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What vegetables await you in our April salads? Cauliflower, peas and leek will be the stars with the red touch of strawberries: find out how to prepare them.

Let’s start with an uncommon use of cauliflower: raw. Have you ever tried it? You will be surprised to discover that it is sweet and has a much more delicate smell than when cooked. It is in fact during cooking that the typical sulphurous smell develops, which often makes cauliflower not liked, especially by children. In the first salad, cauliflower is grated to make a tasty, micronutrient-rich couscous with lots of flavour and few calories.

My Quinoa salad, on the other hand, is perfect for a refill of plant protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free pseudo-cereal that has all 8 essential amino acids (i.e. those that must be taken in with food as they are not produced by our body) and therefore has a very similar nutritional profile to foods of animal origin. Moreover, due to its wealth of other micronutrients, it is considered a super-food whose consumption is strongly recommended as an integral part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Remember to rinse quinoa before cooking to remove saponins, substances naturally present in many vegetables, which may cause irritation to mucous membranes, but are completely eliminated by a pre-cooking wash.

If you only have a few minutes available, see how to prepare Three five-minute salads!!

Cauliflower couscous with Radicchio variegato

carbohydrates 14g for the whole serving

cous-cous-di-cavolfiore-uvetta-e-fragole

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 80g cauliflower
  • 40g radicchio variegato di Castelfranco
  • 15g raisins
  • 15g shelled walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon of toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 strawberry
  • Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Grate the cauliflower with a coarse-hole grater to obtain a couscous-like consistency.
  2. Wash, dry and cut the Radicchio into pieces.
  3. Assemble the salad by placing the radicchio on the bottom of the plate and the cauliflower couscous on top; season with salt and pepper, oil and traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena, then complete by adding the raisins, nuts, seeds and finally the strawberry cut into thin slices.

Quinoa salad with leek and peas

carbohydrates 20.11g for the whole serving

insalata-di-quinoa-e-piselli

Ingredients for 1 serving

  • 25g quinoa (weighed raw)
  • 40g shelled fresh peas
  • 30g leek
  • 7g desalted capers
  • chopped basil and sage
  • sun-dried tomatoes*
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Rinse the quinoa under running water and cook it in 75g of lightly salted water for about 20 minutes or until it has absorbed all the water.
  2. Put a little oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the finely sliced leek and peas in it, adding a few tablespoons of water to cook them. Add desalted capers and chopped basil and sage. When the peas are almost cooked, add the quinoa and season with salt (if necessary) and pepper.
  3. Serve the quinoa topped with a few chunks of sun-dried tomatoes and basil leaves.

insalata-di-quinoa-e-piselli

Cous-cous-di-cavolfiore-uvetta-e-fragole

Version with gluten of April salads

The recipes contain only naturally gluten-free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for their version with gluten.

Rolls are a bit like meatballs: one leads to another! Here is an idea for preparing delicious Romaine lettuce rolls with a tasty and colourful filling that you can also prepare with me by by watching the video recipe.

I wanted to propose a vegetarian filling because we know that healthy eating guidelines recommend consuming meat no more than 3 times a week (1 time red meat, 2 times white meat), so I am always looking for tasty alternatives to meat so that the rest of the family will not notice its absence. Another idea? Also try the Vegetable au gratin.

Even the choice of lettuce is designed to change the flavours as much as possible, in short, variety is the key!

Romaine lettuce rolls

14.91g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients

  • 250g Romaine lettuce
  • 200g grated cheese (choice of Caciocavallo, Parmesan, Pecorino, etc., also mixed together)
  • 100g breadcrumbs Nutrifree**, and a little more to dust the surfce with
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g dried tomatoes
  • 15g dried Porcini mushrooms
  • vegetable stock
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. Wash the leaves of Romaine lettuce and blanch them for less than a minute in slightly salted boiling water. Drain the leaves using a slotted spoon and plunge them in very cold water. Take the leaves out of the water and lay them on a tray or cloth so that they drain a bit.
  2. Prepare the filling. Heat the stock and use it to scald the breadcrumbs, which should be moist but not creamy. Let it cool down.
  3. Blend the dried Porcini to a powder; chop the dried cherry tomatoes.
  4. Add 170g grated cheese to the breadcrumbs, also incorporate cherry tomatoes, Porcini mushrooms and the whole eggs. Stir and add pepper (salt should not be needed).
  5. Take the lettuce leaves, remove the centre rib, place a roll of stuffing in the centre and wrap it, forming a roll for each leaf. Place the rolls in an oven dish, sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese, breadcrumbs and a drizzle of oil and bake au gratin in a static oven preheated to 200°C for about 15 minutes.

