Pettole

Pettole finished dish

Pettole finished dish

puglia crestFrom Puglia. Pettole are sweet or savoury doughnuts. In the region of Campania , and I believe the US, they are known as zeppole. Here in Puglia, zeppole refers to a cake traditionally eaten on St Joseph’s day. They are called pettole here in Puglia and some regions of Basilicata. They are traditionally eaten on St Martin’s day in Lecce (Nov 11), St Cecilia’s day in Taranto (Nov 22),  Around the immaculate conception on the 7th and 8th of December in Brindisi, and Christmas Eve in Foggia. They are generally eaten during the Christmas period throughout the region. They can be prepared in two ways, sweet or savoury. The savoury version can be plain, or contain other ingredients, such as olives, cooked cauliflower, salt cod , sundried tomatoes and anchovies. The sweet versions are dredged in sugar and/or dipped in vincotto a sweet, concentrated grape juice produced in Puglia. Honey or jam are also common if you can’t find vincotto.

  • 375 ml warm water
  • 500 g oo flour
  • Half a block of fresh yeast or 3½ g dried
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • Oil for deep frying
  • For the savoury version:- 10 olives, stoned and sliced into rings. Use black or green or a mixture of both.
  • For the sweet version:- Granulated sugar, vincotto or honey.
Pettole ingredient

Pettole ingredient

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix together the water and flour. Add the salt at the end of mixing. You should have a very wet dough. If you are making the savoury version, stir in the olives.

Pettole mixed dough

Pettole mixed dough

Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours.

Pettole ready to cook

Pettole ready to cook

Wet your hands and scoop up about a tablespoon of dough and deep fry until it is lightly brown. You will need to turn them halfway through cooking. Drain on kitchen paper.

Pettole frying

Pettole frying

If you are making the sweet version, dredge each pettole in sugar and serve with a dish of vincotto or honey to dip them in.

Pettole sweet version

Pettole sweet version

Rice Croquettes

Rice croquettes finished dish

Rice croquettes finished dish

puglia crestFrom Puglia. This is a puglian version of the more well known Sicilian dish arancini. It is very simple to make however. There are versions that use other chesses and cured meats, but this one uses the easily available (abroad I mean) salami, ham and mozzarella. Serves at least 6 as an antipasto.

  • 400g risotto rice
  • 100g sliced salami (Milanese or similar)
  • 100g sliced cooked ham
  • 200g mozzarella cut into small cubes
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 40g buttter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A pinch of pepper
  • Bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying
Rice croquettes ingredients

Rice croquettes ingredients

Boil the rice in plenty of salted water until done, about 10 minutes. Drain and add the butter. You could substitute vegetable stock for the water if you prefer. Allow to cool completely. You can prepare it the day before if you like.

Roughly chop the salami and ham. Combine with the rice, the mozzarella, the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and finally add the eggs and mix well.

Rice croquettes formed

Rice croquettes formed

Form the mixture into cigar shapes, about 50g each. I find it easiest to use my hands.

Rice croquettes ready to fry

Rice croquettes ready to fry

Coat them in breadcrumbs and deep fry them in hot oil until golden.

Spaghetti with green beans

Spaghetti with green beans finished dish

Spaghetti with green beans finished dish

puglia crest

From Puglia. This is another very simple recipe that I cook a lot when green beans are in season. The pictures have been sitting on my computer for a while, so they are no longer in season, but should be fairly easy to get. The recipe uses ricotta marzottica or dura, which is hard to get outside Italy. The best substitute is grana or parmesan. Don’t use regular ricotta, it’s a different thing completely. The beans are cooked for quite a long time and you might consider them to be overcooked, but it works well with the pasta. If you prefer, you could add the beans along with the spaghetti.Serves 4.

Spaghetti with green beans ingredients

Spaghetti with green beans ingredients

  1. Top and tail the beans
  2. Boil the beans in plenty of boiling water for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the spaghetti to the water and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente.
  4. Drain the beans and pasta and mix with the warmed tomato sauce.
  5. Serve topped with ricotta marzotica or grana.

Broad beans and wild chicory

Altamura crestFave e cicorie. This is one of the most traditional and most loved dishes from Puglia. The recipe varies from town to town and even from family to family.  Many thanks to Grazia from Altamura for her recipe.  I don’t know if ‘wild’  chicory is available outside Italy, but if you can find it, this dish is well worth trying.

Serves 4.

