Earthly Treasures…Amazing Pleasures: Harvest Time in Italy
For this week’s Travel Picks Friday, we wanted to inspire you with Italian Cuisine and chose three scrumptious recipes for you to try out. These fantastic recipes were brought to you by Raleigh from LoveFromItalia, a superb blog about Italy, food, and travel!
It’s Harvest Time in Italy! Autumn is the season to forage the forests for Porcinis and Truffles; to pick and gather the grapes and the olives…from the top to the tip of the boot and on the Islands, the forests and fields are teaming with activity. Hard work, yes! But, the fruits of the harvesting bring boundless pleasure to all. Fresh porcinis, so succulent and earthy add their velvety texture to soups and sautés. The exquisite truffle, magical and sensuous used in honey, oil and compound butters! So lovely shaved over salads and pastas. Just harvested wine grapes are perfect for the traditional Tuscan Grape Cakes and Breads.
All are slightly sweet and moist with a subtle crunch from the grape seeds; some are more bread like made with yeast and honey and some are lighter and crumbly like cakes. All yearn for a glass of the wine that the pressing and aging of these juicy luscious gems will yield. Olives, picked and pressed, become velvety liquid. Imagine the very first cold pressing slathered on freshly baked bread – pane – fruity, herby, grassy, peppery, flowery liquid gliding and caressing the taste buds! Mamma Mia – Heaven on Earth!
The pleasures of the Harvest from the treasures of the Earth – recipes to love…
Tagliolini Tartufo Bianco
8 tablespoons unsalted butter – 1 stick
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus extra for grating the finished pasta
Freshly grated truffles**- for garnish – and minced truffle** – for truffle butter
1 pound tagliolini pasta – fresh preferred
Make truffle** butter – Combine by hand or with a hand mixer:
1 teas. finely minced truffle
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 stick – 8 oz. Unsalted butter
Place in a small bowl and cover – refrigerate if not using right away. Let come to room temp. before using. Will keep 2 – 3 days refrigerated.
**Note: If truffles are unavailable, use 1 packet dried porcini – reconstituted and squeezed of moisture. Chop very finely and add to butter.
**: For truffle shavings, substitute slivers of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Cook the tagliolini in salted boiling water – in a large pot. Approximately 1 minute before the pasta is ‘al dente‘, remove the pasta from the pot and drain, saving some pasta water. Place the pasta in a preheated warm skillet over low heat. Add 4 tablespoons of the truffle butter and some of the reserved pasta water and toss. Remove from the heat and continue to toss until well combined and smooth. Transfer to a platter and top with shaved truffles – CAREFUL…they are potent! – or slivers of cheese. Serve.
For a triple treats, sprinkle with a few drops of truffle oil!
Bruschetta con Funghi
1 loaf Ciabatta or other Italian bread, sliced and toasted or grilled
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed so you can remove it
2 pounds assorted mushrooms (recommended: porcini, cremini, white…any others you may like), cleaned and chopped
Salt and finely ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
Bunch of fresh Italian parsley, chopped – about 2/3 cup
Prepare the toasts and set aside.
For the mushrooms:
In a large saucepan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and the mixed mushrooms, and cook until soft. Remove the garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the wine. Let the wine reduce and cook a few more minutes until slightly thickened. Sprinkle with parsley at the very end and spoon on top of the toasts. Serve and ENJOY!
Torta con L’Uva – Tuscan Wine Grape Cake
3 extra large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup – 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
½ – cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ – cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour sifted with 1 – 1/2 teas. baking powder and ¼ teas. sea salt
Zest of one lemon
2 lbs. wine grapes or blackberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9 inch spring form pan. Line it with parchment paper.
With a stand mixer, cream the eggs, sugar and butter until light. Add the olive oil, milk and vanilla. Add the sifted flour mixture and the lemon zest and mix briefly until blended. Pour batter in the prepared pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and gently press the grapes or blackberries into the top of the cake. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes – until browned and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Undo the spring and release the cake. Serve plain or drizzled with honey. Accompany with a sharp cheese and a glass of wonderful Chianti!