involtini di lattuga

Version with gluten of Romaine lettuce rolls

Replace the Nutrifree breadcrumbs with an equal amount of conventional breadcrumbs, while all other ingredients remain unchanged.

It is my friend Anna Gallo who takes me on a journey to her native land, Calabria, giving me a beautiful bread bag from the art textile workshop Mario Celestino of Cosenza. And that is how I came up with the idea of preparing a dish that combines land and sea, a dish where squid meets ‘nduja, the undisputed queen of the tip of our boot: Calamari in fish soup with ‘nduja.

Calabria is definitely the region where red is the colour that paints the table, and it does so with chilli, the star ingredient of the ‘nduja, the sausage prepared by mixing pork meat and other spices, but also of the Sardella, a spicy cream made from whitebait, as well as many other specialities, and textiles and local handicrafts.

So let’s paint our tables red and add a little spice to life!

Calamari in fish soup with ‘nduja

negligible carbohydrates per 100g without bread

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1kg squid, cleaned
  • 100g white wine
  • 30g slivered almonds*
  • 20g ‘nduja*
  • 1 sprig of parsley
  • 2 small sprigs of marjoram
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon with edible peel
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • homemade bread**

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. Cut the cleaned squid with beaks and eyes removed into strips and sauté them in a frying pan with a little extra virgin olive oil and the chopped clove of garlic. Sprinkle them with white wine and let it evaporate.
  2. Add the ‘nduja and cook for 5 more minutes: taste the squid and turn off the heat when they are soft because prolonged cooking makes them rubbery.
  3. In the meantime, toast the slivered almonds and use them to top the squid, also season with chopped parsley, marjoram leaves and a grating of lemon peel.
  4. Serve the fish soup with slices of toasted homemade bread.

calamari in brodetto alla nduja

Version with gluten of Calamari in fish soup with ‘nduja 

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

 

The new book by my blogger friend Raffaella Fenoglio of the blog Tre civette sul comò  entitled ’50 Shades of Coffee‘ has been published and I would share some of its mouth-watering recipes in the section of my blog dedicated to‘Friends’ recipes‘, so here is the first one: Coffee-flavoured ricotta Gnudi with Parmesan fondue

50 Shades of Coffee is a rich guide to this iconic beverage where you will find:

  • 50 curiosities
  • 50 ways to order it
  • 50 works that immortalised him
  • 50 aphorisms
  • 50 places to enjoy it (and how to say it in all the languages of the world)
  • 50 gastronomic-cultural itineraries that combine a recipe (not just sweet!) with a song, a film and a book
  • Infographics, interviews with experts, the reading of coffee grounds, etiquette for savouring coffee, the incredible range of aromas, the most suitable type for each zodiac sign, tell me how you drink it and I’ll tell you who you are: in short, a rich and entertaining dive into this chocolate-coloured world.

Copertina del libro 50 sfumature di caffè

Book cover 50 Shades of Coffee

A few words about Raffaella Fenoglio

With Raffaella I have shared many adventures over the years. Among the first experiences shared, there is certainly the splendid Contest dedicated to the Egyptian onion which I recounted on the pages of my blog during which I was a guest in the beautiful city of Sanremo, but there were many more occasion to meet in my virtual kitchen for cooking courses of which Raffaella herself wrote on her blog.

Besides being a blogger, Raffaella Fenoglio is the author of several books:

  • Abbasso l’indice glicemico 50+4 ricette per contenere l’IG mangiando bene
  • Indice GliceAmico
  • Gala Cox e i misteri del viaggio nel tempo
  • Storia degli strani animali della fattoria dei Monaci Templari e del coraggio della piccola Nicole (e di Claude)
  • Un tè con Mr Darcy
  • Christmas Love. Di biscotti, amore e fortuna

She collaborated on the culinary part of the novel Il gusto speziato dell’amore (The Spicy Taste of Love ) by Silvia Casini Fanucci, and on the L’Astro Narrante series by the same author

In 2021 the following books were published: Il taccuino delle parole perdute, La cucina incantata, ricette tratte dalle anime di Hayao Miiyazaki and 50 sfumature di caffè, segreti, curiosità e ricette sulla bevanda più amata al mondo. Co-authors Casini and Pasqua. 

