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Ricotta Gnudi With Roasted Cabbage and Marconi Peppers

This recipe requires some patience and planning, because the gnudi take three days to make. Before you run for the hills, I should clarify: The gnudi take about 10 minutes to make – they’re really easy – but three days before they’re ready to use. So plan ahead, and your foresightedness will be rewarded. In case you’re asking yourself what in the world a gnudi is, a quick explanation – the word comes from the Italian for “naked,” so named because they are sort of like ravioli without their pasta clothing. The recipe I’m using here for these delicious cheesy dumplings comes from April Bloomfield, chef of the Spotted Pig and other restaurants in New York.

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1 lb ricotta cheese
2 oz heavy cream
2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
1-2 C 00 semolina flour or as needed
3 Marconi peppers, or orange bell peppers
2 T vegetable oil
1 head red cabbage, core removed and shredded
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C vegetable stock
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 T fresh chopped savory or thyme
1 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

To make the gnudi, combine the ricotta, cream and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover the bottom of a sheet tray or baking dish with a 1/4-inch layer of semolina flour. Using a 1/2 oz ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, portion the gnudi mixture onto the flour. Give your hands a nice coating of flour and then use your palms to roll each gnudi into a uniform ball shape, placing each back in the layer of flour. Once all the gnudi are rolled, place the sheet tray or baking dish in your refrigerator, uncovered. Allow the gnudi to rest for three days, gently shaking them or re-rolling them once a day to keep a thin coating of flour over their entire surface.

On the day your gnudi are ready, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, roast the peppers in your wood oven until soft and charred all over. Remove, place in a bowl, cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes. Peel and slice into thin strips. Set aside.

Preheat a large skillet or roasting pan in your wood oven. Add the vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. Add the shredded cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the vegetable stock, mustard, savory and sliced peppers and bring to a boil.

At this point, add your gnudi to the pot of boiling water. Cook until the gnudi float, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the gnudi from the water and add them to the cabbage pan along with the butter. Cook one minute more to allow the liquid in the pan to tighten up slightly and coat the gnudi. Transfer to a serving platter and enjoy the fruits of your extended, albeit light, labor.

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Stuffed Peppers With Feta, Pecans and Cherry Tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our dry, hot summer here in the Midwest produced a bumper crop of peppers of all shapes and sizes. You couldn’t swing Wilbur Scoville around at my farmers market without knocking over an overflowing bin of banana peppers or scattering a pile melrose peppers across the grass. This recipe is a simple late-summer side dish I concocted to make use of the bounty. I used round of Hungary peppers here, which look sort of like small, squat, deeply ridged red bell peppers. They have a deep, sweet flavor, like red bell pepper concentrated. If you can’t find them, substitute pimento peppers or small red bell peppers – but you will probably need more stuffing to fill them.

7 round of Hungary peppers, or small red bell peppers
1/2 C pecans
6 oz feta cheese, preferably goats’ milk
1 C quartered cherry tomatoes
1 T fresh chopped parsley
1 T olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

Cut the tops off the peppers as if you’re carving a pumpkin. Use your fingers or a spoon to remove the seeds and ribs from inside the peppers.

While you are cleaning the peppers, place your pecans in a dry skillet and toast in your wood oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Break the feta into small chunks and place in a bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, parsley and olive oil. Roughly chop the pecans and add them to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine.

Stuff the mixture into the cavities of the peppers up to the top. Transfer your peppers to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake in your wood oven until the peppers are just beginning to get tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the temperature of your oven. Remove the foil and allow the peppers to continue cooking until the filling is bubbly and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and serve. I really can’t think of much this wouldn’t taste good alongside, from burgers to bass, so go ahead and make some the next time you’ve got your oven fired up, no matter what else is on the menu.

 

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Proof the yeast

If your dough did not rise your yeast was dead. I proof the yeast by putting it in the water which should be 100 degrees F. If it is bubbly aftger about 10 minutes then it is viable. The flour has plenty of sugars that the yeast can eat….

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Perfect

I have used this recipe and wow! I have never tasted pizza crust/base so good. I use a tandoor instead of a pizza oven and the pizzas come out perfect. Thanks a billion!

