http://carbonadoes.com/2012/09/22/neapolitan-vermicelli/

We had vermicelli again. Yes, we have pasta that rarely.

This time, I did it on purpose, not with leftovers.

The pasta was Strascinati, a thick curl of dough somewhat related to orrechietti. I also had the choice of  rocetti, which were suggested by my pasta monger, and will use those soon for something.

vermicelli-6

The cheese was a gorgeous Parmesan Dolce, a short-cured cheese, about the density of Jarlsberg, albeit without holes. It is mild and sweet in flavor.

We had some beautiful chicken broth with a thick fat layer on it in the fridge. I put a kilo of the dry pasta into a quart of broth supplemented with about a cup of water, in which a large pinch of saffron had bloomed.

This simmered on the stove for about 10 minutes to allow me to stir the pasta so it would not stick, then I put it in the oven at 200* for an hour.

When I pulled it out, it had cooked too long, and become a casserole. The pasta had begun to break down, all of the liquid was absorbed.

vermicelli-10

I grated about 2 oz of the cheese into each bowl and served 6 oz of the pasta on top of the cheese, the heat from the pasta melted it nicely, allowing it to get folded in.

I used a little cinnamon, some cumin, salt, pepper, and sugar as the spices. Ginger would go well, if you enjoy it.

The leftover pasta was packed without cheese.

To reheat, we added a good amount of grated cheese, folded them together, and baked as a casserole in a pan. It came out of the pan crusty and warm, very comforting on the first wintry night of the year.

Bolognese Torte. Get a pound of new cheese and of old cheese, and grate it; get well cleaned chard, parsley and marjoram, and beat them as much as you can with a knife and fry them in a little good butter, then take them out; get four eggs, saffron and a good lot of pepper, and lard or good butter, and mix everything together; make a thin pastry crust on the bottom of the pan and put this mixture in it; have another crust on top, or else get buffalo cheese, cut it into strips and cover the mixture with it instead of a crust. Note that it should have a good smell of pepper, and cook it slowly; when the upper crust puffs up – I mean, rises – then it is done.

  Note: This is an incomplete process. Normally I would only post something I have hammered into submission, but life has intervened.

 I did this two different ways, for curiosity and as planning for an upcoming dinner. I made a traditionally understood pie as well as a yeast dough “torta” more closely resembling what we understand as a white pizza.

I was unable to locate marjoram, and mine is not grown enough to use, so I substituted oregano, which is somewhat similar in profile.

Traditional deep pie; I prepared a cold crust, blended the “old”, or parmesan cheese with the “new” farmers cheese, and added the herbs and egg. I thought about frying the herbs and spinach, but it is 80* out, and I thought there might be a limit to my tolerance for richness. I used a smaller, but proportional quantity; a half pound of the cheeses, 2 eggs, and so on. I have minimal access to worthy Buffalo mozzarella, so the regular varietal of fresh had to do.  I used frozen spinach, and should have dried it out more thoroughly. Sauteeing in the butter as the instructions guided would have solved this issue. Silly me.

For the second iteration, I used a yeasted dough, and went for a more minimalist approach. I layered the cheeses, first  the farmers, then the parmesan. I then seasoned the cheeses, layered on the greens, seasoned again, and layered on the mozzarella. It was a lovely white pie, but suffered from the cheeses and herbs being separate.

 

IMG_5291The classic iteration is perfect for a small dinner, but I believe it to be too rich to be a regular thing. It is pretty difficult to eat at room temp. A little goes a very long way.

1 pie crust

1 bag chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed hard, or 2 lbs fresh spinach, minced

1 large bunch parsley, minced

1 bunch or marjoram (sub oregano if marjoram is a challenge)

1/4 stick of butter

6 oz farmers’ cheese

6 oz Parmeggiano Reggiano, grated

8 oz  fresh mozzarrella

2 eggs

1 TBS black pepper

Please note that while I love saffron, I did not use it. I am not fully satisfied with the results, and don’t want to use saffron til I am certain of the dish.

Blend the Parmeggiano and the farmers’ cheese. Season. Set aside.

Blend the greens, sautee in the butter. Allow to cool.

