thin disc; I used a 20cm diameter perforated metal ring to cut the base on a perforated silicone mat and then I covered the ring to form a pastry shell for the tart; alternatively, cover a 20cm cake tin with baking paper. Fill the pastry with the ricotta and lentil filling and bake in a static oven preheated to 180°C for about 30 minutes. Let it cool and serve.
  5. Bake in a static oven preheated to 170°C for 45 minutes.

La Crostata di ricotta e lenticchie con gli ingredienti per il ripieno

Version with gluten of Ricotta and lentil tart

Use a standard shortcrust pastry, whereas the filling is prepared with naturally gluten free ingredients, so no other adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

 

Salads are a perfect solution for summer and this Legumotti salad mixed in a smooth, velvety Swiss chard cream, completed by sweet caramelised Tropea onions will give you the pleasure of a great gourmet dish.

The recipe is naturally gluten free and is rich in vegetable protein and fibre, suitable to be eaten at lunch or dinner, warm or cold; it is perfect as a main course if eaten in a large portion, or as an appetiser or first course if served in smaller quantities.

The Swiss chard cream will be a real surprise that you can use for so many other preparations: use it as an accompanying sauce for flans and fresh stuffed pasta, roast meat, mixed salads and, of course, as a sauce for pasta dishes (gnocchi with this cream are delicious).

Caramelised Tropea onions don’t need to be introduced. The only attention we have to pay is to the sugar they contain, either naturally or by adding brown sugar to caramelise them. In fact, onions behave like some other vegetables (e.g. carrots and peppers) which, when cooked, considerably increase the amount of carbohydrates per 100g: the raw onion contains 5.7g/100g, whereas once cooked, the value rises to 23.6g/100g.

For this reason, I have given you the carbohydrate value of caramelised onions separately so you can better calculate the carb count when adding them to your dish or preparing them for many other applications. Oh yes, because once you have prepared the caramelised Tropea onion, you can use it to season a pasta dish, fill a sandwich or focaccia, accompany a meat or fish main course, or even to complete a spoon dessert that I happened to taste on one of my culinary adventures.

Insalata di Legumotti con cipolla di Tropea caramellata

Legumotti salad with Swiss chard cream, caramelised Tropea onion and topped with grated salted ricotta

Legumotti Salad with Caramelised Tropea onion

24.52g carbohydrates per 100g cooked Legumotti pasta with Swiss chard cream

47.62g carbohydrates per 100g caramelised Tropea onion

 

Ingredients for the Legumotti and Swiss chard cream

  • 250g Barilla Legumotti*
  • 300g fresh Swiss chard already cleaned (without the harder white ribs)
  • 80g spring onion
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salted ricotta
  • marjoram
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for caramelised onion

  • 450g Tropea onions
  • 30g apple vinegar
  • 20g extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Start with the caramelised onions, which are the most time-consuming preparation. Cut the onions in half and slice each half into fan shapes. Wilt them in a non-stick pan with extra virgin olive oil on low heat and with the lid on; after 10 minutes, add the apple vinegar and brown sugar; season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 10 minutes, leaving the pan uncovered in case there is liquid on the bottom. Put the onions aside.
  2. Wash and clean the Swiss chard. Put a pot of lightly salted water on the stove and when it boils, blanch the Swiss chard for a minute, drain it and throw it into cold water. Pour it into a colander so that it drains well.
  3. Chop the leek and put it in a non-stick pan with the extra virgin olive oil and the clove of garlic; add the lightly wrung Swiss chard; season with salt and pepper, a pinch of marjoram and leave to gain flavour for about ten minutes. Remove the garlic, transfer the vegetables to a food processor and blend them to a smooth, homogeneous cream.
  4. Put a pan of water on the stove, add salt and when it comes to the boil, cook the Legumotti for 9 minutes. Drain them and put them in a bowl. Dress them with the Swiss chard cream and serve them on individual plates. Complete with caramelised onions and a grating of salted ricotta cheese. You can eat Legumotti warm or cold as you like: I love them in all preparations, so here is another recipe that may interest you, Legumotti with vegetables.

Version with gluten

The recipe is naturally gluten-free, so no adaptation is required

Who doesn’t have a Grandma’s Bundt cake to remember? I think nobody. Every family has a recipe to which their memories are attached. I have the memory of the huge Bundt cake that my grandmother used to make every week to sell in slices in the local coffee shop she owned when I was still very young.

And do you know what was the most popular way to consume it? In the morning in your cappuccino or in the evening after dinner dipped in a glass of sparkling Malvasia dei Colli di Parma.

The other special feature I remember about that cake was its baking, which was done in the Dutch oven, as the only other oven we had was the huge wood-burning oven that was only heated when bread was made for the week.

My version of Grandma’s Bundt cake is definitely lighter and in line with our needs, although my grandmother used corn and potato starch for this cake, but to these she added a lot of butter, which I replaced with seed oil and almond flour. See here how to prepare it.

I also like to use the doughnut as a dessert at the end of a meal, and if we don’t want to dunk it in wine as traditionally, I like to accompany it with a cream so that it doesn’t turn out too dry, for example a lemon-flavoured custard, some melted dark chocolate, or, since we are now expecting the warm weather, a scoop of ice cream for a little refreshment.

