In today's post I am sharing a simple recipe for small mini vegetarian tarts with kale, pistachio pesto and ricotta and combining them with some pictures of Alberoni's pinewood, which I had taken at the end of August. The reason of this is that when I made the tarts, the initial idea was for me and Vito to have a quick picnic in Sant' Elena, but then the weather changed and it was so cold we had to eat them in his workplace! Anyway, wherever you will decide to savour them... I think they're delicious (and really easy to make)!
For the base, I keep using the same recipe as -like we say in Italy- 'squadra che vince non si cambia' (meaning: never change the players in a winning team). For the filling, the season of cabbages and broccolis has started, so I opted for kale, one of my favourites. I am not sure the translation is right, maybe I should be speaking about black Italian cabbage, as I noticed the picture used by Wikipedia shows a plant we actually call riccia (meaning curly). In either case, 8 minutes in the pan will do. I then combined the kale with ricotta and pesto, but if you are vegan you can replace the cheese with hummus and omit the grated Parmesan in the pesto (but please, promise you won't replace it with tofu... it's really a no no for me taste-wise and also conceptually).
Anyway, I'm really enjoying my life lately. Yes, of course, Venice is full of problems, the administration is hideous and we are likely to lose the separation referendum (I am voting YES, thus in favour of the separation between the council of Venice and the one of Mestre, which are two totally different realities, each with its own problems), but you know what?! I don't care (or better said, I care only up to a point)! For the time being, I live in the city I love the most and I am finally doing the job I want. Plus, this weekend Vito and I are escaping to the country and visiting one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy: Montagnana (will let you know more soon). Although close to Venice, I have never been. The town is known mostly for the super tasty Prosciutto Veneto Berico Euganeo, which I savoured many years ago when working at Osteria Bancogiro, in Rialto. I remember we used to propose it accompanied by fresh figs and that it melted in my mouth... delicious! For our trip, though, I haven't planned to visit a factory (nor any other educational activity...), but simply to relax, explore the town, drink wine and enjoy some good food...
Allow me say we deserve a little break, especially Vito. This year we haven't traveled anywhere really... so I hope for 2020 to be slightly different. Also, I want to visit more of my own country, starting from my closest surroundings. Can you believe I've been to New York, Washington DC and Denver, but never visited Assisi? Or that I've been at the Apollo Hammersmith, but never at the Arena di Verona? So, yes, I think the time has definitely arrived to fill this gap and experience more of Italy. Besides, I have the excuse that traveling near and moving by train is more sustainable ;-)
Meanwhile, I hope you have a good All Soul's Day and will be back soon with fresh(er) news!
SAVOURY WHOLE WHEAT TARTS WITH KALE, PESTO SAUCE AND RICOTTA
for 4 mini pies/tarts
Ingredients: - For the base:
250 gr whole wheat flour
100 ml water
70 ml olive oil
a pinch of salt
- For the filling:
1 medium kale
1 clove garlic
1 cup pesto sauce
1 cup ricotta -For the pesto
an abundant batch of basil
1/3 finely chopped garlic (remove germ)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino
1/3 cup crushed pistachios
1/2 cup e.v.o. oil
1. First prepare the base: in a bowl combine the previously sifted whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, water and olive oil. Form a ball, cover in plastic wrap (please, let me know if you have a more ecological option) and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your pesto sauce. I suggest to use a pestle, but if you prefer opting for a food processor (I do it too sometimes so... it's fine!) just combine basil leaves, garlic, crushed pistachios, grated cheese and olive oil and mix. Taste and if needed, adjust salt.
3. Wash the kale and chop roughly. Heat a pan, add a crushed clove of garlic (remove after about a minute) and the chopped kale. After one minute, lower the heat to low/ medium and cook for about 8 minutes. When ready, put in a steel bowl and mix with a hand blender. 4. Now add the pesto sauce and the ricotta and amalgamate everything together.
5. When the base is ready, roll out and divide into 4 parts. Place them onto your baking tins, add the filling, and with your fingers gently tear the butter dough.
6. Pre-heat oven at 180°. Roll out all that 'remaining' dough again and cut in stripes about 1/2 cm thick. With delicate movements, wove them to cover the mini pies.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes at 180°. When ready, let sit in the oven another 5 minutes.
Excellent served warm with a side salad, but also great for a picnic!