Slow cooked potatoes with taleggio and thyme with cavolo nero and balsamic sausages

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This recipe is already on here (16th March 2015) please check it out. I had it tonight with oven baked sausages which I coated for the last five minutes in balsamic vinegar. Also on the plate was some lightly steamed cavolo nero, finished in butter, black pepper and sea salt.

Taleggio is so beautiful!

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Slow pan fried potatoes with mushrooms. thyme and taleggio

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This is a fabulous supper dish – great on its own or accompanying chicken, sausages, pork loin, even salmon. The flavours and textures are hard to beat. So simple, so satisfying and somehow something that feels as if you have spent a lot more time on it than you will have. I saw this recipe first on a Nigel Slater cookery programme – he is a real wizard with tasty supper dishes.

Taleggio is perfect for this – a Northern Italian soft cheese that melts to unctuous perfection. Fontina would work also. Do not remove the skin – there lurks so much of the fragrance and the flavour!

Ingredients

For 2 as a main – 4 as a small side dish. I used 750 gm potatoes for 3 of us last night.

500 gm new potatoes

1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tbsps olive oil

50 gm slice of butter

2 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced thinly

A good handful or two of mushrooms of choice sliced

Thyme

100 gm Taleggio

Method

Slice the potatoes into pound coin size slices – some lengthways some across. Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan or large frying pan, and once the butter has melted, add the onion. Fry over a low to medium heat gently until the onion begins to become soft and pale gold, about ten minutes.

Then add the garlic, potatoes, mushrooms plus a good sprinkle of dried thyme or a small handful of fresh thyme leaves, some salt and black pepper. Stir gently to get all the potatoes coated in the oil and herbs.

Turn the heat as low as you can. Pop a lid on for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring every now and then. The potatoes will turn soft and golden – but not crispy – you do not want them to go crispy! – add the thin slices of Taleggio over the potatoes.. cover the pan again – it will have melted after a few minutes. 

Bring to the table and serve from the pan!

Asparagus, Taleggio and Prosciutto Pizzetta…

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A pizzetta is just a small pizza

This wonderful topping was inspired by one I came across at a restaurant called Polpo in London.

Asparagus, Taleggio and Prosciutto Pizzetta...

You can make your own dough – for one pizzetta you would only need a ball the size of your palm…but I cheated and used some fabulous round naan breads from a local deli. They worked a treat.

For each pizzetta you will need:

2 asparagus spears

Several slices of the hard style mozzarella
3 or 4 fine slices of taleggio
3 slices of prosciutto, though you could use serrano ham or speck
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Preheat your oven to 230c.

Slice each of the asparagus spears on the diagonal into about 5 pieces. pop in boiling water for two minutes then drain and rinse under the cold tap.

Evenly distribute the cheeses on the base until more or less covered. …but leave a ring around the edge as the taleggio melt beautifully and oozes outwards. Scatter the asparagus pieces onto the cheese. Pop into the oven straight onto the rack for 5 to 6 minutes – if using your own dough, put the pizzetta onto a baking sheet or pizza stone pre warmed. It should take about 7 minutes.

When the pizzeta is done, you will see the cheese run…remove from the oven and lay the ham slices on the top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a good grind of black pepper….and serve! Great with a crisp green salad or radicchio leaves with a light dressing of oil.

The blend of flavours is fabulous and it makes a welcome change to the usual tomato and moz topping.

Experiment too with toppings – another favourite is a pizzetta topped with green olives, mozzarella, basil leaves and anchovies.

This is a very Venetian dish and I have enjoyed several varieties in the beautiful back street bars of Venice known locally as bàcari…and now my reminiscing has made me want to check out flights back to that most magical of cities!

Give this a go…please!

4 Cheese Macaroni makes Monday’s supper magical…

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4 Cheese Macaroni makes Monday supper magical...

This is one of those dishes that is simply a sensory delight. It transforms a dull clichéd pasta and cheese dish into a veritable dish of the Gods. It looks good, it smells unbelievable and the texture is phenomenal. It is a dish to leave home for, to marry for, to fight for. I cannot tell you how good it is – but, and I know I wax lyrical rather too often at times – this dish is really worth waxing about – it is fabulous in every sense of the word. Please – please – please make it – and make it soon. Throw all other macaroni recipes in the bin.

For 4

500 gms pasta – use macaroni – I used a mix from my odds and sods tin – very home should have one
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 large teaspoons of oregano
75 gms Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus a little extra for grating
100 gms Taleggio cheese, roughly chopped – my favourite …mmmm
100 gms mascarpone cheese
1 ball of mozzarella cheese
75 gms of lardons pan fired and put to one side
A sprinkle of dried chilli seeds

Preheat the oven to 200ºc. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain in a colander and keep back a little of the cooking water.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan, add the oregano and fry gently for a minute, then turn off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the oregano oil (this is a vital part of the process and adds immensely to the sensory experience of this dish- I promise), along with a couple of spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water and the parmesan, taleggio and mascarpone.

Return to a medium heat and toss and stir around until most of the cheese has melted and you have a seriously goo style sauce – you may need to add a little more of the reserved cooking water. Add a short sharp shock of sea salt and two or three grinds of black pepper, then tip it all into an earthenware dish. Add the lardons. Add the mozzarella sliced into slivers and sprinkle over the extra parmesan. Then add the sprinkle of chilli seeds. Bake the macaroni cheese in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and stick the dish under a preheated grill until golden brown.

I served it with a rocket salad and a fine bottle of Primitivo from Puglia – a favourite wine of mine.

My Monday is now complete. I can face the rest of the week- all because of this dish.

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