Blend the cheeses and the herbs,

Press the herbed cheese blend into the pie shell. Lay the mozzarella on top. Bake til the cheeses are fully melted, and the mozzarella and crust are golden brown. Serve.

The cheeses I used were rather lemony and bright. Saffron would mellow and darken this flavor nicely, I will use it after I get the moisture levels where I want them.

 

IMG_5290The simplified version was actually more problematic, due to very moist spinach.. I did not get the crisp crust I had hoped for. I deleted the eggs, butter, and saffron in this iteration.

1 half sheet

1 ball of pizza dough, stretched to shape

1/2 lb farmers cheese, dotted evenly on the crust

1/2 lb parmeggiano reggiano, sprinkled about

1 TBS black pepper,

 

1/2 lb frozen spinach, well wrung.

2 oz minced parsley,

1 bunch stripped marjoram (I used oregano, supply issues)

Mozzarella, sliced and layered nicely on top.

Bake until done at about 400*.

 

I will be making some adjustments.

Piglia tre pani he levali la crosta he gratali molto bene he metteli supra una tavola, he metteli atorno una libra he meza de bona farina; he mete cum lo dito pane quatro ho cingue oca he batile bene cum lo cultello risguardando sempre lo pane cum la dita farina; he quando te parirache sia minuto como (f* 8r) anesi confetti, pone ogni cosa in uno sedazo he cacia fora la farina; poi falli secare alo sole ho alo focho; et quando li vorai cocere, coceli in brodo de carne, he fallo ghialdo cum saffrono; he falle bullire adasio per spacio de meza hora; et mette de sopra le menestre caso he specie.

Take the crusts of three loaves of bread. grate them, set this on a table and lay out a pound of and a half of fine flour around it; and put five eggs in with the ground bread and beat that well with a knife, always being careful (to coat) the breadcrumbs well with the flour; and when you have lumps that look to you to be the size of candies aniseed, put everything into a sieve and discard the (excess) flour; then dry them in the sun or by the fire. When you want to cook them, use meat broth made yellow with saffron; boil them gently for half an hour, serve them up garnished with cheese and spices.

 

The book commentary says “think ditallini.” I disagree. I think “couscous.”

This is about the easiest recipe I have made to date, but it relies on a couple of factors.  Use of a food processor is extremely helpful for ease of production.

I saved the crusts from several loaves, and staled them in a low oven while it was cooling from making some other dishes.  I crushed them and processed them, then ran them through a coarse strainer to make sure they were of a size.

 

bread crusts stacked and placed on baking sheets to dry

making breadcrumbs

The first time I made this, I worked from the proportions in the book. Knowing I had 5 eggs of indeterminate size and a pound and a half (not modern pounds! only 12 oz lb, so 18 oz in modern parlance) of flour, I started with a half pound of bread crumbs. There was a lot of tweaking, as I made this dish on dry days and more humid days, and each time the proportions changed.   Be prepared to add more eggs or flour, but do not add more breadcrumbs, as the addition will become gummy and harder to recover.

After several batches, the following numbers are pretty reliable in a medium processor, and result in both a quantity that comfortably fits an oven and that feeds 4 people an ample portion.

.

1 c (150g) home made breadcrumbs (I do not suggest commercial, they have quite an ingredient list)

3 eggs, about 150g  to coat, a fourth in reserve for in case.

1/2 c (100g) farina, fine semolina, or other very fine low gluten flour, as needed.

To serve the dish, I needed

about a half gallon of nice broth, or a quart of stock. This is most of the flavor in the dish, so if it tastes good the dish will as well.

Saffron if you like it (I like it!)

4 oz ricotta, farmers cheese, queso fresco, or other creamy new cheese

1 tablespoon Spices as you prefer. I chose black pepper, canela, and clove.

 

Place the breadcrumbs in the processor, and add the eggs. Whir until you have  a homogeneous paste. It should look gritty, like concrete, rather than soupy.

Add flour until the mass separates into tiny pellets. If they seem too small or incompletely coated, add more egg then more flour until you feel you have a pleasantsize and presentation of pasta. Remember that too large a pellet will be difficult to dry, and uneven in an elegant serving.

