Gnocci! We make ricotta gnocci fairly regularly, it’s neat to see how far back the idea goes.

Martino calls for fresh soft balls of cheese to be crushed with eggs, spiced, blended with flour, then gently poached, and served as “naked ravioli,” modernly called “gnudi” and somewhat related to gnocchi.

While the book calls for provatura, I had access to burrata,  a (modern) type of mozzerella stuffed with cream, so this is what I used.

All of the ingredients, nothing done to them yet

It turns out I don't have white flour after all. This is whole wheat

bowls with ingredients prepared; eggs whipped, cheese crushed, ginger crushed.

Eggs whipped, cheese crushed, ginger crushed. Ready to measure.

I crushed ginger, cracked and separated eggs, whipped the whites with sugar, folded in flour, and poached in heavily salted water.

 

These were incredibly fragile, gently raising the temp on them until they boiled helped them keep their shape, but it was still a delicate task.

The most useful thing I did to control the disintegration was to allow them to set up in the fridge overnight before poaching. They are still fragile, but far less so.

One hint I read was to make the dumplings, put them on a tray, and let them sit long enough to develop a “skin” to help them hold shape.

small balls of brown lumpy cheese dumplings with a dusting of cinnamon sugar

Not the most attractive, but probably one of the best received dishes I have made.

Recipe: To Make White Ravioli

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (3 balls) Provatura (fresh mozzerella with some ricotta, cream, butter. Perhaps Burratta. Something fresh and nice) crushed
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 tsp dry powdered ginger
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • ½ cup flour, plus ¼ c for coating
  • 1 gallon salted water, for poaching
  • 1 tsp cinnamon sugar

Instructions

  1. Crush the cheese with the butter til it is about the texture of pancake batter.
  2. Crush the ginger
  3. Separate eggs until you have about a half-cup.
  4. Fold the sugar into the eggs,whip them til they are consistently runny, rather than to a mergingue.
  5. Add flour a spoonful at a time until it feels like an actual dough, but try to stop before it feels sticky.
  6. Refrigerate dough til chilled.
  7. Make dumpling shapes, roll in flour to coat.
  8. Set a pot of salted water to simmer, but don’t allow to boil.  (my preference for salted water is “briny like the ocean”)
  9. Drop dumplings one at a time, very gently. They really want to fall apart.
  10. When they begin to float, wait a moment, then remove them gently.
  11. Plate with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Ratings

– expensive

– delicate

– a la minute; can’t easily be premade

+ delicious!

+ attractive

+ currently trendy

Mustards!

	I took all of the books I could find, and used all of the mustard recipes 
I could within them.

	If I missed some, please mention it so I can go back.

	Some books didn't have any, and some were harder to find or identify than others.
a stack of several books, two jars of mustard seed, several vinegars.

This project took some preparation,
and was a lot of fun.

	My first order of business was to set basic concepts and ground rules for the project. 
With the plan being to use a dozen mason jars, I decided to
  • use whole mustard wherever I could, and grind it. stick with yellow mustard for flavor
  • limit myself to one ounce of seed per jar where possible,
  • not use salt unless called for specifically (it never was)
  • comparison unless brown were specified
  • start them all at the same time, rather than trying to get them to finish at the same time

On to the books.
Guter Spise had mustard as an ingredient, but not as a result.

NeapolitanRecipe 32; 
Not a "mustard," but it is called one.
 Not being a condiment, this will happen another day.

	Recipe 121: Mustard seed soaked in wine or must. 
The description is what passes for scathing, the author seems to have considered this a
 required waste of ink.
 As for flavor, it's simply an acidic whole-grain mustard. 
Grinding the seed, allowing it to mature for some months in a cool room,
 and serving with a cheese course make perfect sense to my palate.

	Recipe 122: Start by steeping the seeds, 
then blend with blanched almonds and must syrup or verjus, then strain, thicken, and add spices if so desired.
  	In steeping, the seeds doubled in size and absorbed about 150% of their dry weight in water.
 Aroma is cheeselike, but it is quite mellow, and would be lovely with cheese, 
dried fruit, or with poultry. It's honestly a lot more pleasant than expected.
        I made the “must” variant, using must from a local vinegar shop.

