Cookbook 168: Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca

Made in Italy with Silvia Colloca was a Christmas gift to me from Scott. We’d watched her TV show when it was on SBS and marvelled at how thin she stayed while eating such glorious food. The cookbook is a collection of recipes, and really gorgeous photos, from the Marche, Abruzzo and Molise provinces in the eastern costal regions of Italy. I’d recommend looking at this book in a bookstore or library just to check out the photos, becase they are stunning. I now want to travel to these areas just to see the sights – though I’d probably need to speak some Italian to make that an easier exercise.

Anyway, the cookbook. Silvia Colloca’s family is from these regions of Italy, though she grew up in Milan. Silvia now lives in Australia, and travelled back to Italy to collect the recipes from people, make a TV show and write a book. And it was all very successful. I ended up making four recipes from this book, three on one day for dinner, and a cake (as I had some apricots that needed to be consumed) on another. All the recipes were successful and we’re already talking about making some of them again this weekend. Can’t wait to cook from this book again, 5 out of 5 stars.

Pollo in Potacchio (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, skin on, bashed with the back of a knife
  • 2 – 3 sprigs rosemary
  • handful of oregano leaves
  • 4 chicken marylands, excess fat removed
  • 200ml white wine
  • salt flakes
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, some kept whole, some cut in half
  • crusty bread to serve

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 220C (or 200C fan forced)
  2. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof frying pan or flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, then add the chicken and cook for 10 – 12 minutes on each side. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer for 1 – 2 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate, then season with salt.
  3. Scatter over the cherry tomatoes, then put the pan or dish in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. Towards the end of the cooking time, turn on the grill function to give it a golden, scorched look.
  4. Serve hot or warm with plenty of bread to mop up the sauce.

Notes on this recipe

  • If your ovenproof frying pan or flameproof casserole dish doesn’t fit 4 chicken marylands in it at once (mine didn’t), then make sure you remove all the herbs and garlic when frying the remaining chicken maryland – otherwise they burn and make the dish not as great as it could have been (still good, just not amazing).
  • This dish is really simple and incredibly tasty. Do recommend.

Pallotte Cacio Ovo (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, one skin on, bashed with the back of a knife, the other finely chopped
  • 1 small celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1/4 green capsicum in 1 piece
  • 2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
  • 200ml water
  • salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • basil leaves, to garnish

Dumplings (non-meat meatballs)

  • 200g day-old Italian bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups finely grated pecorino
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tbsp roughly chopped basil
  • salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • oil for deep frying (she suggests olive oil, and just no)

Method

  1. To make dumplings, remove the crusts from the bread and cut it into chunks. Soak it in the milk for 20 minutes or until soft. Squeeze out any excess liquid then, using your hands, break down the bread to a pulp. Add the pecorino, egg and herbs and mix to form a sticky btter. This stickiness will ensure the softness of your dumplings. Seaon to taste with salt and pepper, then rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the spring onion, garlic, celery and capsicum, and cook, stirring, for 3 – 4 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and water, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 20 minutes until reduced slightly.
  3. To cook the dumplings, half-fill a saucepan with oil and heat over medium-high heat to 180C or until a cube of bread browns in 15 seconds. With wet hands, shape the dumpling mixture into 5cm balls. Add the dumplings to the oil in batches and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
  4. Add the cooked dumplings to the tomato sauce, cover with the lide and stand, off the heat, for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavours to mingle and the dumplings to soak up the sauce. Reheat if you like or serve warm, garnished with basil.

Notes on this recipe:

  • I wasn’t 100% sure if after removing the crusts I was supposed to have 200g of bread or to start with 200g of bread guts. As we were using a pana di casa, which is a very crusty bread, we went with 200g of bread guts. The recipe worked perfectly fine with the amount.
  • I didn’t deep fry mine because deep frying is annoying. I shallow fried them (the dumplings sat 75% immersed in the oil), and that worked fine.
  • I also skipped the capsicum, because Nigel is allergic to it, and just added more spring onion and celery. The sauce was still delicious.
  • Oh… and of course, how did the dumplings taste… amazing. They were soft like a cloud filled with cheese and herbs. So amazing, we talked a lot about mouth-gasms.

Broccolini Ripassati (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of broccolini
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin on, bashed with the back of a knife
  • 1 diavolillo or bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt flakes

Method

  1. Blanch the broccolini in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 5 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over low-medium heat, add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until softened.
  3. Drain the broccolini and add it straight to the frying pan, and toss over medium heat for 1 – 2 minutes or until the broccoli is nicely coated in the chilli and garlic oil. Season with salt and serve as a side dish or by itself with some cheese and bread,

Notes on this recipe:

  • It was fine… of all the dishes we cooked, this was the most dull I guess. While we were eating it, we were thinking of this dish from Relish Mama. If I made this again, I would grate over some lemon rind, squeeze over some lemon juice and add some parmesan cheese.

Torta All’olio Albicocche (serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 170g caster sugar
  • 230ml milk
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp mistra or sambuca (optional – if not using replace with extra milk)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 7 – 8 apricots, cut into quarters
  • flaked almonds, for sprinkling
  • fresh ricotta and honey, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (or 160C if fan forced). Grease and flour (or line with baking paper) a 27cm by 21cm rectangular or 21cm square cake tin.
  2. Place the sugar, milk and lemon zest ina medium saucepan over low heat and cook for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring reguarly, until the sugar has dissolved. Do not let the milk come to the boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla seeds, olive oil and liqueur (if using), then let the mixture cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, add the flour and bicarb of soda. Add the milk mixture and egg and whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apricot quarters on top any way you like. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until pale golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool and room temperature for 1 hour before cutting. Serve as is, or with honey-drizzled ricotta.

Notes on this recipe

  • Mine ended up cooking for about 40 minutes, which is fine. The cake was amazingly delicious. It was moist, soft and absolutely lovely with the apricots and lemon zest. Next time I am offered free apricots, I am making this again.

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