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Pizza With Roasted Mushrooms, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion and Basil

If some evil, freedom-hating pizza dictator locked me in a cage and told me I could only have one topping on my pizza for the rest of my life, I would probably go with mushrooms. So here’s a recipe for a simple, more “traditional” pizza sporting some flavors that play well together, while still highlighting my personal desert-island topping.

You will notice that I roast my mushrooms before I put them on my pizza. While raw mushrooms have their place (where, I do not know), it is most definitely not on pizza. I think this accomplishes two things: First, you get more flavor out of your shrooms by pre-roasting and getting some nice Maillard reaction happening; second, roasting the mushrooms separately removes a lot of water that would otherwise end up in your pizza, leaving you with a less soggy pie.

As always, please refer to my first pizza post for my ramblings on dough: http://www.fornobravo.com/cookbook/index.php/12-recipes/pizza/172-pesto-asparagus-and-egg-pizza

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For the pizza sauce:
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C yellow onion, sliced
1 1/2 cloves garlic, smashed or coarsely chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh basil
1 14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

For the pizza:
1 T extra virgin olive oil
4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 oz mozzarella cheese
1/4 red onion, sliced paper thin
10 sungold cherry tomatoes, halved
4 fresh basil leaves, torn
Freshly grated parmesan, as needed

To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, season, and sweat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are just starting to turn golden around the edges. Add the thyme and basil and allow to toast for 15 seconds, then add the tomatoes, using a spoon or your hands to break up the flesh. Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer until it has thickened considerably. Remove the thyme and basil sprigs and use a stick blender or food processor to puree the sauce until smooth. If your sauce is still too thin return to the heat and allow it to reduce to proper pizza sauce consistency.

Meanwhile, roast your mushrooms in your wood oven. Preheat a skillet large enough to hold the mushrooms in a single layer. Add the olive oil to the pan; it should smoke. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and return to the oven. Do not stir your mushrooms for 2 minutes. You want your shrooms to sear, and stirring too much or too soon is going to drop your heat, causing the mushrooms to start leaching out water and steaming. Roast the mushrooms, stirring once or twice, until they are golden brown and delicious, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To assemble your pizza, stretch or roll your dough using your preferred method. Top with a thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Top with the roasted mushrooms, halved sungolds and red onions. Give the whole pie a dusting of parmesan, then transfer to your wood oven and bake until done. Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the torn basil leaves. Portion as appropriate and consume as desired. And then, if you’re like me, make another one.

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Curried Cauliflower With Chickpeas and Golden Raisins

 

This dish is actually one of my wife’s specialties. As a cook, I work in the evenings and thus miss out on dinner at a normal time, so it is a comforting feeling when I walk in the door and can tell just by the aroma of curry in the air that my late-night meal on the couch is going to be delicious and satisfying. I’ve done a little tweaking to the recipe, adapting it for the wood oven and adding golden raisins to the mix, which I think provide a nice sweet counterpoint to the earthy one-two-three punch of cauliflower, garbanzos and curry.

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
1/2 red onion, sliced thickly crosswise
6 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1/4 c golden raisins
2 tsp curry powder
salt and black pepper to taste

In your wood oven, preheat a roasting pan or skillet large enough to hold the cauliflower in one layer. Add the vegetable oil to the pan – it should be hot enough that the oil is just starting to smoke. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Allow to roast for 2-3 minutes or until the florets have begun to caramelize on the pan side.

Add the chickpeas to the pan and stir. Roast for another 2 minutes or until the cauliflower is even more caramelized and the chickpeas have begun to blister. Add the sliced onion and garlic, stir to distribute, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the onion and garlic have softened and begun to frizzle around the edges and the cauliflower is al dente.

Add the raisins and curry powder and stir well to distribute. Cook for one minute more to allow the raisins to plump and the curry to toast and perfume the dish. Remove from the oven and serve. This dish would be a great accompaniment to roasted lamb, or simply serve it over cooked rice or orzo with a dab of sambal for an easy and tasty vegetarian meal.

