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For me, the gastronomic journey in the Rieti area has become an annual appointment that has been repeated for three years now and that each time makes me discover new recipes of a cuisine made of few ingredients, authentic and with an unmistakable flavour: this is what Gnocchetti in frasca gluten-free dumplings make you experience.

But what are Gnocchetti in frasca? They are a dish handed down by the inhabitants of Micciani in Cittaducale, prepared with grains that were harvested and milled in the mills along the Peschiera river in the Velino Valley. These small dumplings were in fact prepared by mixing two flours, corn and wheat flour (which I have replaced with a gluten-free flour), on which the survival of families was based. The accompanying sauce is based on stewed beans that were flavoured with a few slices of guanciale, i.e. pork cheek, to give an unmistakable touch of flavour and the calories needed to cope with the hard work in the fields and the harsh temperatures of winter.

Today, considering instead that the need is to reduce calories more and more, we can possibly do without the splendid guanciale (which I used while remaining faithful to tradition, choosing the Guanciale amatriciano Sano) to prepare Gnocchetti in frasca with beans and tomato, thus transforming the recipe into a vegan and nutritionally balanced dish.

Tradition dictates that Gnocchetti are served as a soup by adding the cooking water from previously prepared Borlotti beans: in short, the perfect dish for cold winter days.

Read about the history of Spaghetti all’Amatriciana to get to know a land yet to be discovered.

gnocchetti-in-frasca

Gnocchetti in frasca gluten-free dumplings

20g carbohydrates per 100g

considering adding 500g of cooking water to the soup

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 400g tomato sauce
  • 200g gluten-free pasta flour mix, brand Molino Dallagiovanna**
  • 200g coarse corn flour*
  • approx. 160g lukewarm water
  • 150g dry Borlotti beans
  • 2 slices of pork cheek*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece of Kombu seaweed (optional)
  • 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. Soak the Borlotti beans for at least 12 hours, adding a piece of Kombu seaweed of your choice, which will help the digestion of the legumes once cooked. Cook the beans in plenty of water with the addition of a bay leaf, then keep them aside.
  2. Cut the pork cheek into cubes and put in a large pan to brown with a drizzle of oil, then add the tomato sauce and let it flavour for at least 15 minutes. Add the cooked Borlotti beans with a few ladles of their cooking water to make the soup rather liquid.
  3. Place the two flours on a chopping board forming a well, add a pinch of salt and start adding the lukewarm water in the centre of the well, mixing with a fork to start forming a dough. Add the water gradually as the amount may vary depending on the flour and humidity. When the flours are mixed enough to be worked by hand, start kneading them with your hands to obtain a homogeneous, smooth, firm and non-sticky mixture.
  4. Take pieces of dough, form long cylinders with your hands and cut them into 1 cm square dumplings.
  5. Put a large pot of water on the stove, salt it when it comes to the boil and throw in the dumplings to cook them. Drain them with a slotted spoon and pour them into the pan with the Borlotti bean sauce to allow them to take on flavour, adding more Borlotti cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and serve the Gnocchetti when they have the desired texture and flavour.

Version with gluten of Gnocchetti in frasca dumplings

Replace the Molino Dallagiovanna fresh pasta flour mix with an equal amount of wheat flour, adjusting the amount of water needed for kneading.

When talking about white wine in the strip of land from Parma to Piacenza, the first thought is Malvasia because this grape, whether vinified to obtain a sparkling, still or raisin wine, gives rise to an Aromatic Malvasia that is perfect for dishes prepared with local ingredients, just like this Cous cous with lentil sauce.

Aromatic Malvasia: Emilia lifestyle

Malvasia is part of the Emilia everyday life and in the province of Piacenza, in September, this wine is celebrated at the Valtidone Wine Fest, four weekends dedicated to wine & food living, i.e. dedicated not only to the discovery of local wines, but also of typical gastronomic specialities and of the historical-cultural heritage.

To enrich the festival with new ideas for dishes to be paired with Malvasia Aromatica di Candia dei Colli Piacentini, the organisers asked the Italian Food Blogger Association to select 30 Italian Food&Wine Bloggers to create a recipe with the ingredients of a Mystery Box containing food products from Piacenza and a bottle of wine selected by the Strada dei Vini e dei Sapori dei Colli Piacentini involving its local wineries.

Did you see what my Mystery Box contained? My protagonist is a bottle of Malvasia Aromatica di Candia, which I am expected to pair with a recipe prepared using at least 2 of the following ingredients: Pancetta piacentina, Borgotaro Porcini mushrooms, Valtidone saffron, honey and shallots.