	Recipe 123: balled mustard for trips. First soak the seeds 
(again, 150% absorption rate) then grind with raisins and spices, form into a ball, and dehydrate on a board. 
This is to be used on the road. To use it, grate it into "verjus or must or wine or vinegar."
	A mortar and pestle was the only functional tool for this, as the spice/coffee grinder 
could not get to the seeds. The wet mustard mixture was too sticky to bounce around enough to get smacked up.
	I added the cinnamon and raisins, and crushed the mustard bit by bit until the
 raisins were no longer visible. Then I rolled the mass into little balls and allowed them to dry in a warm drafty spot for two days.

Libellus de arte coquinaria;P 87, Recipe 8 Another Sauce;
 I passed on this one, as it was too similar to a couple of others and I am low on seeds.

	P. 88, Recipe 9 Another One; This one is fun. It calls for the seeds to be
 ground with honey, cinnamon, and anise. The honey really helped in the mortar and pestle, it kept the little seeds from bouncing 
around so much.  Smells great. I added an ounce of plain red wine which has vinegared on the counter, which it
 absorbed quickly. Being done and marked as being "good for three months," I will check and add more vinegar 
if needed.
 Flavorwise a week later, the mustard strength is tempered by cinnamon, not as sharp, has a backbite. 
Good for smoked meats, ham. It's deep dark and earthy, yet refined.

Goodman of ParisP 188 Sauces Not Boiled; There are two listed in
 one notation, one for making mustard to be used at once, the other for when you have time to allow it to mature.
 I chose to work with the "At Leisure" variety.  It very simply calls for the seeds to be soaked in vinegar overnight,
 ground, then have any spices left from making spiced wine added. Not only is this frugal, it seems it
 would add lovely complementary flavor. 

	P 196 has the recipe for hippocras, which gives proportions of
 spices to be added. I do not use ginger, and have no galangale, so I used the cinnamon, grain of paradise, and nutmegs, 
soaked them in wine overnight as well to emulate the "used and discarded" bit, and folded them in the next day.
 The blend being very tight (dry), I added some of the seasoned wine as well.  On tasting, it was a bit generic and acidic,
 though the spices did add some depth.

	P 195; About halfway down this page of preserving foods is a mustard recipe as a 
sub-recipe for preserving root vegetables.
 It starts by asking for "for every 500 nuts", which gave me a key for weights and measures.
I worked out that 500 almonds is just about 16 ounces, and that the measure in use at the time was nominally 12 ounces.
 This made working out the measures of spices far easier.
	I added the anise, coriander, and caraway, but have no fennel seed.  All of this went into a processor,
 which didn't help much. When I added the vinegar it started to work, and eventually I got something smoother.
 It absorbed almost all of the liquid right away.
	There is a note to add horseradish at the end of this recipe, I am not yet decided 
whether I will.
 It appeard to be to be a note to add this to the full recipe for preserving root vegetables, 
rather than to the subrecipe for the mustard portion. (a question mark)
	On tasting, we agreed that this is much better as an ingredient than a separate sauce, 
it wanted and lacked the depth and lushness of the other items involved in making a proper compost.
 I will make it again when I have root vegetables to preserve, and judge it again.

Sent Sovip 81 Recipe XIX; I was tired of the mortar and pestle, 
and the processor isn't good at little seeds. I tried a sesame-seed mill, it nominally worked.
 At least it hulled the seeds, if not actually breaking them down to powder.
 	I cracked the seeds and poured hot water over them. Then I strained them and did it again. 
I could not grind the seeds (I am done in), but did fold in the same weight chicken broth as dry mustard seeds. 
I added a tenth part honey, as those recipes with proportions of sweetener seem to work out to 1:10 sweetener:mustard by dry weight.
	Being blanched and not having vinegar at all, I am quite curious as to how this one will work out. 

	On tasting, we agree that this was a waste of mustard seeds. Flavorless and lacking in any character, 
we kind of felt let down.
 	There is a comment in Sent Sovi on making French mustard just as there is in Neapolitan, 
but not only does the author reserve personal opinion, there is a suggestion to add fruit syrup.
I let that one pass.
 
English Housewife
         mentions mustards, but the tastiest looking one is meant as a poultice for sciatica.
 (not to imply that it looked tasty!)
Cury on Inglisch 
	p 131 recipe 150 Lumbard Mustard; Finding this one is hard. 
I find this book to the the most frustrating of all of them to hunt through, it's a combination of the organisation and the fonts.
 	Grind the seeds, I whacked them with a meat-flattener, then switched to a rolling pin. 
Eventually I had to admit defeat, half of the mustard weight is powdered. I added the honey, the wine and the vinegar, 
and must thin it with wine at use.  HOT! Horseradishy. Awesome for sausages, smoked meats, or ham, 
it has all of the characteristics we desire from a spicy mustard. 