She is also the creator and coauthor of Upside Down Magazine- Film, Book & Food Love. and with a group of friends in 2007, she founded P.E.N.E.L.O.P.E. odv, an active association for gender equality.

At this point, I think you will be excited to try the recipe I have chosen for you, which is associated with one of my favourite films, Pulp Fiction! Naturally, I have adapted Raffealla’s recipe to the needs of diabetes and celiac disease.

Coffee-flavoured Ricotta Gnudi with Parmesan fondue

11.53g carbohydrates per 100g

 

Ingredients for Gnudi

  • 350g buffalo’s or cow’s milk Ricotta cheese
  • 80g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 80g potato starch*
  • 30g brown rice flour* to flour the Gnudi
  • 15g coffee powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the Parmesan fondue

  • 250g heavy cream
  • 120g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. In a bowl, mix Ricotta with Parmesan, coffee, potato starch, egg whites, salt and pepper. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  2. Form balls with 30-40g of the mixture and roll them in rice flour.
  3. For the fondue, place the cream in a small saucepan, bring it to the boil, then remove it from the heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese, stirring well so that it mixes well. Season with pepper and place a few spoonfuls on the plates where you serve the Gnudi.
  4. Put a pot of water on the stove, bring it to the boil, salt it and throw the Gnudi, cooking them for about 2 minutes or until they rise to the surface. Drain them with a slotted spoon and arrange them directly on plates, then top them with more Parmesan fondue.

gnudi di ricotta al caffè

Version of gluten of Coffee-flavoured ricotta Gnudi with Parmesan fondue

Prepare Gnudi with 100g wheat flour instead of potato starch and use wheat flour instead of rice flour to flour them.

 

We could write pages and pages of recipes with tomatoes, so let’s start with this one: my No-cook stuffed tomatoes, a vegetarian, tasty, fibre-rich preparation that does not require the oven.

The main trick to make good stuffed tomatoes is to drain them and let them lose their water by sprinkling them with a pinch of salt and laying them ‘upside down’ on a surface covered with kitchen paper. Furthermore, it is important to choose perfectly ripe and firm tomatoes to get the best out of this preparation.

And if you like fresh fillings for summer, try my Travel Caprese.

No-cook stuffed tomatoes

6.64g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 720g approx. tomatoes (4 ripe, firm salad tomatoes)
  • 170g yellow and red pepper
  • 50g peas
  • 40g onions
  • 30g breadcrumbs**
  • 30g pitted black olives*
  • 8g capers
  • extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation

  1. Cut the tops off the tomatoes, empty them, add a pinch of salt, then place them on a tray covered with kitchen paper to drain the water they produce. Use the inside of tomatoes to add to a soup or sauce.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the filling. In a frying pan, sauté the sliced onion, then add the peas and diced pepper, and cook. Remove from the heat and add the breadcrumbs, capers, chopped olives and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stuff the tomatoes with the vegetable mixture and serve.

Pomodori ripieni senza cottura

Version with gluten of No-cook stuffed tomatoes

Replace gluten free breadcrumbs with standard breadcrumbs; no other adaptation is needed.

You know those recipes you can no longer do without? Herb-marinated chicken salad is definitely one of them. I therefore decided to share it at the beginning of summer because it will be the ideal solution for many occasions, from a trip to the mountains, to a lunch on the beach or in the office, this cold dish has an irresistible aroma and a flesh as soft as tuna.

Another not insignificant aspect is that you can prepare the chicken and marinate it in the aromatic oil even one or two days in advance and the result will be even more extraordinary because the meat will be even tenderer.

In addition to the courgettes in the marinade, serve the Chicken Salad with any other seasonal vegetables and you will have solved a naturally gluten free and virtually carbohydrate free meal. A possible pairing could be Cherry tomatoes with bread and anchovies.

