(= Savoury Flan with Ricotta Cream and Tuscan Kale)
Recommended wine: Torbolone
Prepare the pastry base: sieve the flour into a bowl, make a “hole” in the centre and pour in the yeast, dissolved in a glass of warm water. Start mixing with a fork, gradually adding the rest of the water, the salt and the olive oil; when the dough begins to take form, continue with your hands until you form a ball. Cover with a cotton cloth and leave to rise for 30-40 minutes.
In the meanwhile clean the kale, eliminate any outer leaves that are limp or damaged and remove the central ribs. To do this, hold the leaf firmly at the bottom of the stalk with one hand, then, once more at the bottom, grip it with the other hand and, holding tightly, move upwards along the stalk so that the leaf becomes detached. Wash these leaves under running water, pat them dry and chop them finely. Clean and thinly slice the shallots, then sauté them in a heavy-bottomed frying pan with 2 spoonfuls of olive oil. When they have browned, tip in the kale, season with salt and pepper, and stir; put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave to cool. When it has cooled down, put the mixture in a bowl, add the 2 eggs and mix thoroughly.
Now prepare the ricotta cream: put the ricotta through a sieve and beat it with a whisk, gradually add the milk – stirring continuously – then the grated pecorino, olive oil, salt and nutmeg. Continue stirring until smooth and creamy. Add the kale and egg mixture and carefully amalgamate it with the ricotta cream.
Take the dough – which in the meanwhile will have risen – and roll it out on your work surface, using a rolling pin and sprinkling a little flour so it doesn’t stick; try to give it a round shape, a few centimetres larger than the tin in which you will bake the savoury flan. Grease the tin with butter, sprinkle it with breadcrumbs and then arrange the disk of dough in it, making sure it adheres all around the side. Tip in the kale and ricotta filling, spread it out and level the surface; sprinkle with the grated pecorino and bake in a preheated oven, at 220 °C, for roughly 40 minutes.
Pollo alla diavola
(= Chicken “alla Diavola”)
Ingredients for 2-3 people:
- 1 small young tender chicken
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp ground pepper
- 1 lemon (the juice)
Clean and rinse the chicken; then open it completely, cutting through the breastbone with a suitable pair of scissors. Flatten it out on a chopping board by pressing down hard with open hands, or maybe with the use of a meat mallet. Peel the cloves of garlic and rub them all over the skin. Put the chicken in a bowl or serving dish and season it with the olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and some salt, beaten together with a fork. Now add the sprigs of rosemary, broken into pieces, and a sprinkling of salt on both sides. It’s best to season the chicken at least an hour before cooking it, and to turn it over in its marinade of lemon and oil at least twice. Lay the chicken on a grill (1) or in a heavy-bottomed, non-stick frying pan, with the outside facing upwards, trying to flatten it as much as possible. Cook it over a very low heat for about half an hour (keeping it covered with a heavy lid, to make sure it’s pressed down, for the first 10 minutes). Turn the chicken, which should be browned but not burnt, and cook it on the other side for about half an hour as well. Take it off the grill and drizzle 1 or 2 spoonfuls of the marinade (previously set aside) over it on both sides. Cut it into 2 or 4 pieces (according to how many people are going to eat it, and their appetites) and serve immediately, while nice and hot. It’s a really delicious dish, and very Tuscan!
(1) The ideal thing for cooking “alla diavola” is a fireplace or barbeque, where you can prepare good embers.