An amazing rolled pasta with cheese, Besciamelle and prosciutto dish my mother-in-law in Italy used to make on Sundays every once in a while. When we knew Rotolo Rose was for lunch, nobody was ever late… period!
Translation Rolled Pasta with Prosciutto, Besciamelle & Cheese
Use a large pot. Fill it ¾ of the way with water. Add salt and oil. Bring to boil. Cook the lasagna sough with care, making sure not to break the slice. After about 4 minutes, remove from the water and let it dry on a clean linen towel. Shred one slice of ham with your fingers and place it loosely on the dough. .Repeat this process with 3 slices of cheese. Sprinkle some besciamelle sauce (recipe below) on it. Add Parmesan cheese. Now roll the dough and cover it tight with saran wrap (clear plastic film). Place in the fridge. When ready to bake, spread some butter on a baking tray. Cut the rolls in slices about 1.5 cm (½ inch) thick and place them in the baking dish. Pour the heavy cream on it and sprinkle some more Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven at 250 C for about 15m or until golden. Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 4 minutes. Serve warm.
•100 grams (3 ounces) of butter
•100 grams. (4 tbsp) of flour
•1liter of milk (1 quart)
Place the butter in a non stick sauce pan and let it melt at low heat. Add the flour using a whisk. Don’t let lumps form. Warm the milk and add it slowly the flour and butter using a wooden spoon or a whisk. Return to low heat and bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Stir often for about 15m.. Remove from heat and let cool.
Easily one of the most popular recipes we do in our cooking classes, I thought this would be a great recipe to share on the blog. Don’t think this is like any roasted chicken you have had at home. It will certainly spoil you rotten. If you are cooking for others, this never fails to impress!
Translation Tuscan Roasted Chicken & Potatoes
1 whole chicken cut in half (butterfly style)
2 to 3 large sticks of rosemary
3 cloves of garlic
2 lbs of Potatoes
3 cloves of Garlic
2 sticks of Rosemary
Wash the chicken well and dry with paper towel.
Rub the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, fennel flowers, paprika, and garlic. Squeeze half lemon on each side of the chicken and sprinkle some high quality olive oil.
Prepare a small bowl with a mixture of these ingredients for brushing the marinade later. (save a large stick of rosemary)
Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut in medium size wedges. Season them in a bowl with salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, fennel flowers and garlic.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
Place the chicken in a deep lasagna pan with potatoes at the bottom, then a rack and then the chicken on top.
Place in the center of the oven.
Every 15 minutes or so brush the marinade onto the chicken with a stick of rosemary.
When the chicken is golden, turn it.
It will be cooked in about 45 minutes,depending on the size of the chicken and your oven’s characteristics.
You can also do this on the barbeque, but the potatoes will have to be cooked separately. You simply need to turn the chicken more often to avoid burning it
7 months, 17 tours, 56 cooking classes, 144 guests and over 35,000 miles of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio are behind us. That was the 2008 season for us at Culture Discovery. As with last year, after coming back to the US, I have gone into video mode. Here is the first video I have made since coming back, which essentially sums up the season:
What a wild ride it was. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of work…. but always very rewarding. Most of all, we made a ton of new friends and had the opportunity to share something we love with so many new people.
Some new stuff in 2008…
We started the year unexpectedly using our ‘old’ kitchen down at the villa. We had started construction in September 2007 on a new 700 square foot kitchen, where the barn had once stood. Our old kitchen was too small for us to comfortably do classes for more than 6 people at a time, so the new kitchen was a matter of urgency. The new kitchen was supposed to be finished in April, but of course, we are in Italy. So in April we had a structure and nothing more. It wasn’t finished until late July, so we had quite a few groups crowd into the old kitchen for a while.
The new kitchen, which Paola and I designed ourselves, came out even more beautiful than we imagined. All of the counters are travertine marble, the sink is a solid carved block of travertine, all of the tiles are hand-painted, and the masonry for the separating wall and fireplace came out breathtakingly beautiful. The large lighting fixtures and our 90-bottle wine rack (which we found ourselves restocking every 2 weeks) were all hand-crafted in iron; and everything was finished by local artisans. What a pleasure it was to begin using it!
Besides the kitchen, this year we got sick of renting vans, and decided to buy a new one. We headed to Germany and got a perfect 9-passenger Opel Vivaro that soon became lovingly known as ‘Shultz’. When we have 8 or fewer people in a week, Shultz is always there to take care of us.
We started the season with five homes for our guests: La Campana, Vecchio Forno, Ponticello, Chiosco, and Trinita. By the end of the year, we added two new places, called ‘Caminetto’ and ‘Santa Maria’. Santa Maria is perfect for our guests that don’t do well with hills, as it is just a few steps from Soriano’s Piazza. It just went through a complete remodel, and makes for a beautiful place for up to four people. Caminetto became available in August, so a good number of our 2008 guests had the opportunity to stay here. It is the largest of the homes we offer, and boasts the largest terrace we have, with an amazing view out toward the Tiber Valley.
2008 also fostered some new relationships in Italy for our future guests. During the season we began to take guests to a winery and olive mill near Orvieto called Madonna delle Macchie, which has proven to be so popular that we have built it into every week we offer in the future. Moving into 2009, we will be offering our future guests the ability to actually rent part of the vineyard or olive orchard for their own personal wine and olive oil!
In April we met the incredibly gracious Prince Riccardo Nobile-Vitteleschi in the town of Labro, Umbria. He lives in the 1,000 year old castle of his ancestors, and has personally taken our guests on tours of his ‘home’. This has been so popular, that it is a staple for our 2009 itineraries now.
During the year, our travels through Tuscany and Umbria have brought us to new wineries, new monasteries, new restaurants, new towns… all of the more popular ones are in for next year, while the less popular are out. So as I look at the 2009 calendar, I can honestly say I am VERY excited!
So to those of you reading this that were with us this season: Thank you so much, it was a blast! To those of you reading this that are still looking forward to your time with us, know this: I’m looking forward to it as much as you are! We’re going to have a fantastic time.
For my first video post in a while, I thought I would start with a cool little video compilation made of some of the video I shot during some of the cooking classes we had earlier in the season. This video concentrates on 3 groups we had in May and June of 2008 — I’m not sure why I didn’t break out the video camera for more groups.
Featured in this video are:
Mary, Erica, Maka, Sue, Terry, Katie, Mary, Mark, Dave, Cindy, Mike, Peggy, Teresa, Anita, Steve, Jessica, Arlene, Gail, Marisa, Tiziana, Paola, Rita, Carla, and a few more.
The reason for the title (Dances with Mozzarella) will become evident at the end.
Last week Paola wanted to teach Alyssa, our 18 year old daughter, how to make Ceci Soup. She was saying it was so easy that she could do it blindfolded. As we laughed at her, she insisted that she could, so I ended up betting her $100 that she couldn’t. What started out as a stupid little bet turned into an evening of intense laughter and family fun.
We found a sock, blindfolded Paola and she went to task as I filmed her. While it all went quite well, she failed to consider a few potential pitfalls. For one, at our house here in Florida, we have a flat electric stove. Finding the buttons was an exercise of trial and error. Additionally, she had some trouble finding rosemary, and finally learned that Paprika and Marjoram smell more or less the same.
In the end, with almost no help at all, Paola pulls it off. More importantly, we had a week’s worth of laughter in an evening… and some great Ceci soup!
Those of you that know us from our cooking classes and tours in Italy will get a chance to see Paola do her thing at our winter home in the States.
I only hope you have as much fun watching this as we did making it. We’re even talking about make this a regular thing, turning it into a video cooking class.