Tag: fried sage

Pumpkin Crespelle with Ricotta and Sage

Pumpkin Crespelle

Around Halloween, my boyfriend feels the call of his American roots and carves scary faces in pumpkins. Being a good girlfriend I know my duties, so I went out into the world – or rather my local shop around the corner – to find only the finest examples for him. I brought quite a pretty collection back home and let him do his work but I ended up with far more squash in my kitchen than we needed. We had a vast selection, a few Hokkaidos in different shapes and sizes and butternut, which isn’t really helpful due to its shape but I forgot in my enthusiasm. So it was obvious, pumpkin had to be on the menu!

Thin, golden Italian crespelle have been on my mind for weeks but my inspiration was missing, I had no idea what to fill them with. Halloween’s squash became my muse and here it is: roasted pumpkin cubes paired with a little ricotta, the obligatory creamy Béchamel sauce, Parmesan and crisp, fried sage leaves. It looked and tasted so good that my sister Nina, who’s in Berlin at the moment for a quick visit, almost bit my laptop screen when she saw the pictures. We ate it all, so unfortunately, there was nothing left for her.

Pumpkin Crespelle

 

Pumpkin Crespelle

Pumpkin Crespelle with Ricotta and Sage

Makes 4 crespelle

For the filling

mixed pumpkin, cut into 1 1/2cm / 1/2″ cubes, 550g / 1 1/4 pounds
(like Hokkaido (with skin), or peeled butternut and musquée de provence)
olive oil
flaky sea salt
butter 2 tablespoons
fresh, large sage leaves 30
fresh ricotta 4 heaped tablespoons
Parmesan, grated, 70g / 2 1/2 ounces
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the Béchamel sauce

milk 600ml / 2 1/2 cups
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
fine sea salt
ground pepper
butter 30g / 2 tablespoons
plain flour 30g / 4 tablespoons

For the crespelle

milk 160ml / 2/3 cups
organic eggs 2
plain flour 130g / 1 cup
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, to cook the crespelle

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F (conventional oven) and line a baking dish with baking paper.

Spread the pumpkin in the lined baking dish, coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and cook in the oven for about 25 minutes or until soft. Take the pumpkin out of the oven and set aside, keep the oven set to 200°C / 390°F.

For the Béchamel sauce, bring the milk with the bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the boil, take it off the heat once boiled. In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour, let it cook on medium heat for 1 minute. Take off the heat and slowly add the hot milk, whisk until smooth and cook for about 3 minutes on lowest heat until it’s thick and creamy. Discard the bay leaf, season to taste and set the pan aside.

Mix the ingredients for the crespelle with an electric mixer until well combined and let the dough rest for about 5-10 minutes. Heat a little butter in a large, heavy or non-stick pan and cook 4 large, very thin crespelle on medium heat until golden on both sides.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan on high heat and roast the sage leaves for a few seconds in the sizzling butter until golden and crisp but not dark.

Lay each crespelle flat on a plate, spread with 1/4 of the pumpkin and sprinkle each of them with 2 1/2 tablespoons of Béchamel sauce, 1 heaped tablespoon of ricotta, 3 sage leaves, some Parmesan and crushed pepper. Roll into a tight wrap and place them next to each other in a baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown, switch on the grill (broiler) for the last 1-2 minutes.

Pumpkin Crespelle

 

Pumpkin Crespelle

 

Pumpkin Crespelle

 

Pumpkin Crespelle

 

pumpkincrespelle12

 

pumpkincrespelle8

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Creamy mascarpone, sweet oranges and woody sage! Here is a velvety variation on one of my beloved citrus and cheese pasta recipes which has been on the blog for quite a while. Almost ten months ago, I wrote about a dish which became our favourite midnight snack when we come home late at night and hungry, Maltese pasta mixed with fresh ricotta, lemon zest, basil and coarsely crushed black pepper. We were not the only ones who fell in love with this easy yet divine pasta classic which is inspired by the flavours of Malta. So many people wrote to me afterwards, some even on the same day I published it, that they tried and loved it just as much.

The recipe today has the same potential for me, but it’s velvety and smooth, even a bit sweet. It works with similar ingredients and it’s definitely a candidate for spontaneous midnight dinners as well. You could replace the mascarpone with heavy cream if you don’t have the Italian cheese at hand but it won’t have the same silky texture and creamy taste which makes all the difference, but it’s an option. The sauce is very simple, I mixed the mascarpone with an egg yolk and some freshly squeezed orange juice before I mixed it into the warm spaghetti, refined with coarsely crushed black pepper, orange zest and fried sage leaves!

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

 

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

For 3-4 people you need

spaghetti 300g / 10.5 ounces
mascarpone  150g / 5.5 ounces
organic egg yolk 1
freshly squeezed orange juice 4 tablespoons plus more to taste
zest of 1 orange
fresh sage leaves 20-30
olive oil
salt
black pepper corns, crushed in a mortar, to taste

Cook the pasta in lots of salted water al dente.

Fry the sage leaves in a splash of olive oil on high temperature for only 10-20 seconds until they are golden.

Whisk the mascarpone, egg yolk and orange juice and season with salt and juice to taste. Mix the creamy sauce with the warm pasta, divide between the plates immediately and sprinkle with pepper, orange zest and the crisp sage leaves.

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

 

Mascarpone, Orange and Sage Spaghetti

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

There’s something about fresh sage cooked in a little olive oil to the point of perfection! When the thick leaves become all glossy and golden, crisp and so full of flavour that they turn a simple dish into a fragrant composition with such ease – that’s exactly what this bunch of herbal crunchiness did with my simple risotto!

Our dinner started innocent and pure, I just cooked my Arborio rice with some chopped onions in white wine and broth before I mixed in juicy slices of golden sautéed zucchini. The vegetable added a fruitiness which made the whole composition light and fresh, but the crisp sage leaves on top put it on another level. The rich oil they cooked in was an aromatic concentrate of the herbs best qualities, warm and strong! When I arranged the risotto on the plates, I poured this herbal essence over the rice to coat them with this golden syrup.

That’s the secret to a great risotto (and not only for risotto), combining just a handful of ingredients that allow their individual qualities to spark!

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

 

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

For 4 people you need

zucchini, cut in half and sliced, 350g / 12.5 ounces
sage leaves 30
Arborio rice 400g / 14 ounces
medium sized onion, finely chopped, 2
vegetable broth around 1800ml / 4 pints (depending on the rice you will need more or less liquid)
white wine 120ml / 4 ounces
salt and black pepper
olive oil
butter 1 tablespoon

Sauté the zucchini in a little olive oil in a pan until golden on both sides and soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sage leaves. Let them fry until golden and crisp, for about 1 minute but mind that they don’t turn dark, set the pan aside.

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and the butter, add the onions and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until soft. Stir in the rice and cook on medium heat for about a minute. Add the wine and some of the broth, the rice should be covered, stir and turn the heat down to medium-low. When the liquid has been absorbed add more broth, a little at a time stirring in between. Depending on the rice, it will need more or less liquid. When the rice is al dente and the broth is more or less absorbed take it off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Close with a lid and let the risotto sit for a minute.

Divide the risotto and zucchini between the plates, sprinkle with some of the sage oil and top with crisp sage leaves, serve immediately.

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

 

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage

 

Zucchini Risotto with crisp Sage