Bigne, cream puffs, are associated with the festival of St Joseph celebrated in Italy on March 19. It is their Father's Day. To be honest they were never served in our family's village but they are common in many parts of Italy. Our mums make bigne for special occasions and have become more frequent since the arrival of ready baked Pavone Profiterols.
So all you need is to make the cream and melt chocolate for the topping and you're done. The profiteroles come in 2 sizes small and giant.
Lemon Crema Pasticcera (lemon flavoured Italian cream)
Cut each profiterole in half and fill with this traditional crema . Then cover with chocolate
6 egg yolks
150 g of sugar
70 g plain flour
A splash of milk
3 cups of milk
Over a low flame mix eggs, sugar, flour and milk until it forms a paste. Then gradually add 3 cups of milk all the while stirring the mixture. Add chopped lemon rind and stir until mixture thickens. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
Chocolate Sauce Topping
75 g quality dark chocolate chopped roughly
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tbsp butter
In a small saucepan over low heat combine chocolate, cream and butter. Heat for 5 minutes, stirring continuously until chocolate is melted and sauce is combined. Remove from heat and set aside. Pour over profiteroles when cooled.
We love finding out the history of traditional dishes and festive occasions celebrated by our parents and grandparents when they lived in Calabria. Such knowledge connects us to them and by extension to our own culture and identity.
So when it came to Father's Day it was interesting to learn that in Italy it is celebrated on March 19 as the Feast of San Giuseppe -the father of Christ himself. Of course there is a special meal attached to this festa and pasta e cecci was it, followed by fried bacalla. Pasta with chickpeas is not given the attention it rightly deserves. Not only is it wholesome but it is seriously tasty. Fried bacalla is gathering more recognition in the mainstream however for us - it has always been special. The challenge is finding quality bacalla that does justice to its distinct flavour and texture. We trust you enjoy this special meal - anytime of the year - and savour the taste of its history and significance.
Pasta e Cecci
Chickpeas 5 cups (cooked) For the best result, we recommend you prepare your own rather than relying on the canned variety. Leave dried chickpeas (500g) to soak over night in cold water. On the next day, change the water and boil for approximately 1 hour. Check the legumes after 30 minutes as cooking time may vary depending on the size of the chickpeas. Drain and allow to cool. If you don't want to use all of the chickpeas they freeze well.
Sugo (tomato sauce) This recipe requires a simple and traditional sugo.
Passata 720ml we recommend Mangia! Manga! passata
Onion, medium finely chopped
Garlic clove, small chopped
1/2 cup of olive oil
Carrot, small shredded
Continental parsley, 1 tablespoon finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, heat olive oil and add garlic, after 30 seconds add onion, parsley and carrot. Allow to simmer until onion becomes translucent (approx 5-8 minutes). Then add passata, salt and pepper and allow to simmer on a medium flame for 30 minutes.
Boil pasta until al dente. When cooked, drain but not completely. Add pasta and chickpeas into sauce and mix well on a low flame for approx 3 to 5 minutes. This will ensure that all favours are well combined. If the pasta mix becomes too dry you can add a bit of boiled pasta water. Serve with a good parmesan.
Bacalla Fritto (fried cod)
Our first book, Mangia! Manga! provides a number of bacalla recipes and detail on how to prepare it. High quality bacalla is difficult to come by in Melbourne so you will have to rely on word of mouth.
Once you have left it to sit in water for 3 to 4 days to remove the salt, you simply coat in plain flour and pan fry. The cooking process is very simple indeed - it is finding good quality cod that is the challenge.
(Veal chops with Egg, Lemon & Parsley Sauce). Springtime brings tender veal to our table and this recipe is a great weeknight family meal. It goes very well with bitter greens like endive as this helps cut through the richness of the sauce.