Herb-marinated chicken salad    

negligible carbohydrates per 100g

 Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 800g boiled chicken breast
  • 300g courgettes
  • 150g extra virgin olive oil (which you will re-use once you have eaten the chicken)
  • 30g Pantelleria capers in salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 star anise berries
  • 1 tuft of thyme
  • oregano
  • chili
  • salt
  • lettuce and mixed leafy greens to taste

Preparation

  1. Cut the courgettes into ribbons with a mandoline and grill them for a few minutes on a grill or in the oven at 200°C on a baking tin covered with parchment paper. Put the oil in a saucepan, add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, thyme, salt, chilli and peeled garlic in fillets. Let everything gain flavour on a low heat for about 10 minutes, taking care not to fry the spices.
  2. Desalt the capers, cut the cooked chicken into pieces, put it in an airtight jar with the capers, the still-warm aromatic oil and the courgette ribbons, possibly adding more oil to cover the chicken; close the container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator a few hours before serving, mix well, season with a pinch of oregano and serve accompanied with lettuce and other mixed leafy greens to taste.

Note: the marinade oil remaining in the container will be excellent for dressing other salads and as a base for preparing other dishes.

L'insalata di pollo pronta per essere gustata

Version with gluten of Herb-marinated chicken salad

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

Nature is coming back to life all around us with an explosion of flowers and plants, including edible wild herbs and aromatic herbs, so what better idea than to prepare irresistible Vegetable omelettes with herbs?

They are the perfect solution for preparing a healthy, naturally gluten free and carbohydrate freedinner to accompany other seasonal vegetables and a slice of fragrant fibre rich bread: don’t you think so?

Furthermore, if you find some dandelion or some wild hops do not hesitate to pick some to add to your vegetable omelettes or to prepare other vegetarian recipes.

Vegetable omelettes with herbs   

negligible carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 omelettes

  • 8 eggs
  • 170g Swiss chard (just the green part)
  • 140g Tropea red onions
  • 120g peeled tomatoes
  • 60g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • dried oregano
  • a few marjoram and thyme leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparation

  1. Clean the red onions and slice them. Wash the Swiss chard and cut them into strips.
  2. In a non-stick pan, brown the garlic in a little oil, then add the onions and Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper, then cook with the lid on for a few minutes.
  3. Coarsely chop the peeled tomatoes and add them to the vegetables in the pan; cook for another 5 minutes to completely dry the water from the vegetables and remove the garlic.
  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley, oregano, aromatic herbs and the cooled down vegetables. Finally, add the grated Parmesan cheese.
  5. Heat a non-stick frying pan of 18-20cm diameter with a little oil and pour in one fourth of the mixture, cooking the omelettes for 2 minutes on each side.
  6. Serve the omelettes accompanied by raw and cooked vegetables to taste.

Frittatine di verdure alle erbe

Vegetables omelettes with herbs ready to be enjoyed

Version with gluten of Vegetable omelettes with herbs

The recipe is naturally gluten-free, so no adaptation is needed for the version with gluten.

Mini Easter pies with artichokes are my single-serving version of the Easter pie the Easter classic and symbol of rebirth par excellence.

Prepared with the ever-present brisé pastry, in the filling, in addition to Swiss chard, I used artichokes and quail eggs for an irresistible taste.

If the weather and temperatures permit, with Mini Easter pies with artichokes we can also organise an Easter or Easter Monday lunch outdoors, even in the form of a picnic, as the mini pies are very easy to carry and enjoy, whether sitting or standing.

Are you ready to knead? Let us begin and… a Happy Easter to you all!