Martino; The Art of Cooking
	P 135: Just as scathing as Neapolitan's comment,
 this one simply remarks on French mustard "It is merely thinned with bitter or sodden wine. This is French mustard- for what it's worth."
 ooh, spiteful!

	The recipe on 78 for "Red or Violet mustard" is for the plant, not the seeds, and not a condiment but a dish.

 Two weeks later, I went back to check on them all.
several
 pint canning jars of different mustards, all labeled.

keeping things orderly

	Neapolitan Recipe 121 About the same; this would be a fine base for a mustard,
 but it isn't by any means usable in this state.

	Neapolitan Recipe 122 Fermented and grey, I think this was best at three days.
 I stand by my suggestion for service with a cheese plate with dried fruit.

	Neapolitan Recipe 123
	Libellus de arte coquinaria;  P 88 Still pleasant,
 but nothing to write home about. This did not live up to expectations, sadly.

	Goodman of Paris P 188 Way past prime, unfortunately. 
I think a week in the fridge is all it is good for. It is uninteresting, 
particularly compared to how rich and pleasant some of the others are.
 Goodman of Paris P 195 It got funky (musty smelling.) I will make this in the fall when I have root veg out of the garden.

	Sent Sovi p 81 About the same, but still less than interesting. 
Thin and plain.

	Cury on Inglisch p 131 Has lost nothing of it's charm. 
It is a good and interesting option. We used it up first.
 REVISITING NEAPOLITAN 123
 There were some interesting points on this one.
From one ounce of mustard seed I have two ounces of completed mustard balls. They are quite light and airy from the hulls
 of the mustard being so coarse.
 They have a lovely aroma, and look quite sensibly portable.
superball-sized balls drying on a paper towels
They took about two days to dry properly
 After drying on the counter for several days, I decided to test a couple of variables.

 I placed three balls each in separate jars, and covered each with 10x its weight in liquid.
 One was steeped in red wine, one in red wine vinegar, and one in verjus. 

 12 hours later, I looked in on them, they had not dissolved, but had soaked up some liquid.

 The Vinegar one I mashed with all it's liquid, it was far too runny.
 The Verjus, I poured off all but a volume equivalent to the still-whole ball, and mashed. Still too runny, 
though a useful consistency.
 The plain wine, I poured off all of the liquid, and mashed just the ball. It was a slight bit thick, very spreadable. 

 My suggestion is to soak with enough liquid to cover, separate, mash, and add back the used soaking liquid as 
needed for the consistency you prefer.

 Flavors and aromas were slightly different, though the character was similar enough between the three to be functionally interchangeable. 

 The wine had the most heat and sweetness, the verjus was sharpest, and the vinegar was pretty well balanced
 between the two.
A half hour later, the sweetness lingers.

The book calls for either breast of veal or mutton. About the only thing they have in common besides being ruminents is size, not texture, not flavor. I do plan to try the mutton variant some time.

(inspiration recipe in previous post)

 

veal which has been roasted, trimmed of fat, and cut to about 1.5 inch cube, ready to be cooked.

Cooled, cut, and ready to go

I had two chunks of veal breast, and only used one for last week’s post.

The other one was dinner tonight. This one called for verjus and pepper rather than mustard.

 

I cooked the onions rather longer, as I had more time to tend them, and added black pepper with the onions as well as with the meat. Next time, more black pepper. I used about two teaspoons of fresh-ground tellicherry peppercorns.

onions in a pan, cooked through

one of my favorite things

Salt went in with the onions, and verjus was used to deglaze the pan several times.
Instead of being earthy as the mustard iteration was, this was sharp and sweet. It was similar, of course, but different enough to stand alone.

Notes on verjus;

It’s the juice of unripe grapes. It can also be unripe other fruits, at need. I use pears for my home-made version.

It’s available as “sour grape juice’ through Middle Eastern markets.

Verjus is modernly prized as a way to add a grape-based acid to dishes without clashing with wine.

White balsamic vinegar is grape juice blended with white vinegar, and while similar in some respects, it’s different enough to not work as a good substitute.

Both versions are very pleasant, though different. I’ll make them again.

