Recipes - First Courses

Crespelle with asparagus and robiola cheese

Ingredients for 6 persons: For crespelle: 300g of milk, 3 eggs, 30g of butter, 120g of flour. For the stuffing: 2 bunches of asparagas, 350g of robiola cheese, 40g of pecorino cheese of San Gimignano, black pepper. For Béchamel 3/4dl of milk, 100g of butter, 100g of flour, salt, nutmeg. For gratin: 20g of breadcrumbs, 30g of butter.

Make crespelle first: add milk to the flour until the dough becomes smooth. Then add eggs, the one after the other, mixing carefully with a whisk. Brush a small nonstick frying pan with oil, preheat, and with the help of a ladle pour some cream into the pan. Spread it on the bottom forming a thin layer. Once it solidifies, turn the pan upside down. Let the crespella cool on a dry surface, and repeat the process, until the paste is finished. Then wash and clean asparagus, and boil them in abundant salty water. Once ready, drain and cut the tops, keeping them apart. Don't throw the water. Mix the stems and put them through a sieve, then add robiola cheese, beat the mixture with a ladle, season with salt and pecorino cheese. Share the paste among the crespelle, close them forming a small bag or a sachet, and put them in a baking pan covered with butter. In the meantime prepare béchamel, adding to the milk 250g of the water where you have already boiled asparagus. Season crespelle with the sauce, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and butter rosettes, then bake them in the oven to 200° for a few minutes.

Crespelle are good with many different type of stuffing. The most suitable cheeses for a smoother paste are robiola, mascarpone, and ricotta (goat's cheese can also be used, as well as Emmental and mozzarella, that can be used with other ingredients such as salami or stewed vegetables. Closing crespelle to form a bag is very choreographic, but it can take a long time.

Gnocchi with peppers

Ingredients for 6 persons: For gnocchi: 1kg of potatoes, 3 egg yolks, fine salt, nutmeg, 40g of pecorino cheese of San Gimignano, 200g of flour. For the sauce: 400g of red peppers, a small white onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, fine salt, black pepper, 150g of savoury ricotta cheese, a bunch of basil.

then add egg yolks and season with salt, nutmeg, and grated pecorino. Add flour and mix the ingredients, until the mixture becomes smooth. Let it rest for approx. twenty minutes, covering the paste with a cloth. In the meantime, cut the onion in thin slices and pan-fry with some oil. Season with salt and pepper, then garlic in thin slices, and cook until golden-brown. Add cubed peppers. Cook for approx. 15 minutes covering the pan and wetting with some water if needed. Put through a ricer. With the potato paste, form regular dowels and cut them into 1cm pieces. Boil them in abundant salty water and drain as soon as they start to float. Sauté with pepper sauce, then serve with cubes of ricotta cheese and chopped basil.

Boil the potatoes with skin, peel and put them through a ricer with small holes. Let them cool, Gnocchi can also be prepared with no eggs, with flour only. They can be coloured by adding spinach to the dough. If they are served with fish sauce, you can add some sepia until they look very dark. Pepper cream can be used to garnish meat dishes, perfect foil with white meat.

Risotto with mascarpone cheese, artichokes and saffron

Ingredients for 6 persons: 450g of rice (Arborio variety), a white onion, 100g of butter, 2dl of Vernaccia of San Gimignano, 1l of meat stock, 5 artichokes, 2 cloves of garlic, a bunch of parsley, 150g of mascarpone cheese, 1dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, fine salt, black pepper, 3 pistils of saffron of San Gimignano.

Chop the white onion finely and pan-fry with 50g of butter. In the meantime, clean the artichokes by removing the stem and the thorns, cut them in slices, keep them in water with lemon. Chop garlic and parsley, pan-fry with oil until golden-brown. Then add artichokes and cook them covering the pan. Remove the onion from the pan, add the remaining butter and cook on a high flame. Add the rice, pour Vernaccia and let it evaporate. Add hot stock covering the rice and proceed cooking. Once the rice is almost ready, add saffron (diluted in some stock), artichokes and onion, add some salt if needed, then add some mascarpone cheese.

Spaghetti with clams and broccoli

Ingredients for 6 persons: 500g of spaghetti, 500g of veraci clams, 400g of broccoli, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 hot chilli peppers, 2dl of extra-virgin olive oil, 1dl of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a bunch of parsley, fine salt.

Boil broccoli, drain them slightly underdone and keep the water. In the meantime, smash two cloves of garlic and pan-fry them with a chilli pepper until golden-brown: add clams after washing them several times with salty water. Let them open and remove from the flame, filtering the liquid with a colander. Chop the remaining garlic with chilli pepper, and pan-fry with oil. Add broccoli, let them become tasty, then wet with Vernaccia. When the wine has evaporated, add the liquid of the clams. Cook spaghetti, drain them slightly underdone, add sauce and mix carefully. Add clams with shell, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot.

The finishing with the cooking liquid is always recommended with seafood. This is the best way of binding the sauce without adding cream or other fat ingredients. If the origin of clams is safe, we can avoid to let them open beforehand, but sand is not appreciated in the mouth. Other good combination between vegetables and fish are aubergine and shrimps, or mussels and zucchini.

Tagliatelle with sausage, basil and chilli pepper sauce

Ingredients for 6 persons: For pasta: 500g of flour, 5 eggs (or 18 egg yolks), fine salt, seasoning (two garlic cloves, rosemary, three leaves of sage, black pepper. For the sauce: 350g of fresh sausage, one leek, one chilli pepper, 400g of tomato pulp, 2 bunches of basil, 1dl of extra-virgin olive oil of San Gimignano, 150g of pecorino cheese of San Gimignano.

Make pasta first, pour the flour on a working surface forming a fountain, add in the centre the seasoning, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients carefully, work it carefully until the dough is smooth, then let it rest in a cloth. In the meantime, cut leek in thin slices and stew in a pan with oil. Add the tomato pulp, season with salt and a bunch of basil cut in thin threads. Cook for about one hour, then put through a ricer, then mix with a hand blender. Add now the remaining chopped basil. Cook the sausage with few water in a pan to remove fat, spreading the meat carefully. Roll the dough out as thin as possible, cut tagliatelle and cook in abundant salty water, drain and season with tomato sauce. Add sausage, grated pecorino cheese and serve hot. Pasta with egg yolks only is smooth and silky. You can season it as you want, with spices, like saffron, or with aromatic herbs. You can colour it with spinach, tomato, carrot, after boiling the vegetables and put them through a ricer. You can replace sausage with pork underbelly.

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