Here are some new savoury recipes I experimented with last winter, some of them with the great help of my mum who gave me some good tips.
Piccoli calzoni (small ‘trousers’)
Calzone is made with pizza dough folded over and filled with whatever you like, usually with mozzarella, ham, ricotta and tomato sauce. I made little ones using different ingredients for the dough.
For the dough you need: 250 g of raising flour, 1 egg, 1 tbsp of melted butter, salt, 100 ml of lukewarm water.
For the filling you need: 100 g of ham, 100 of mozzarella, 1 egg, pepper; or prosciutto and mozzarella; or mushrooms and mozzarella; or courgette and mozzarella.
Mix the ingredients for the dough and let it rest for half an hour. Then prepare the filling. Grind the ham and mozzarella in a blender and add one egg and pepper. You can also prepare other fillings as suggested above, always add the egg and, if you like it, some pepper. The courgette and the mushrooms need to be chopped and cooked separately in advance in a pan with some oil and salt before being ground and mixed with mozzarella.
Roll the dough out and cut round shapes using an egg ring or any other ring shape you have (a glass or a mug for example) and fill it with the mixture you have prepared. Fold the dough sheet over and seal it damping the edged with water. Mark the edges with the tines of a fork. The calzone should have the shape of a half moon. Set the little calzoni on a greased oven tray and bake for 20-30 minutes at 200° C.
Ciacce or fried pizzas
This is a recipe from Tuscany; my mum and her sisters used to prepare ciacce in November during the olive harvesting time, so the workers could have some warm nourishing food when they came back from the fields. They can be savoury or sweet and are not baked but fried in a pan.
For the dough you need: 250 g of self raising flour, 1 egg, 100 ml of lukewarm water, half a tsp of salt or sugar, 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, and sunflower oil to fry.
Mix all the ingredients and let the dough rest for half an hour. Form small balls and roll them out in sort of small round pizzas, make little holes taping the pastry with the end of a fork and fry them in oil. When ready, sprinkle the top with salt and rosemary or oregano, or sugar for the sweet ones. You can have the savoury ones together with cheese, ham, salami, mortadella or prosciutto; the sweet ones can be good with nutella or cream.
Focaccine (small flat bread)
Focaccine are similar to ciacce (they can be savoury or sweet) but the ingredients for the dough are different and they are baked.
For the dough you need: 200 g of strong flour, 200 g of plain flour, dry yeast (a sachet, 7g), 300 ml of lukewarm water, 2 tsp of salt (or sugar), 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients and let the dough rest in a warm place covered with a damp cloth for about two-three hours, it should double its size.
Roll out the dough and cut out circles using an egg ring or a glass. Set them on a greased oven tray and season them adding on top, for the savoury ones, rosemary or pancetta cubes, grated cheese, black or green olives, chopped tomatoes, or simply sprinkling some salt on it. For the sweet ones you can sprinkle some golden caster or Demerara sugar on top, add pine nuts or mixed peel, sultanas or raisins, chocolate chips or dried fruit. Cover them with a film and store in a warm place for one more hour. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 200° C.
My mum and I made homemade tortellini for New Year’s Eve preparing the dough and the filling and cooked them in stock.
For the dough you need: 500 g of plain flour and 6 eggs.
For the filling you need: 100 g of minced pork, 100 g of minced beef, 1 egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg, 2 slices of mortadella, 1 tbsp of grated parmigiano.
Prepare the dough mixing all the ingredients and let it rest for half an hour. Prepare the filling cooking the meat in a pan with some oil and grind all the ingredients in a blender.
Roll out the dough and cut squares measuring on each side 2-3 inches (it depends on how big you want your tortellini), put a little bit of the filling in the centre of the square and fold it over forming a triangle. Wrap the triangle around your index finger, seal the two apexes (damp it with water if needed), and fold over the third apex. Here you are your perfect (or imperfect, which is good) tortellino. You can cook them in stock, as we did, or in water, drain and season it with tomato sauce or cream, and plenty of parmigiano.