 

verjus being poured out of the wine bottle into the pan, by being poured over a spoon to prevent splashing

I used the spatula to prevent splashes. This verjus is quite mild.

Recipe:

  • One breast of veal
  • 2-4 medium onions,
  • 3 TBS olive oil to fry the onions in
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 c verjus

Ratings;

As with the other version of this recipe,

 

+   It’s hard to mess this up.
–    It’s also plain ol’ meat, with no fillers or ways to stretch it.
–    Needs a large enough sautee area to get the crust, and a cook with a good sense of “crisp” versus “burning.”
-/+  Needs a fair lot of onions, which can be precooked in a crockpot. The onions need a lot of time.
++   Delicious, if you like that sort of thing!
 The difference is that this calls for verjus, a somewhat expensive ingredient, and has a sharper tone, which would pair differently with the other dishes in a given course.

Back to Martino. It wasn’t a conscious decision to get hung on this book, it just fits the bill for so much of what we eat in winter.

“The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book’

“the eminent Maestro Martino of Como”

as translated by Jeremy Parzen.

 

 Tonight it was A Gallimaufry, page 120. And it was delicious.
Take a mutton breast, or veal breast, cooked, or even half-cooked, then take some finely chopped onions that have been fried slowly in rendered lard, then take the meat, and cut it into small pieces the size of walnuts; then add all these things together in the pan and fry with a bit of strong mustard or a good quantity of pepper and verjus.
 Take veal. OK, I had two breasts thereof in the freezer, right in front, begging not to get freezerburnt.
 Roast it til done, or even half done. Fun! I don’t spit roast, I have a modern oven, but high heat and some salt makes for a nice crusty roast with a juicy pink interior.
a knife beginning to separate meat from rib-bones of a well-roasted piece of meat

I did let it cool some.

 Cut the meat into chunks the size of walnuts. I trimmed fat at this point. Veal breast has fat in similar layout to streaky bacon, so it was fairly simple to trim.
 Sautee some onions til brown in lard. well… I used olive oil. Philosophy aside, I simply have preferences.
 Add mustard. Yup, I used commercial. I like Zatarains, you can use what you like or make a great one with minimal effort.
 Cook mustard and onions together, I added salt, then tossed in the meat and let it cook to completion.
cubes of meat sauteeing with onions and mustard in a shallow pan

It's almost there, just needs a little more sear.

 It got earthy and deep, rich and hearty. The crusty surface, the juices cooked in with the mustard and sweet onions, the whole package was top-notch. It got eaten before final photos could be taken.
 I plan to make it again in a night or two with the rest of the meat and the alternate instructions, which call for “pepper”. hmm.. might have to do batches with each of several peppers.
 Recipe:
1 breast of veal
2 TBS olive oil (it calls for lard)
2-4 medium onions
1/4-1/2 cup of prepared mustard
Salt, unless you roasted the veal in salt. Don’t overdo, the mustard has plenty of flavor.
Ratings;
+ It’s hard to mess this up.
-It’s also plain ol’ meat, with no fillers or ways to stretch it.
-Needs a large enough sautee area to get the crust, and a cook with a good sense of “crisp” versus “burning.”
-/+Needs a fair lot of onions, which can be precooked in a crockpot. The onions need a lot of time.
+ Minimal fuss or experience needed to make it come out well.
++Delicious, if you like that sort of thing!
I call it a winner, but quite expensive. Tough meats won’t work, but if you can find a deal on veal, it is worthwhile.
 Pork cushion would also be a good choice

The Art of Cooking

The First Modern Cookery Book

the Eminent Maestro Martino  of Como.

I followed the specific amount instructions even when they didn’t seem proportional to the rest of the ingredients I had to hand, and it bit me.

browned and bubbling, fresh from the oven.

Butter bomb

Squash*. Not Hubbard, not orange, and not dense. Think pattypan in texture. Immature loofa from a South American grocery works, zucchini would work. I had some from an Indian market.

a butternut squash and a similar sized and shaped green gourd lie parallel on a wooden cutting board to show similarities and differences between the two while whole

butternut in front for size comparison, conjectured historical squash from Indian market in back. While similar in size, the butternut weighs about twice what the other does.

There were two types available, I got both.

The bell-shaped one was spongy and soft, light and pleasant in flavor when tasted raw, and very slightly astringent.