Grandma’s Bundt cake     

46.72g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 140g brown sugar and coconut sugar together
  • 125g rice cream*
  • 100g corn starch*
  • 100g potato starch*
  • 100g grapeseed oil
  • 100g ground almonds to make a flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 16g baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • stack spray*
  • grated lemon zest

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Whip sugar with eggs in a planetary mixer until white and frothy.
  2. Gradually add the other ingredients while continuing to mix and in this order: flour, almonds, rice cream, seed oil, baking powder and salt. Season the mixture with grated lemon zest, or vanilla or cinnamon to taste.
  3. Spray the Bundt cake mould with suitable stack spray (or butter and flour the mould, using lactose-free butter if you are lactose intolerant) and pour the mixture into it, levelling out. As a variation, you can take a few spoonfuls of the dough and add cocoa that has been diluted in coconut or almond milk so that no lumps form, and drop the chocolate mixture randomly into the mould containing the white mixture to make a variegated cake.
  4. Bake in a static oven preheated to 170°C for 35 minutes.
  5. Take the doughnut out of the oven and let it cool. You can serve the doughnut as it is, dusted with just a pinch of icing sugar, or you can top it with a bit of melted dark chocolate, lemon icing or any other cream you like.

Version with gluten

The recipe is naturally gluten-free, so no adaptations are needed.

Why Crostini with non-liver pâté? Tuscany is the home of liver pâté and Florence has become our adopted city because it is in this splendid city that Gaia and Nico are followed by the Meyer Hospital diabetology department, directed by our splendid Doc., Sonia Toni, who is always present, even at a distance, with timely information and medical and psychological support when worries prevail.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Toni is present in this blog to answer any questions about diabetes that you may have.

So, every three months, we go to the beautiful Medici city for my children’s regular check-ups and we always try, given the distance we cover and the fact that the day cannot include other commitments, to include a little visit to the city centre and maybe a lunch of Tuscan cuisine, which we love!

On one of many occasions, I went with Gaia to Trattoria Cammillo (https://www.facebook.com/Cammillo-201813633167651/) which, despite its name, is a fairly elegant and not exactly inexpensive restaurant in the centre of Florence, very close to the Arno river with a gluten free menu. Since Gaia had never tasted the typical Crostini with liver pâté and having finally found them gluten free, I recommended that she order this dish: I must say that Gaia and livers are not exactly in the same taste sphere! I’ll spare you the tale of some difficult moments at the table, and it’s a good thing I like Crostini so much, so with a quick exchange of dishes we got out of the impasse.

So I thought I would prepare some Crostini that are in every way similar to this Tuscan speciality, except for the ingredients used in their preparation: lentils! And I must confess one thing in all honesty: they did not make me miss the original!

Crostini with non-liver pâté   

16.29g carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients

  • 160g mixed lentils (red, yellow and green) (will be about 400g cooked)
  • 100g red wine
  • 50g sheep’s milk ricotta
  • 50g onions
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 bunch of aromatic herbs (sage, rosemary, parsley and thyme)
  • 1 truffle (to taste)
  • salt and pepper
  • bread (e.g. these gluten free rustic loaves)

Preparation

  1. Rinse the lentils, put them in a pot with the bunch of aromatic herbs, cover with water and boil for about 1 hour until the lentils are soft enough to mash.
  2. Chop the onion finely and sauté it in a pan with butter; add the wine and cook for about ten minutes. Put the onion and lentils in a food processor, add the ricotta and blend to a cream; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the pâté in a bowl sprinkled with truffle shavings and serve with bread croutons.

Version with gluten of Crostini with non-liver pâté

The recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

Soft potato focaccias for me are indelibly linked to my paternal grandmother. In fact, for many years, the tradition in our house was to make bread once a week, in large quantities, to be baked in the wood-fired oven on the farm.

The thing I remember most pleasantly is the time when we could eat ‘Torta del forno‘, a version of soft potato focaccias that my grandmother prepared by adding a boiled and mashed potato, extra virgin olive oil and salt to a loaf of bread. The new small dough (or sometimes large dough for everyone’s desire to eat this amazing food) was rolled out with a rolling pin, cut into strips of about 15x7cm and thrown onto the bricks of the wood-fired oven to test its temperature. Indeed, our wood-burning oven never had a thermometer, so based on the colour of the surface of the bread strips we could tell if the oven was too hot, and so we had to wait to bake the bread, or was not hot enough, and so we had to burn more wood inside.

These scones are a tribute to that flavour, although baking in a wood-fired oven certainly gives different aromas and flavours. However, I can assure you that my grandmother really liked this version.

Soft potato focaccias

43.66g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 400g water
  • 300g potatoes
  • 220g gluten free multi-purpose flour mix, brand Massimo Zero**
  • 170g flour mix for bread, brand Caputo Fioreglut**
  • 60g wholemeal rice flour*
  • 30g buckwheat flour*
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 16g yeast
  • salt, oregano, cherry tomatoes, olives, rice flour for shaping

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Boil the potatoes, peel, mash and let them cool.
  2. Knead the remaining ingredients, form a dough ball, brush it with a little oil, cover it with cling film and let it rise for 1.5 hours or until doubled in volume.
  3. Knead again with the planetary mixer adding the mashed potatoes, mix quickly well, then take spoonfuls of the mixture, roll it out first with your hands, then with a rolling pin using plenty of rice flour, and with a pastry cutter cut out discs about 2 cm thick and 10 cm in diameter. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper and let them rise again for about 30 minutes.
  4. Brush the surface with a little oil and season to taste with oregano, olives, tomatoes, etc.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 40 minutes.
  6. To watch the video recipe, click here

Version with cluten of Soft potato focaccias

Replace the Massimo Zero and Caputo flours with wheat flour and reduce the amount of water to 300g.