Passata made with fresh tomatoes is best defined as the essential Italian ingredient for endless dishes and making it is such an important ritual. For many families the tradition is carried out in the home of Grandparents or the eldest sibling and the end result is a large number of bottles filled with this liquid gold for the whole family to enjoy!
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Roasted chestnuts are a delicious nutty snack which are just perfect for the holiday season. The slightly crisp outer layer combined with a moist centre are such a fine textural treat but the question is, how do we roast them without the skin sticking to them? Check out this recipe for my tip on how to roast chestnuts and easily peel them too!
CHICKEN BROTH WITH CREPES:
Chicken broth served with parmesan crepes is a traditional recipe from my Nonna’s region of Teramo in Abruzzo. It is a deliciously tasty slow cooked broth served with light, thin crepes filled with salty parmesan cheese. This twist on classic chicken broth warms my heart (and my tummy!) with as it’s truly one-of-a-kind. Passing on this recipe to me felt like I was gaining a part of Nonna’s history and I will treasure it forever and hope you do too! While it’s a perfect dish for the changing weather, it can be enjoyed as an entrée in smaller portions and will surely become a family favourite in your homes too.
INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN BROTH:
½ organic chicken (cut into pieces)
5 pieces of veal
1 whole onion
3 celery stalks (complete with leaves)
1 carrot (peeled)
1 cinnamon stick
3-5 cherry tomatoes
INGREDIENTS FOR CREPES:
8 tablespoons of flour
Pinch of fine salt
Grated parmesan cheese
1 XL pot
Small-medium size fry pan
Extra virgin olive oil
Hand held sieve
METHOD TO MAKE THE CHICKEN BROTH:
1. To make chicken broth with parmesan filled crepes, put the pieces of chicken into your pot, add the veal and fill it almost to the top with water.
2. Put the pot on the stove at a medim heat, and once it starts to boil, you will notice foam at the top of the water. This needs to be skimmed off the top and discarded.
3. Leave this to boil for up to 10 minutes and keep removing the foam.
4. To add extra flavour to your chicken broth, add 1 whole onion (skin peeled off), the celery, carrot, cinnamon stick and cherry tomatoes, along with a generous pinch of rock salt.
5. Leave this to boil for up to 2 hours.
METHOD TO MAKE THE CREPES:
1. To make the crepes filled with parmesan cheese for your chicken broth, start by placing 8 tablespoons of flour into a bowl.
2. Crack open the 8 eggs into a separate bowl and whisk well. Then, add a pinch of salt to flavour and keep whisking.
NONNA IGEA’S TIP: One of the eggs will be used as a measure. Try to crack it open from the very top, so it remains almost whole. Rinse it out with water, and this will be used to add the water to your crepe mixture.
3. Next, to make your crepe mixture, add a handful of flour at a time, and sprinkle it into your mixture while whisking it at the same time. Do this carefully to avoid lumps!
4. Now, add 8 “egg-fulls” of water to your mix, and keep whisking through really well.
5. Leave this crepe mixture in the fridge for approx. 5 minutes.
6. Now it’s time to cook the crepes! Get a small-medium size pan and place it on the stove at a low heat, add a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to the pan, and using kitchen paper, wipe the excess off, making sure the pan has enough left on it so the mixture doesn’t stick!
7. Using a ladle, scoop up some of the crepe mixture, hold the fry pan in the other hand, then pour the mixture inside and quickly flick your wrist making the pan move in a circular motion to spread the mix around creating the form of a crepe.
8. Try not to have any holes in each crepe and remember, the more you make, the better you will get!
NONNA IGEA’S TIP: Don’t add too much crepe mixture to your pan as the crepes should be kept nice and thin. The more you practice, the better these will come!
9. After 10-20 seconds (depending on how hot the pan is), use a fork to gently scrape all around the each of the crepe, and if its cooked it will start to peel away, then once ready, flip it over and cook the other side.
10. The crepes will be ready on no time as they are very thin and your pan is hot! Once ready, prepare a tablecloth on top of your table/board and place them on top, next to one another covering them with a tea towel so they don’t dry up.
HOW TO SERVE THE CREPES AND CHICKEN BROTH:
11. Get each crepe, one at a time, and sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top of one side – all over.
12. Now, roll it up gently, and nice and tight, before placing it into a large soup bowl (for serving).
13. Layer them tightly next to one another in one direction until the bottom is covered, and then the other direction, with a layer on top.
14. When you are ready to serve, take the chicken broth off the stove, and using a ladle, scoop out the broth in one hand and pour it into a sieve, over the top of the bowl of crepes, so that none of the vegetable pieces go into the soup.
15. Add another sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese to the bowl and enjoy while its nice and hot!
E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!
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Butternut squash soup is a wholesome, delicious meal, and each family has their own version – now, here’s one with a twist! Join me along with Emmy nominated recording artist Alfio from NYC as we turn the traditional pumpkin soup recipe into an Italian inspired one – you might be surprised by some of our special ingredients!
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