My Malvasia di Candia is produced by the Mossi 1558 Winery and bears a decidedly romantic name: Baciamano, i.e. hand-kissing, because it is gallant and sensual, just like this ancient gesture, characteristics that have enabled it to be awarded the Gold Medal by both The Wine Hunter and the Japan Women’s Wine Awards.

My recipe to be paired with Aromatic Malvasia

My recipe is the result of combining ingredients I generally use in the cooler months of the year with cous cous, a dish I love to enjoy in summer because it enables me not to use the oven and to prepare fast and tasty one-course meals. Since the perfect one-course meals for my children are prepared with pulses and vegetables, here is my culinary proposal to be paired with Malvasia Baciamano.

Its spicy aroma pairs perfectly with the notes of shallot and dried Porcini mushrooms. Its intense flavour with marked acidity complements this dish whose personality is enhanced by the unmistakeable sapidity of a super crispy Pancetta that completes the sensory experience of a cous cous that we can serve in any season of the year never feeling to have prepared something wrong.

Cous cous with lentil sauce and crispy Pancetta paired with Malvasia aromatica di Candia Baciamano

Cous cous with lentil sauce and crispy Pancetta paired with Malvasia aromatica di Candia Baciamano

Cous cous with lentil sauce

19.44g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

  • 400g tomato sauce
  • 200g Chickpea and red lentil Cous cous Bia*
  • 200g carrots
  • 150g lentils
  • 60g Pancetta piacentina*
  • 15g dried Porcini mushrooms
  • vegetable or meat stock*
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • dried oregano
  • 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. Prepare the cous cous adding 200g warm slightly salted water to the cous cous; leave to rest for about 15 minutes, then separate the cous cous grains well using a fork.
  2. Soak the Porcini mushrooms in lukewarm water.
  3. Boil the lentils in plenty of slightly salted water for about 25 minutes, then drain them.
  4. In a large pan, heat up 20g of extra virgin olive oil and brown the finely chopped shallot and the cloves of garlic. Add the carrots sliced in rounds and the soaked mushrooms in small pieces; allow to sauté for some minutes, then add totamo sauce and oregano and cook for 15 minutes. Finish adding the boiled lentils, some ladles of stock to cover the lentils with liquid, then cook for another 15 minutes or anyway until the lentils are perfectly cooked. Remove the cloves of garlic.
  5. Cut Pancetta into strips of the desired size; put it in a frying pan (better if a steel pan like the ones used to prepare amatriciana sauce) with a dribble of oil until the strips are perfectly crispy. Drain the strip from the fat that has melted.
  6. Serve the cous cous topping it with the lentil sauce and complete with the crispy Pancetta strips. Enjoy the recipe pairing it with a glass of Malvasia Baciamano.

Version with gluten of Cous cous with lentil sauce

This recipe contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, however you may decide to replace the type of cous cous used.

If a historical company like Pastificio Berruto asks you to think of a nutritionally balanced one-dish meal for young consumers to be published in the middle of summer, I immediately thought of my kids, of what they would be able to cook on their own and, above all, of what would make them and their friends happy for a summer lunch. Here is my Coronation Pasta Salad.

My recipe draws inspiration from Coronation chicken, a cold chicken dish that was invented by the two women who ran the London Cordon Bleu cooking school for the banquet organised for Queen Elizabeth‘s coronation in 1953. The name is therefore a clear tribute to the event for which it was intended.

In addition to boiled chicken left to cool, the recipe called for dried apricots, curry, mayonnaise and sour cream, as well as other ingredients in smaller amounts. The two ingredients I took the liberty of making changes to are mayonnaise, the amount of which I have drastically reduced, and sour cream, which I have replaced with zero-fat Greek yoghurt. Furthermore, I turned the recipe into a delicious pasta salad.

So, I enriched the chicken with pasta as a source of carbohydrates and cherry tomatoes as a source of fibre and a touch of freshness. In short, a riot of aromas, flavours and colours for a truly royal summer!