Mini Easter pies with artichokes  

19.26g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for the brisé pastry

  • 300g gluten free bread flour mix, brand Biaglut**
  • 150g butter
  • 80g water
  • salt

Ingredients for the filling

  • 300g cow’s milk ricotta
  • 200g cleaned artichokes
  • 200g cleaned Swiss chard
  • 100g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 12 quail eggs
  • 1 egg
  • 10g parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt, pepper

Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

  • 100g milk
  • 10g brown rice flour*
  • 10g extra virgin olive oil
  • salt

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparing Mini Easter pies with artichokes

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the brisé pastry in a planetary mixer or bowl until smooth and even. Cover the brisé pastry with cling film and place it in the refrigerator for the time needed to prepare the filling.
  2. Sweat the Swiss chard in a non-stick pan with a little oil and using only the remaining water from washing. Allow the water to evaporate well before chopping it.
  3. Clean the artichokes by removing the tough leaves and tips, then cut them in half to remove the choke and cut them into wedges. Cook the artichokes in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic (to be removed at the end of cooking), seasoning with a pinch of salt.
le mammole

Mammolas

  1. Prepare the béchamel sauce. Put the milk on the stove and bring it to the boil. In the meantime, mix the oil with the rice flour and when the milk has come to the boil, start adding it slowly into the rice flour mixture, stirring so that no lumps form. Add the milk and put everything back on the heat until the béchamel starts to thicken. Season with salt and leave to cool.
  2. Put the ricotta in a bowl, add the chopped Swiss chard and artichokes. Also chop the parsley, add it to the mixture and season with grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Finally add the béchamel sauce and mix well.
  3. Roll out a thin disc of dough on a cutting board and cut 12 discs of the necessary diameter to cover tartlet moulds. I used the non-stick 12 muffin mould by Le Creuset and a 12cm diameter pastry cutter. Fill all the mould.
  4. Fill the brisé shells with the artichoke mixture almost to the top and create a hole in the centre of the filling. Break a quail egg in the hole, then cover the egg with more filling.
La preparazione delle pasqualine

Preparation of Mini Easter pies

  1. Cut 12 disks of brisé pastry the size needed to cover and seal each pie using a fork. Finally, beat the egg and brush the surface of all the pies and use a toothpick to pierce the surface of each pie in the centre: the small hole will act as a ‘chimney’ and reduce the risk of cracking during baking.
  2. Bake the Easter pie in a static oven preheated to 180°C for about 25 minutes until the surface is golden brown. Take the pies out of the oven and serve lukewarm or cold.

Pasqualine ai carciofi

Mini Easter pies with artichokes ready to be enjoyed

Version with gluten of Mini Easter pies with artichokes

Replace the gluten free flour in the brisé with an equal amount of wheat flour; no other adaptation is needed.

How to prepare a Pinzimonio that no one can say no to? A cream of Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco and grilled Parmigiano Reggiano rinds for a recipe that is also anti-waste.

Radimonio? A cream made with Radicchio Variegato to make Pinzimonio irresistible 

The journey to discover the products protected by the Consorzio Tutela del Radicchio di Treviso PGI and Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco PGI, true ‘winter flowers‘ because of their splendid shape. To represent my region of origin, Emilia Romagna, and my family tradition, that of Parmigiano Reggiano production, I thought of a custom of peasant cuisine that I have always loved because it is an expression of respect for food and the commitment behind its preparation: the use of grilled Parmigiano Reggiano rinds.

All the work behind Radicchio made me inevitably associate it with the product my family has always been dedicated to. Radicchio is marked by long waits in the countryside and Parmesan cheese has to wait years for nature to take its course to give us unique and unrepeatable flavours. That is why I believe it is a crime to waste even a small part of the product, and farming culture teaches us never to do so.

A modern interpretation thus inspired me to come up with a way to enjoy a truly unusual snack or aperitif because it sees Radicchio variegato, normally eaten raw, cooked for a few minutes in a pan and a ‘scrap’ of cheese turned into a very tasty crunchy stick to scoop up a cream that also carries the aromatic note of another great product of the Veneto region, Recioto wine. Furthermore, the blade-shaped leaves of late Radicchio are ideal to complete the tasting experience.

Trying is believing.

What Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco PGI looks like

Il radicchio variegato di Castelfranco

Radicchio Variegato di Castelfranco: a beautiful rose

Its beautiful rose shape and the play of colours of its leaves makes us associate it with a very special flower because it blooms when others are asleep, i.e. in winter. Its origin is a hybrid between radicchio and escarole from which Variegato takes a combination of characteristics.

The product bears the name of the town where the country culture of its cultivation is rooted in the history of a plain characterised by long, harsh winters during which families found shelter from the cold by gathering in the stables. It was in the stables, protected by straw, that chicories were stored to protect them from frost and, as often happens, an extraordinary method was discovered to make the plants even tastier: the forcing technique.