  • 200 grams dried peeled broad beans — soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 stick celery
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 700g wild chicory, washed and separated into individual stems.
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil

  1. Add the beans, onion, bayleaf, tomatoes and celery to an earthenware pot and cover with two fingers of water.
  2. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook very slowly until the beans are very tender – at least 2 hours. The water should have been completely absorbed at the end of cooking.
  3. Remove the onion, celery, and bayleaf. Mash the beans with a wooden spoon while adding a trickle of olive oil. Season with salt.
  4. Meanwhile boil the chicory in plenty of salted water until tender and drain.
  5. Add olive oil and garlic to a pan and cook until softened.
  6. Dress the chicory with the garlic oil.
  7. Serve on individual plates, arranging the beans on one side and the chicory on the other.
  8. Dress with a little more olive oil before serving.
    Variations:

  1. Grazia likes to grate the onion and celery and incorporate them in the puree.
  2. In some places potatoes are cooked along with the beans.
  3. Dress with a little chilli oil before serving (olio santo)

Mascarpone cream

Crema al mascarpone. This is a Pugliese take on tiramisu. I don’t often make dessert, so I think I need a bit of practice getting it to ‘look pretty’ :-)  It tasted nice though. A good way to use up all that leftover chocolate after Easter. Serves 4

mascapone cream ingredients

mascapone cream ingredients

  •   1      egg
  •   6      tablespoons  sugar
  •   100 grams  mascarpone cheese
  •   50   grams  dark chocolate
  •   4      ladyfinger biscuits
  •           espresso coffee
  1. Remove the mascarpone from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Soak the biscuits in the coffee and put them in a dish which is just big enough to take them in a single layer.
  3. Separate the eggs and beat the yolk together with the sugar until it is well incorporated.
  4. Beat the egg white until it forms stiff peaks
  5. Fold the egg white into the yolk/sugar mixture.
  6. Beat the mascarpone until it’s smooth and then fold it into the egg mix. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and fold into one portion of the mascarpone mixture.
  8. Cover the biscuit first with a layer of the plain mascarpone and then with the chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving
    Mascapone cream finished dish

    Mascapone cream finished dish

This dish will keep in the fridge for up to a day

 

Mackerel in vinegar

Mackerel in vinegar finished dish

Mackerel in vinegar finished dish

puglia crestSgombri All’aceto. From Puglia. Mackerel is a very cheap and tasty fish. It is readily available and stocks are ample.  There is a campaign at the moment to get the British to eat more, especially in chip shops Fish Fight  Here in  Bari there is no such aversion. This is a very simple recipe, but you must use very fresh mackerel. The blanching should be very brief, be careful not to overcook. The traditional way to time the cooking is to recite the pater noster or Lord’s prayer.

  •  fresh mackerel, cleaned and filleted
  •  white wine vinegar
  •  olive oil
  •  garlic, finely chopped
  •  fresh mint, finely chopped
Mackerel in vinegar ingredients

Mackerel in vinegar ingredients

  1. Blanche the mackerel fillets for a few seconds in boiling, salted water. I’ll start you off. “Our Father… ” :-)
  2. Put the fillets into a non-metallic dish and cover with vinegar.
  3. Leave to marinate for an hour.
  4. Remove the mackerel from the vinegar and transfer to a serving plate.
  5. Dress with olive oil, garlic and mint.

Note: If you don’t want to eat the mackerel immediately, they will keep for a while in the fridge if you cover them with olive oil.

Orecchiette with cauliflower

This is another local Pugliese classic. Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower as the slightly crunchy texture is very important. The original recipe included  2 tablespoons of olive oil, but I thought the lardo provided enough fat. Feel free to re-add it though. Next time I will probably halve the amount of lardo and use 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  If you want to know exactly what lardo is, follow this link. Serves 4

orecchiette with cauliflower ingredients

orecchiette with cauliflower ingredients

  • 400 g orecchiette
  •  1 medium  cauliflower — separated into small florets
  •   70 grams  lardo — cut into small cubes
  •   5 tablespoons  Pecorino — grated
  1. Boil the cauliflower florets until still quite firm – or molto al dente as it was explained to me
  2. Fry the lardo in a pan until it has almost completely dissolved
  3. Add the cauliflower and fry in the fat for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the cooked orecchiette to the pan and mix well
  5. Serve with the pecorino
orecchiette with cauliflower finished dish

orecchiette with cauliflower finished dish