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    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Win a Fantastic Prize

    For a bit of fun, it was suggested I might like to run a little giveaway for readers.
    You just need to  comment either on this blog, or on my Facebook page, or Plaxo or Sososimple on Twitter and you will be in the draw for the following. Sorry have to be  restricted to New Zealand only. Too heavy to mail overseas.

    A Coventry Gratin Dish
    Le Creuset Poterie Ramekins
    A Pretty Spatula
    And a Pottle of Perfect Italiano Ricotta
    Will make the draw in a week.
    I have been making quite a few dishes using Ricotta. Perfect Italiano Ricotta in fact and after making a couple of savoury dishes I decided to branch out on some dessert.
    It was time to make the Staff Lunch again. I have been a bit remiss over the past few months and I think they might just like a treat. It was still hot and a cool colourful tasty Pasta Dish followed by Chocolate Ricotta Pie
    So for the first course I turned a delicious Squid salad into Fusilli with Squid and Peppers.
    We ate delicious Calamari and Octopus Salads when we were in Croatia. So I searched the net for the one that appealed the most. I found this recipe on this Tuscan Recipes site.

    So first make the salad.
    • 2 tsp best-quality red wine vinegar
    • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • sea salt
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 tomatoes, diced
    • 1 green bell pepper, cut into matchstick strips
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchstick strips
    • 2 small zucchini, cut into medium cubes
    • 4 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chervil
    • 1/8 tsp hot red pepper flakes
    • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
    • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 lb squid, cleaned and sliced into thin rings (including tentacles
    1. In a medium sized glass bowl, combine the vinegar and 1 tsp of the lemon juice. 
    2. Add salt to taste and stir to dissolve it. 
    3. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil, the tomatoes, green and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, parsley or chervil, pepper flakes, thyme and scallions, and stir to blend. 
    4. Set aside.
    5. Put 3 quarts of water into a large saucepan. 
    6. When the water reaches a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt. 
    7. Add the squid rings and tentacles. 
    8. Cook just until the squid becomes opaque, not more than 1 minute (the water may not return to boil). 
    9. When they are cooked, turn the squid out into a large colander; drain well, but do not rinse.
    10. Immediately add the drained squid to the marinade and toss to blend. 
    11. Stir in the remaining olive oil and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. 
    12. Taste the mixture and add salt to taste as necessary. 
    13. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
    Meanwhile when you are ready
    Cook Fusilli in a large pan of Boiling well salted water.
    When al dente drain and toss with Calamari Salad
    So onto the next course.
    If you want to use Ricotta of course you must hunt amongst your Italian recipes.
    Giada De Laurentiis of course normally comes up trumps and this Chocolate Ricotta Pie is just divine.

    In the crust she used cornmeal but I used ground almonds.
    Also in keeping with the almond theme I scattered toasted slivered almonds on top for the crunch.
    If you wish you could use toasted pine nuts. Its up to you.

    For the Crust
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons ground almonds
    • 3/4 cup pine nuts,
    • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 3/4 cup
    • Pinch salt
    • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
     For the Filling
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 cups)
    • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
    • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 3/4 cup toasted sliced almonds


    Blend the flour, ground almonds, 3/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup sugar, 
    and salt in a food processor until finely ground. 
    Add the butter and pulse, just until the dough forms. 
    Press the dough over the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 11-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. 
    Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 175C.
    Line the tart dough with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. 
    Bake the tart shell in the lower third of the oven until just set, about 25 minutes
    Carefully remove the foil and pie weights. 
    Bake the shell until golden, about 10 minutes longer. Cool completely. 

    Combine the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. 
    Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. 

    Cool the sugar syrup slightly.
    In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over very softly simmering water.
    Pulse the ricotta cheese and cream cheese in a food processor until smooth. 
    Add the egg and egg yolks, 1 at a time, and process until smooth. 
    Add the melted chocolate and process until combined. 
    With the machine running, add the sugar syrup in a thin steady stream and process until smooth.
    Pour the custard into the tart shell and bake until the filling is almost set, 
    about 30 minutes or until the custard has set.
    Scatter the  3/4 cup toasted almonds  on top of the filling. 
    Let the tart cool completely before serving.
    The tart can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 days. 
    Return the tart to room temperature before serving. 

    Our Staff loved this lunch.
    Soup next I think. Autumn is coming.


    Lana said...

    I'm going to try the squid tonight - looks great....

    Couscous & Consciousness said...

    That salad looks beautiful - I definitely have to try that. Interesting to read that you ate salads like this in Croatia - I am off to Greece in two months time and hoping to be eating lots of food like this. The Chocolate Ricotta Pie looks sensational as will - maybe a special Easter treat.

    AKA Jane Gianoutsos

    Nom nom nom - as always! I have so many of your posts saved in GoogleReader to remind me to make the recipes laters! :-)

    Thanks again for sharing. (And doubly so with your reader giveaway!)

    So Simple said...

    Thanks everyone sorry about my delay in answering I put Comment moderation on by mistake and only just found loads of comments. Must take it off

    Anonymous said...

    Oh la la Gilli.
    Your salad recipe had me salivating away. yum . I will definatly attempt that one this week.
    Im glad your Asain style fish was a hit. so so simple yet so damned yum!!
    Love Justine x