Mezzalune with mushrooms

You’re out of luck if  you’re expecting a recipe for left over turkey 🙂 These were part of our new year’s eve dinner. This dish comes from puglia where they love cardoncelli mushrooms but I was in England when I cooked it so I used a mix of exotic mushrooms instead.  Serves 6

mezzaluna with mushrooms ingredients

mezzaluna with mushrooms ingredients

  • 300 grams fresh pasta
  • 1 quantity tomato sauce
  • 300 grams mushrooms
  • 2 potatoes — boiled
  • 200 grams ricotta
  • a tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • a clove of garlic
  • 1 medium egg
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Clean the mushrooms carefully. Fry in olive oil with the garlic, salt and pepper, over a high heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and chop finely.
Chopped mushrooms
Mash the potatoes and mix with the mushrooms, parsley, ricotta and egg. Mix with a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste.
Roll out the pasta into thin sheets (about 2 mm thick). Cut into 7-8 cm rounds using a pastry cutter or wine glass.
Cutting pasta
Place a little of the mushroom mixture in the centre of each round.
Mezzalune with filling
Fold the pasta over to make the mezzalune (half moon) shapes. Be careful to exclude as much air as possible and to press down the edges well.
Mezzalune ready to cook
Cook the mezzelune in plenty of salted boiling water. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the pasta but shouldn’t be longer than 4-5 minutes. Serve with the tomato sauce.

mezzaluna with mushrooms finished dish

mezzaluna with mushrooms finished dish

Fresh pasta

Fresh pasta is actually very easy to make. It’s just flour and eggs. It takes a bit of effort, but if you invest in a pasta machine it’s a piece of cake. One misconception that a lot of people have is that pasta should always be made with durum wheat flour. Durum is used mainly for dry commercially produced pasta, such as spaghetti. Some fresh pastas made without egg, for example orecchiette, are made with durum flour. Fresh egg pasta should be made with normal white flour, preferably finely ground ’00’ grade. Allow 100g of flour and 1 egg per person. Serves 4

400 grams plain white flour (pref type ’00’)
4 medium eggs

  • Pile the flour in a volcano-shaped mound on a work surface
  • Break the eggs into the centre.

Fresh pasta 1

  • Stir the eggs into the flour with a fork and then with you hands until it forms a coarse paste.
  • Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic (or pass it through the rollers of the pasta machine several times at the widest setting)

Fresh pasta 3

  • Let the dough rest for about 30 mins, covered with a cloth.
  • Roll the pasta out as thinly as possible for ravioli etc. Fettuccine and other ribbon noodles should be a little thicker. (Thinnest setting on the machine for ravioli, second thinnest for fettuccine etc)
  • To cut ribbon shaped noodle, loosely roll up the sheets of pasta and cut to the desired thickness.

Fresh pasta 7

  • Shake the rolls out onto a board and leave to dry for about 10 minutes before cooking.

Fresh pasta 8

Meatloaf in tomato sauce

This dish can be eaten hot or cold. If you like you can use some of the sauce with some pasta  as the first course. Polpettone al sugo is eaten all over Italy. Serves 8

meat loaf ingredients

  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 250g bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 60g parmesan – grated
  • 4 eggs
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 cans plum tomatoes
  • handful of basil leaves
  • salt and pepper
  1. Mix together the meat, bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, eggs, salt and pepper
  2. Form into a large oval meatloaf.
  3. Fry the loaf in a large casserole until it’s golden-brown on all sides.

meatloaf ready to cook

  1. In a seperate pan, fry the onion in olive oil until golden. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, break up with a wooden spoon and cook over a medium heat for about ten minutes.
  3. Add the sauce to the meatloaf, cover and simmer for around an hour.
  4. Towards the end of cooking, remove the lid to allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Let the meatloaf rest for ten minutes before serving.

meatloaf finished dish

Pasta and potatoes

Bari crestThis soup is another classic Bari dish. If you ask a Barese what their favourite dishes are, they’ll usually mention Pasta e Patate. Serves 4

Pasta and potatoes ingredients

Pasta and potatoes ingredients

  • 500g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 200g ditali
  • 100g  polpa di pomodoro or tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 celery heart, chopped
  • 1 clove  garlic, peeled and squashed (but still whole)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Brown the garlic in 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove the garlic and discard.
  2. Add the potatoes and celery and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper
  4. Add water so that all the ingredients are covered
  5. Cook until the potatoes are starting to fall apart.
  6. Half cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water
  7. Add the pasta to the potato mixture and continue cooking until done.
  8. If the soup is too thick, add a little of the pasta cooking liquid.

pasta and potatoes finished dish

Tiella of mussels and potatoes

Bari crestThis is another classic dish from Bari. A tiella is a terracotto cooking dish thought to have been introduced by the Spanish. The ingredients are built up layer by layer in the dish and then baked in the oven. Tiellas were at one time the evening meal of the farm workers when they came in from the fields. They were made from whatever was abundant and cheap at the time. This version uses mussels, a staple of Pulgia.  Serves 4

tiella of mussels and potatoes ingredients

  • 1kg mussels, thoroughly cleaned
  • 500g tomatoes, sliced
  • 300g potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • pecorino, grated
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

  1. Heat the mussels in a pan with a little olive oil until they open. About 5 minutes. Reserve the liquid
  2. Remove the top shell from each mussel
  3. In an oven proof dish, preferably terracotta, put a layer of  half the tomatoes, then all the onions, half the parsley and half the garlic.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil.
  5. Then make a layer of the sliced potatoes.
  6. Make a layer of mussels in their half shell and top with the rest of the parsley and garlic
  7. Sprinkle plenty of pecorino on top and drizzle with some more olive oil.
  8. Bake at 180 C for 35-40 minutes

tiella of mussels and potatoes finished dish 1

tiella of mussels and potatoes finished dish 2

Mussels ‘au gratin’

mussels au gratin ingredients

  • 1 kg mussels,thoroughly cleaned
  • 100g bread crumbs
  • 2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • zest of a lemon, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  1. Open the mussels by putting them in pan with a little olive oil and heating for around 5 minutes
  2. Remove the top shell from each mussel and arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray.
  3. Mix together the bread crumbs, parsley, chilli, garlic and lemon zest in a bowl.
  4. Add a little olive oil and mix again. Keep adding olive oil in the way until the mixture has a ‘crumble’ like consistency
  5. Top each half shell with a little of the mixture.mussels au gratin assembled
  6. Bake for around 15 minutes at 200 C

mussels au gratin finished dish

Mussels ‘au gratin’

mussels au gratin ingredients

  1      kilogram  mussels — thoroughly cleaned
  100 grams  bread crumbs
  2      sprigs  parsley — finely chopped
  1      chilli — finely chopped
  1      clove  garlic — finely chopped
          zest of a lemon — finely chopped
          olive oil

  • Open the mussels by putting them in pan with a little olive oil and heating for around 5 minutes
  • Remove the top shell from each mussel and arrange them in a single layer on a baking tray.
  • Mix together the bread crumbs, parsley, chilli, garlic and lemon zest in a bowl.
  • Add a little olive oil and mix again. Keep adding olive oil in the way until the mixture has a ‘crumble’ like consistency
  • Top each half shell with a little of the mixture.

mussels au gratin assembled

  • Bake for around 15 minutes at 200 C

mussels au gratin finished dish