What is the forcing technique?

This is the technique whereby the plants are left in the dark (in ancient times under straw, today under special cloths) so that they lose their chlorophyll, the whitening process we also saw in Radicchio Tardivo. In addition to taking on their unmistakable colour, the bitter taste of the chicories fades and the leaves acquire an extraordinary crunchiness.

To enjoy Radicchio Tardivo in a slightly unusual way, try the Strozzapreti with Radicchio and pumpkin fondue.

Radimonio, my Pinzimonio with a Radicchio Variegato dip

2.2g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 300g Radicchio variegato di Castelfranco PGI
  • 150g Crescenza cheese (I used goat’s milk cheese)
  • 100g shallot
  • 50g Recioto wine
  • 1 clove garlic
  • rinds of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • leaves of Radicchio di Treviso tardivo
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt

Preparation

  1. Cut the shallot into thin slices and sweat it slowly in a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Wash the radicchio, cut it into strips and add it to the shallots. Cook it for a few minutes over high heat while continuing to stir it with a wooden spoon. Douse Radicchio with the Recioto wine and end cooking without allowing the Radicchio to dry out too much: overall cook for about 6-7 minutes.
  3. Transfer the Radicchio into a blender or food processor, blend it to a cream, add the Crescenza cheese and blend again to make the mixture smooth and even. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Take the Parmsan rinds remaining after eating up the cheese, scrape them with a knife to clean the outside. I like to leave them slightly thick, about 5mm, so that the inside is also slightly softer.
  5. Place a grill on the stove and heat it up to a high temperature; lay the Parmesan rinds on it and grill them on both sides until they acquire a dark golden-brown colour.
  6. Place the cream in a bowl and serve it with the warm rinds and the Radicchio tardivo leaves, both of which can be used as ‘spoons’ to scoop up the Radicchio cream.
Radimonio con croste di parmigiano grigliate e radicchio tardivo

Radimonio with grilled Parmesan rinds and Radicchio tardivo

Version with gluten of Radimonio

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

Cream of escarole with Speck and croutons is a perfect idea for warm dinners in the first cold days of autumn. Being vegetable-based, the cream itself is naturally gluten free and has very low carbohydrate content, possibly offset by the addition of fragrant and tasty croutons.

Escarole cream is very much appreciated by those who like slightly bitter flavours, while it might not appeal to children who are not used to these notes: my children love it and enjoy alternating Speck with cubes of sweet Salame Felino  (something that Parma’s homes almost always have in stock) which helps to balance the dish.

The version I propose is also lactose and egg free. If you like, and always lactose free, you can also season it with Parmesan cheese slivers and a few walnuts for a completely different taste.

In the calculation of carbohydrates, I have not considered croutons because the amount added to the escarole cream may vary greatly, as can the type of bread we decide to use to prepare them: personally, I am partial to wholemeal bread, such as the Dark bread with flax seedswhich allows us to obtain very fragrant croutons.

So with the cold weather approaching, be prepared that we won’t run out of creams and soups!

Escarole Cream with Speak and croutons   

2.70g carbohydrates per 100g without croutons

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1kg escarole
  • 300g leek
  • 300g vegetable stock
  • 120g Speck in strips*
  • 30g extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for croutons

  • 3 slices of wholemeal bread**
  • 30g extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper, dried marjoram

Preparation

  1. Slice the leeks and sautée them in a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil and a few whole chilli peppers, which you will then remove before blending; add the escarole cut into strips, allow it to take on flavour for about 5 minutes, then add 2 ladles of stock, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Transfer everything into the jar of a food processor and blend to a fairly thick cream; season with salt and pepper. Should the cream be too runny, return it to the heat and let it thicken.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the croutons. Cut the bread slices into 2cm pieces. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the bread pieces and let them toast slowly until crispy. Towards the end, season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of marjoram, then leave to season and turn off the heat.
  3. Serve the escarole cream in soup plates and complete with the Speck in strips, croutons and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Crema di scarola con speck e crostini

Version with gluten of Escarole cream with Speak and croutons

The recipe contains only naturally gluten free ingredients except for the croutons, so replace the gluten free croutons with standard croutons.