The straight one was slimy when peeled, sticky where cut, somewhat more dense, and did not need to be cored to use. It was sweet and astringent as well, though slightly brighter in flavor. The difference was little enough that it might have been growing or transport conditions, not variety.

all ingredients needed for the recipe gathered together.

it looks so neat.

I shredded them as called for, and poached the vegetable in milk, which was an option mentioned in the recipe. The milk immediately curdled and separated, though in a pleasant manner consistent with fresh cheeses.

slender shreds of pale vegetable in milk showing how the squash caused the milk to curdle and form a natural cheese

it curdles, but not in a bad way.

It was slightly challenging to tell when the flesh was fully cooked, as it changed texture and color quickly, but didn’t really soften for about 10 minutes.

The recipe called for passing the vegetable through a stamine. I had to decide whether I was going to press it well, or try to pulverise it. I went with pressing, as I do not have the strength to force that density through cloth.

shredded, cooked squash in a strainer sitting atop a catch-basin, being squeezed dry

this is how I chose to press the vegetable

While that was going on, I folded the cheeses together, added way too much butter*, and the eggs.

I did use two whites as a sub for one whole egg, as I had two left from making the crust.

eggs, and cheeses in a bowl as sugar and cinnamon are poured in

it’s so pretty! It’s so much butter!

The cinnamon went in as part of the sugar, to prevent clumping. Clumps of cinnamon are the opposite of fun. Salt also went in; it’s not mentioned, but it almost never is.

The recipe specified either animal fat or butter. My own very strong preference when feeding people who are not me is that any dish which resembles a cheese dish ought to be completely ovo-lacto friendly if possible. The fact that this recipe called for a substitute for animal fat made me quite happy, but the amount it called for did not work with the quantities of cheeses and veg that I was working with. I’m not kidding, there’s an oil slick going on in my baking pan =/ Happily I used a baking tray, as I did anticipate this problem.

(The crust is explained below)

raw pie filling in raw pie crust, with parchment lining in an aluminum tin

I used parchment.

Though I have a period style pottery pie pan, I didn’t feel comfortable using it for this recipe. I went with a drop-bottom, straight sided tart pan. Because I don’t know for sure whether bain-maries were in  use at the time of this book*,  I sadly placed the pan directly on a baking sheet and put it in a 350* oven for 30 minutes, then dropped the temp to 300*.

I need to learn more about the history of bain maries, it would have helped a lot.

The crust I used is rather late period, as I wanted a tender “eating” crust for this pie.
It’s the one presented by Master Basilius Phocas at Pennsic XL, which he adapted from the Libro Novo (Banchetti) by Cristoforo Messisbugo. Not my recipe, so I did not include it here.

There’s a CD available of the book and his notes, but it’s in some obsolete format, and it took a while to extract the information.

I’m a fan of this pie crust, though it is quite sweet. I left out the saffron, it’s hard to talk myself into using it for an experiment.

As the crust called for two egg yolks, I saved the whites and subbed them for one of the whole eggs in the pie filling.

eggs, flour, sugar and butter sitting in a processor waiting to be blended into a crust

such a pleasant crust

a pie crust pressed in to a straight sided pan

q

Next time, I will make far less filling, and weigh the ingredients based on proportions for a quiche or other custard pie, the excess of butter is disheartening and unappetising.

The dairy variant instructions called for an extra cup of milk, but I could not use it. The batter was so wet, and so loose, that I would have had a puddle, not a pie.

In hour and 20 minutes, it puffed up and began to brown on top, but a stick test still came out gloppy.

An hour and 30 minutes, it was done. The house smelled great, rich and sweet and a little herbal.

It was very tempting looking before being cut, but after cooling, was grainy with curds, slightly astringent from the vegetable, and a bit greasy.

A higher proportion of vegetable and a creamier cheese are two changes I will work with next time.

Equipment used;

shredder for squash

one cookpot for the squash

strainer

catch basin

bowl for cheese/egg mixture

processor for pie crust

a few knives, a peeler, a bunch of spatulas, bowls for ingredients, and cutting boards.

 Recipe as I did it;*

2 lbs gourd, shredded fine
a quart of milk (to cook the gourd in)
a pound of farmers cheese (not recommended)
2 oz asiago cheese, grated fine
2 sticks of butter (really. Too much.)
6 oz sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rosewater and
1 tsp sugar overtop at the end.

Ratings;

-Somewhat scarce vegetable

+but it’s inexpensive if you do find it, has minimal waste, and travels pretty well.