Gli ingredienti principali dell'Insalata di pasta Coronation

The main ingredients of the Coronation Pasta Salad

Coronation pasta salad

22.16g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

  • 600g chicken
  • 300g gluten-free Penne Berruto**
  • 150g water used for boiling the chicken
  • 85g dried apricots
  • 75g fat-free Greek yoghurt
  • 75g mayonnaise*
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 teaspoons curry*
  • 1 level tablespoon of tomato paste
  • The juice of ½ lemon
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 peppercorns
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. Boil the chicken breasts in a large pan with the bay leaf, onion and carrot. Add half a tablespoon of salt and the peppercorns; bring to the boil over medium heat and cook for about 25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow the chicken to cool in the cooking juices.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the finely chopped shallots in a non-stick pan with a little oil; add the curry and continue cooking for one minute. Add the tomato paste dissolved in the chicken stock, the lemon juice and cook for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Remove the chicken from the broth and cut it into fairly even pieces.
  4. Mix together mayonnaise, yoghurt and curry sauce; add chopped apricots and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Season the chicken with the sauce and stir, making sure that it is completely covered by it. Leave it to rest.
  6. Cook the penne al dente in plenty of salted water, drain and dress with the chicken salad. Complete with a few chopped cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Serve the salad warm or cold to taste: it is simply irresistible!

Pasta coronation

Version with gluten of Coronation salad

Replace the gluten-free Penne Berruto with standard Penne Berruto, while the sauce contains only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no changes are necessary.

Here in the Po Valley, the fog has been with us for a few days and do you know what dish I love on these days? Onion soup au gratin.

Hot, fragrant, with melted Pecorino cheese and crispy on the surface, the whole family loves it and it is perfect as a one-course meal.

For the onion soup au gratin, you will only need very few ingredients, a diving mask (I’m joking of course, but it’s the only tool to keep you from crying while slicing the large amount of onions you need!) and a cooking time of 40 minutes, which you will have to plan. After that, enjoy this fantastic dish!

I forgot, you can also follow the recipe step by step in the video that kept us company in the spring lockdown: enjoy the video.

Onion soup au gratin   

11.88g carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients

  • 1kg white onions
  • 1lt vegetable or meat stock
  • 200g fresh Pecorino cheese
  • 4 slices of bread** (in my case 160g, i.e. 40g per slice)
  • 50g matured Pecorino cheese
  • 30g extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g brown rice flour*
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. Peel the onions and cut them into very thin slices, perhaps with the help of a mandoline. Heat the oil in a crock pot, add the onions, salt and let them stew slowly with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Sprinkle the onions with the sifted flour, stir well so that no lumps form, pour in the boiling stock, cover the pan again and cook for another 40 minutes.
  3. Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof single-portion bowls, cover them with a slice of toasted bread with a slice of fresh Pecorino cheese and put the bowls under the oven grill until the cheese has melted. Once removed from the oven, top with grated matured Pecorino cheese and a grinding of pepper.

zuppa di cipolle gratinata

Onion soup au gratin ready to eat

Version with gluten

Simply replace the gluten-free bread with standard bread.

Winter offers us some wonderful products, and Radicchio is certainly one of these delicacies whose secrets you can discover in this article dedicated to the “Winter Flower” and this recipe to prepare Ricotta dumplings with radicchio.

At the same time, cold days bring with them a desire for full-bodied, rich-tasting recipes, a solution to combat the cold and pamper the palate. For this reason, we like first courses that combine balanced ingredients with an enveloping flavour. So, here are our Ricotta dumplings with radicchio.

Served piping hot and creamy, they are irresistible!

Ricotta dumplings with radicchio

16.4g carbohydrates per 100g plain ricotta dumplings

Ingredients

  • 300g cow’s milk Ricotta cheese
  • 200g Taleggio cheese
  • 100g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 100g gluten-free multi-purpose flour, brand Schär**
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Radicchio from Treviso
  • salt and extra virgin olive oil

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. Start preparing the dumplings: mix Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour and egg, adding salt to taste. Shape into a dough ball and put it to rest in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Once ready, create cylindrical strips and cut them into chunks, they will be your dumplings.

Uno_Chef_per_Gaia_gnocchi di ricotta al radicchio e taleggio

  1. In the meantime, put a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the chopped Treviso radicchio. Once soft, add the Taleggio cheese and turn off the heat.

ricette senza glutine_Uno_Chef_per_Gaia

  1. Cook the dumplings in boiling salted water for a few minutes. As soon as they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and put them in the pan with Radicchio and Taleggio cheese.

IMG_2398Foto Lorenzo Moreni_Uno_Chef_per_Gaia_2016

  1. Stir gently over medium heat so that the cheese melts and all the flavours blend together.

Uno_Chef_per_Gaia_gnocchetti di ricotta al radicchio

Version with gluten of Ricotta dumplings with radicchio

Replace the gluten free flour with 120g wheat flour.