 

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Zucchini and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza With White Wine Cream Sauce

First off, I need to give credit where it’s due: The idea for this pizza is lifted from Pizza Orgasmica in San Francisco. When my wife and I lived in the Bay Area, the Ecstasy, as it’s called on their menu, was our favorite pie of theirs, and it led me to mess around with creating a white wine cream sauce recipe so I could mimic it at home. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Once again, please refer to my first posted pizza recipe for my ramblings on crust: http://www.fornobravo.com/cookbook/index.php/12-recipes/pizza/172-pesto-asparagus-and-egg-pizza

For the white wine cream sauce (enough for 4 pizzas):
4 T unsalted butter
1 C shallots, minced
1 1/2 C dry white wine
8 oz crème fraiche
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

For the pizza:
1 red bell pepper
1 zucchini
4 oz mozzarella
freshly grated parmesan, as needed

To make the cream sauce, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly, stirring often, until well caramelized. The shallots should have a nice mahogany hue. Add the white wine and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil and allow the wine to reduce until the pan is almost dry again. Remove from the heat and allow the shallot mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Place back over a low flame and whisk in the crème fraiche, mustard and remaining tablespoon of butter. Once incorporated, adjust the seasoning and set aside.

While you’re preparing the sauce, have the red pepper roasting in your wood oven. Simply place the pepper on the floor of the oven and allow to cook, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and soft. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow the pepper to steam for 10 minutes. When it’s cool enough to handle, uncover and use a kitchen towel to rub off the blackened skin. Slice the flesh into thin strips and set aside.

For the zucchini, all you need to do is slice very thin rounds using a mandoline or sharp knife.

To assemble the pizza, roll out your dough using your preferred method. Spread with a thin layer of the white wine cream sauce. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella. Top with some of the roasted red pepper strips and zucchini rounds. Hit it with the rest of the cheese and a dusting of parmesan. Move to your wood oven and bake until crusty, bubbly and delicious. Take the pizza out of your oven. Slice it. Eat it. Be happy.

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Potato, Roasted Radicchio and Thyme Pizza With White Wine Cream Sauce

Here is the second installment in what I have taken to calling My Own Personal Pizza Month here at the Forno Bravo online cookbook. For brevity’s sake, I’m only going to talk pizza construction in this article; for my crust recipe, please refer to last week’s post for pesto, asparagus and egg pizza, found here: http://www.fornobravo.com/cookbook/index.php/component/content/article/12-recipes/pizza/172-pesto-asparagus-and-egg-pizza.

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For the white wine cream sauce (enough for 4 pizzas):
4 T unsalted butter
1 C shallots, minced
1 1/2 C dry white wine
8 oz crème fraiche
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

For the pizza (enough to top 1 pie):
1 small Yukon gold potato
1 small head radicchio
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 T fresh thyme leaves
4 oz low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
freshly grated parmesan cheese, as needed

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly, stirring often, until well caramelized. The shallots should have a nice mahogany hue. Add the white wine and increase the heat to medium high. Bring to a boil and allow the wine to reduce until the pan is almost dry again. Remove from the heat and allow the shallot mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Place back over a low flame and whisk in the crème fraiche, mustard and remaining tablespoon of butter. Once incorporated, adjust the seasoning and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel the potato and slice into very thin rounds using a mandoline or sharp knife. Blanch the potato slices in the boiling water for 1 minute, or until tender but still holding their shape. Remove from the water and shock in an ice bath.

To prepare the radicchio, cut the head into quarters through the root end. Slice the core out of each quarter and then slice each quarter into thin strips. Heat a large sauté pan in your wood oven. Add the vegetable oil; when hot, add the sliced radicchio. Season with salt and pepper and roast in your oven, tossing frequently, until wilted and beginning to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a strainer to allow any excess moisture to drain off.

To assemble the pizza, roll out your dough using your preferred method. Spread with a thin layer of the white wine cream sauce. Top with half the mozzarella. Shingle the potato slices over the surface of the pizza, then add the remaining mozzarella. Distribute the roasted radicchio over the pie. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and finish with a dusting of freshly grated parmesan.

Transfer to your oven and cook for however long it’s taking to finish pizzas. Remove and allow to cool for five minutes, then slice and serve.

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