-Lots of dishwashing, too many appliances

+minimal pre-cooking

-Long slow cooking time, so oven-thief

-Fickle proportions.

-I would need to do a lot of work to get it to a useful balanced dish, and I don’t like the gourd enough to do so.

+ wants rather more vegetable than custard.

If you need a dairy veggie dish, this could work out. Don’t use farmer’s cheese, it gets gloppy and gritty.

All in all, not worth fighting for in our home, though I can see the value for larger scale service. A processor shredder, a large boil-pot, and a better choice of dairy products could well make this a high-value dairy dish to be served as part of lunch or dinner service. It does take a lot of oven space. Maybe if you have convections?

 

*I identified the type of squash to use by looking at paintings of the time, and matching varietal names.

*many recipes call for varying amounts of most ingredients, and only give one measurable quantity to key from. Unfortunately, this can lead to unbalanced dishes, as the proportions for success can be a mystery.

*I think they are, but I can’t find the documentation. Do you have a thought on where I need to look?

*(things left out; I cannot cook with ginger, so it’s gone.
I do not have sesame oil, and the dish was so wet I could not find a way to add the last cup of milk)

 

a single complete cabbage rollup, cut in half to display a delicate filling of nut loaf

the final product

“The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book’

“the eminent Maestro Martino of Como”

as translated by Jeremy Parzen.

Not being a numbered book, this is the last recipe in the Riva del Garda section, on page 126. Unfortunately, there is no original in this book to refer back to, only an English translation.

I have a nice little head of cabbage, and thought it would be nice to make some stuffed leaves.

Cabbage, garlic

hazelnuts, walnuts

parsley, marjoram, mint, pepper, saffron*

fat*, eggs, cheese*

 

the raw ingredients for the dish, assembled

preparations commence

I used whole hazelnuts and did not blanche them. I strongly suggest blanching them. The skins were bitter in the dish, which was less of a good thing than anticipated.

First, I grated the cheese* into the bowl with  the herbs and seasonings. I had no parsley, but used fresh mint, dried marjoram, walnuts (also not blanched, though less of an issue, much less less manageable), eggs, fat, pepper, and garlic, but no saffron*.

a bowl containing only the dry seasonings and grated cheese

all measured and ready

After blanching the cabbage leaves in salted water and processing the nut based stuffing in the machine, I stuffed the cabbage like galumpkes rather than making a loaf.

a blanched cabbage leaf cradling a quarter cup of stuffing, waiting to be rolled up and steamed.

step one of rolling

(hmm, maybe I can do this as a slide show?)

Using the same pot I had blanched the leaves in, I steamed the stuffed cabbage rolls in about a half inch of the  salted water remaining from blanching the leaves.

Not having a lid for this particular pot, I used some foil to help hold steam.

a small pan with alumimum foil wrapped over it, in place of a proper lid

make-do lid

They took just under 10 minutes to cook, and only took a whole 10 minutes to assemble because I was taking pictures.

The flavor was pleasant, with the earthy nuts, bright seasoning, and sweet cabbage  leaves.

2 oz hazelnuts
2 oz walnuts
2 oz asiago cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp marjoram (dry)
1 tsp parsley (dry)
a handful of fresh mint
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, whole, beaten
3 oz melted veal fat (book calls for minced)
3 cabbage leaves.

 

Ratings;

–         heavy on the costs from nuts

–         labor intensive; small batches in a food processor, someone has to blanch a   lot of leaves

–       Not clearly meat, but not vegetarian (can sub the fat, it just needs a little something to avoid tasting mealy and dry)

–        Needs wet cooking, so oven or large steamers

+        Fast

+        Minimal assembly fuss

All in all, this recipe is not worth making for more than 12 people. The main reason to invest in nuts is to provide an alternate protein, this is neither cost effective nor vegetarian enough to bother with.

I would make it for a picnic basket in a heartbeat though, it’s portable food, not gloppy, interesting flavors, and doesn’t require much in the way of effort to transport.

*I start with asiago then move sharper, saltier, or milder depending.

*My general rule with saffron is not to add it until I am using a dish regularly and have the recipe right where I want it, it’s much too dear.

*the recipe called for veal fat, which we actually had from a prior recipe. I used it rendered, what I had could not be minced as called for. Olive oil would work well, I do not think butter would be pleasant if this were intended as  a dish served cold.