CAMPO NOVEMBER - STEP BY STEP GUIDE

Every season has its epicurean treats; the cold months of winter offer ethereally perfumed truffles, while Spring delights with vibrant young vegetables - green peas, baby broad beans and sweet asparagus. Summer offers its sun-blessed bounty of fruits; ripe tomatoes, headily aromatic melons & juice-leaking berries. Autumn, though, is perhaps my favourite season - and few foodstuffs herald its arrival as much as chubby little porcini & rich firm-fleshed pumpkins. Here they form the centrepiece of an outstanding menu, bookended at one end by a caponata preserving the last of the summer's vegetables, and at the other with crisp, sweet & delightful little cannoli. Buon appetito!

 

SMOKED RICOTTA & CAPONATA
~
RISOTTO WITH ROASTED PORCINI
~
ROAST PUMPKIN WITH PARMESAN & BALSAMIC
~
CANNOLI SICILIANI

 

For your meal you will need:

  • A wide heavy based saucepan, or deep sided frying pan for the risotto
  • A truffle slicer, mandolin or grater for the truffle
  • An oven tray for the pumpkin
  • A peeler for the parmesan

 

The detailed recipes are here, but in essence:

  • Take your caponata & smoked ricotta from the fridge to let them come up to room temperature
  • Preheat your oven to 200C (fan) or 220C (static)
  • Plate your caponata & smoked ricotta, then eat
  • Begin the risotto – heat the water in a saucepan or kettle
  • Sauté the mushrooms, then add your water and the risotto base
  • Cook till just right, then finish with parmesan, butter & parsley
  • Meanwhile, roast the pumpkin with the butter & sage, then top with parmesan & balsamic. Eat before, alongside or after the risotto.
  • Your cannoli will only take a minute to fill, so enjoy your main and then make them last minute for ultimate crispiness – or bring the filling separately to the table for a fun DIY experience!

 

Smoked ricotta & caponata

I think there might be more ways to make caponata, than there are Sicilians. As a result, I change my approach from time to time - the current version hails from Modica (in the south-east of Sicily, and homeland also to the finest chocolate made still unconched like the Aztecs used to). You can eat it as a canape, or as a side, or as a dish in itself. Today, as an antipasto, we have it with ricotta mustia - the most esteemed of smoked ricottas, aromatic with the smoke of the wild Sardinian herbs used to flavour and preserve it, from Sassari, Sardinia's second city.

 

Your pack serves two and contains:

  • Smoked ricotta
  • homemade caponata

Directions:

  • Take your caponata & smoked ricotta from the fridge and let them gently come up to room temperature
  • Place the smoked ricotta on the plate next to the caponata and enjoy!

 

Risotto with roasted porcini

Come early Autumn, every weekend in Italy finds hordes of keen fungaioli(mushroom hunters) out searching the woods for precious porcini. In Lombardy they put them with polenta; in Lazio with fettucine, and in the Veneto, perhaps best of all, they form the base of a rich and heady risotto, sauteed with garlic, enriched with butter & parmesan and perfumed with parsley.

 

Your pack serves 2 and contains:

 

  • Risotto base (vialone nano rice, with white wine & sofrito)
  • Roasted porcini mushrooms
  • A clove of garlic
  • Grated parmesan, butter & chopped parsley

Directions

 

  • Heat your pan until very hot, then add a little oil and half the butter
  • Add the mushrooms, season with salt and cook until golden brown on both sides – 3-4 minutes
  • Finely slice the garlic, add to the pan and let it cook just until aromatic – a few seconds
  • Add 300ml of water and bring to a simmer, then add your rice
  • Break up any clumps with a wooden spoon and bring back to a boil
  • Lower the heat to medium, cook for 10-12 minutes over a medium heat (boiling but not crazily), stirring most of the time until the rice is just cooked and still with bite (if too runny or if you want the rice particularly al dente, cook on a high heat to reduce the liquid; if too gloopy or you want the rice to become softer, add a little more water and cook to the desired texture)
  • When ready, remove from the heat, then beat in the butter, parmesan & parsley
  • Taste and adjust for seasoning
  • Pour onto warmed plates and shake to flatten the risotto

     

    Roast pumpkin with sage & balsamic

    Pumpkin has a bit of a bad rep in this country - no doubt a result of watery specimens fit only to be hollowed and lit with candles. Not so in Italy; delica squash is regarded as the finest of all the orange fleshed jewels, and ours come from an obsessive by the name of Oscar Zerbinatti; a man who grows the world's most beautiful melons in the summer, and the finest pumpkins the rest of the year. After harvesting they are dry aged for a number of weeks to reduce moisture and concentrate the flavour. Roasted until dark gold and sweet, then topped with bittersweet vinegar and rich, savoury parmesan, they are a delight.

     

    Your pack serves two and contains:

    • Some large hunks of roasted pumpkin
    • Parmesan shavings
    • The finest butter, and some whole leaves of sage
    • Aged balsamic

     

    Directions:

    • Preheat your oven to 200C (fan) or 220C (static)
    • Sit the sage on an oven tray, then the pumpkin on top
    • Dot the butter on top of this, then place the lot in the oven
    • Cook for 6-7 minutes, until the pumpkin is hot and browned, and the sage crisped
    • Remove from the oven and plate, then pour the sizzling butter & sage over
    • Scatter the parmesan atop, and drizzle the lot with the balsamic

     

    Cannoli Siciliani

    Cannoli - fried tubular biscuits of Marsala-infused pastry, filled with sweetened ricotta and spiked with candied orange, bittersweet chocolate and fine Bronte pistachio, are man playing God with your palate. We make ours too thin, and sweeten the ricotta too little, which is revelatory to eat but less robust: fill them at the last minute, or even at the table for a DIY dessert.

     

    Your pack makes 2 cannoli, and contains:

    • 2 freshly fried cannoli tubes
    • Enough sweetened ricotta (studded with dark chocolate and candied orange peel) to fill them
    • Finely chopped Bronte pistachios

     

    Directions:

    • You can fill these before you start cooking your meal - they keep fine for a few hours - or the moment before serving. Or you can do as we do in Bocca - decant the ricotta into a small bowl, and DIY the filling at the table.
    • Hold a cannolo tube ever-so-gently
    • Fill it from either end with the creamed ricotta, using a teaspoon
    • Use the spoon to scrape the filling level to the slanted open ends of the cannolo
    • Dip both ends in the pistachio, to render them a perfect green

    ORDER NOW