quick terrine a l’Italienne

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galantina, a favorite holiday recipe of our family, quick, easy and delicious

GALANTINA. This is one of those recipes for which I’ll be grateful forever. It’s easy to make, can be prepared in advance, it’s a crowd pleaser and – with the appropriate presentation – it’s actually quite fancy, great for parties and holidays.

My mum called this dish galantina, but technically speaking this is a terrine . A galantine is made by stuffing de-boned fowl with a mixture of meat, eggs, spices. It’s then poached and served cold in aspic. It’s an ancient dish probably developed to use and add flavor to inferior cuts of meat. A similar preparation is mentioned as early as the 4th century AD  in the bible of aristocratic Roman cuisine, De Re Coquinaria.

A terrine is basically a galantine without the bird outside. Terra means Earth in Latin. The name terrine derives from the earthenware pot used to cook the stuffing.

This is a relatively light terrine baked in a loaf mold with no lining of fat, nor marinades or weighing after cooking. Simple, Italian style.

Recipe

  • 200 gr (1/2 lb) each lean pork, veal, turkey breast
  • 100 gr (3.5 oz)  each mortadella (the real Italian one, not bologna), cured ham, grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs and one yolk
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg
  • a 1.3 lt. (5-cup) terrine mold or loaf pan

Find a kind butcher. Ask him to grind all the meats together. Alternatively buy ground meat and chop ham and mortadella very finely.

Preheat oven at 180 °C (350 °F).

Mix the ground meats, eggs, Parmesan, a pinch grated nutmeg, a sprinkle of black pepper and 1 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.

Butter generously a terrine or loaf mold. Fill terrine evenly with ground-meat mixture, making sure it is compact. Cover the terrine tightly with a double layer of foil.

Place it in a deep roasting tin, then pour around enough just-boiled water to come halfway up. Bake in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out hot and the juices run clear.

Take the terrine out of the bain-marie and leave to cool at room temperature for 3–4 hours. If you need to keep it, chill it before slicing for up to 2 days.

Cut in 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick slices. I always serve them on an oval plate surrounded by spoonfuls of lovely peas and ham.

Makes 24 slices, serves 8.

meat and spinach cannelloni

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authentic Italian cannelloni, a feast

Warning: mistreated recipe! If you have any intention of using those chewy curly no-boil lasagna,  lumpia/wanton wrappers, manicotti tubes, tortilla, frozen crepes or other horrors please don’t even read this recipe. In fact, you might want to go out for dinner or make mac n’ cheese.

Like lasagna, this is a labor-intensive pasta recipe. It’s a dish of sublime goodness which deserves to be revered and prepared with loving care for the appropriate (grand) occasion. The effort will be totally worthy, I promise you.

The success of this dish is based on high-quality ingredients, a restrained amount of sauce, a relatively dry but wonderfully savory filling. By the time it is ready to eat, the pasta should remain al dente.

Recipe

  • 700 gr (forty 6- by 4-inch) fresh pasta rectangles or thin dry lasagna noodles
  • for soffritto: 1 onion, 1  celery rib, 1 carrot, all finely chopped
  • 700 gr (1.5 lb) good quality ground red meat. I use a mixture of pork and beef.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 200 gr (7 oz)  sliced ham, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 500 gr (1 lb.) fresh spinach, blanched, dried and chopped
  • 60 gr (2 oz) finely grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano plus two tablespoon for sprinkling.
  • 350 gr mozzarella or mild cow’s-milk cheese, sliced
  • 2/3 cup Bechamel sauce
  • 1.5 lt (6 cups) basic tomato sauce flavored with a handful of basil leaves

Schedule:

  1. Make tomato sauce and Bechamel
  2. Blanch spinach
  3. Slice ham, cheese and soffritto vegetables
  4. Make filling
  5. Blanch pasta sheets
  6. Assemble the cannelloni (see the full process here)
  7. Bake

If you use your own pasta sheets you will need to triple my basic pasta dough recipe. Make them the day before, let them dry completely, covered with a thick kitchen towel so they will not curl up and break.  Storing at room temperature is OK for one day, otherwise freeze the individual sheets and keep in a freezer box until needed.

As an alternative buy the thinnest possible lasagna noodles. Preparing the tomato sauce and blanched spinach in advance also helps with time management.

To make filling:

In a shallow heavy-bottomed pan saute onion, carrot and celery with two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. This is called a soffritto. When the vegetables are translucent, increase heat, add ground meat and saute quickly until just starting to brown. Deglaze with white wine, season with salt, nutmeg and black pepper and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, pulse ham, spinach and grated Parmesan until finely ground. Add to cooked ground meat together with 2-3 tablespoon tomato sauce. Do not use frozen spinach, they tend to retain too much water. If the filling is too moist the cannelloni will fall apart during cooking.

To assemble the cannelloni:

Bring a large pot of salted water to rolling boil, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Boil pasta 10 pieces at a time in a large pot, stirring lightly to separate, until just tender, about 1/2 minute for fresh pasta or about 3 minutes for dry noodles. Drain in a colander. Using thick rubber gloves gently transfer the pasta sheets on a clean work-top and lay them flat to cool. Preheat oven to  200 °C (400°F).

Spread about 2 tablespoon filling in a line along the diagonal of 1 pasta rectangle, top with a slice of mozzarella…..

homemade lasagna sheets used for cannelloni ready to be rolled

……then roll up to enclose filling.

cannelloni rolled nice and tight, ready to be placed in a baking dish

Transfer them to a baking dish arranging snugly in 1 layer. Spread cannelloni with a thin layer of tomato sauce, drizzle with Bechamel and sprinkle with 2 tablespoon  grated cheese. Bake in the middle of the oven until the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Let them stand 5 minutes before serving. Cannelloni are  ideal to serve a crowd, each piece just lifts out of the baking dish in a perfectly sized portion. In addition they can be frozen uncooked. Just make sure to thaw them completely before baking.

Serves 12-15.

heaven in a roll

Sicilian pork rolls

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pork-rolls

herby, aromatic, melt-in-the-mouth morsels

INVOLTINI. This is one of my favorite recipes which I have adapted from the traditional “braciole” from Messina.

In the past, when my mother was a child in postwar Sicily, meat was expensive and available as a treat only. Stuffing the meat with bread served to stretch the portions further so to feed a large family.

The traditional recipe was made with beef and Southern cheeses like caciocavallo or provolone. Here I use our wonderful Umbrian pork, and local  “guanciale“, cured pork cheek. If you cannot find guanciale, use pancetta or unsmoked bacon. You can substitute  Parmesan with aged provolone as long as it is not too salty.

Recipe

  • 450 gr (1 lb) pork loin,  sliced paper-thin, beef carpaccio is a good alternative
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 150 gr (1/3 lb) thinly sliced guanciale
  • bay leaves

Preheat oven at 425 F (220 C). Pork should be sliced as thin as possible without breaking slices apart. Distribute slices over a tabletop and place a slice of guanciale over each slice of meat.
Add olive oil to the seasoned bread crumbs until they look moist but not greasy.
Distribute the bread mixture over the meat and firmly roll up each slice.

make sure to have very thin slices of meat and good breadcrumbs

preparation of pork rolls

Skewer 3-4 rolls on two parallel cocktail skewers alternating meat rolls and bay leaves, so that rolls are sandwiched between bay leaves. Transfer rolls into an oiled non-stick oven proof roasting tin
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 min, turning half way trough. Switch off, cover rolls with foil and keep in the warm oven until serving.

Serves 6