Spread out evenly on baking sheets and place in the bright dry sun, or alternately, place in a low oven for several hours, There will be quite a bit of shrinkage. I choose to turn the pasta several times, to avoid clumping and aid drying.

coarse pellets laid out on two pans to dry in the oven

thin layers dry faster

You can now store the pasta in a cool dry container, such as a mason jar in the fridge. or a zip bag in the freezer.

 

In order to prepare the dish for service, put about a half cup of broth per person into a pot, and add the optional saffron.

When the broth is warm, add a quarter cup of pasta per person to the pot, and watch carefully, Add more broth as needed, as the pasta absorbs. I prefer the dish dry, but you may prefer it with more liquid. I prefer not to stir overmuch, just enough to prevent clumping.  I find it works much better to add pasta to broth, rather than the other way.

hot broth in a pot, the pasta is being poured in slowly while stirring to prevent clumping

gently adding the pasta do the broth

If there is too much broth, you might allow it to simmer down, but if there is not enough broth and you are running low, water will not ruin the dish.

To serve, place in a warmed bowl, top with a dollop of milky cheese, and sprinkle with spices. Alternately, this would be a lovely bed for a roast or braised dish.

There is a fair amount of room to adapt this dish, whether by using an herb or vegetable broth, or making it more brothy or more fluffy by changing the broth proportions. The only things that cannot be adjusted are that it is unabashedly an egg and wheat dish.

 

XLV Si vols fer bunyols, hages de la pasta damunt dita, que sia llevada, ee ous ab formatge rattlat; e sia tot mesclat e be espes. E fe’n redolins aixi com un ou. E hages una cassola e del greix dessus dit; gita’ls en cassola. E, quan seran cuits, posa’ls en un tallador ab sucre dessus e dejus.

If you want to make cheese fritters, take the dough described above, which is leavened, and eggs with grated cheese. Everything should be mixed together and quite thick.And make round shapes like an egg. Take a casserole dish and some of the grease saif above, pour (the fritters) into the dish. And when they are cooked, put them on a plate wuuthh sugar over and under.
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup warm (100 degrees F) water, for proofing
2 c warm water, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup
3 oz Manchego, grated
1 TBS salt

frying oil, fryolator

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)

I like these as a cheesy beignet. We made them small, about a half ounce of dough per bunyol, as they puff when frying and are quite rich.

The recipe really relies on a flavorful cheese. We used an earthy Manchego.  Our poor fry guy could not keep up with demand.

Dissolve yeast in ½ c warm water. Wait til foamy, add 1 c water and the bulk of the flour. Incorporate.
Allow to rise 1-3 hr til doubled.
Reserve the last cup of water.
Fold dough into last cup water, adding cheese as you go.
Add more flour if needed.
Allow to rise as time permits, at least 15 mins while prepping fryer depending on the ambient temperature.
This dough really does not need a full rise.

Fry.

Salt as they come out of the fryer.
Dust w more cheese if available. Serve.

Rest on platters lined with paper.
Move them so they don’t get soggy.
Serve in a bowl lined with cloth towels, but they probably won’t last long enough to worry about sogginess.

Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 132-133. Print.

Mushrooms of one night be the best and they be little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil , cheese and spice powder.

It’s autumn. I want easy hot lunch food that tastes nice. Mushrooms are technically out of season, but they are commonly available at any time of year now, and as I am unwilling to risk health foraging at a store is as far as I am willing to go.

Having decided to make this dish as hand pies, I had to consider the cheese. There being so few flavors, I did not want to compete with the fine spices nor the delicate flavor of the farmed mushrooms themselves. I decided that ricotta would be too wet, Camembert too gummy, and chose a queso fresco, which is like farmer cheese which has been pressed to a somewhat drier consistency.

IMG_5010

“Baby Bellas,” criminis,  were looking freshest, with the closed gills asked for in the recipe. Other mushrooms with other values of flavor would have been just as good, though perhaps suggesting more thought to the seasoning.

I sliced the mushrooms and poached them with the spices and salt, then decided to mince them for better texture.  I think they would have suffered had I minced them first, as mushrooms can tend to become either slippery or rubbery.

 

1 lb fresh small mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1/2-1 tsp poudre fine

1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4-1 tsp salt, depending on the saltiness of the cheese

1/4 c water

1-2 TBS olive oil

6-12 oz queso fresco, farmers’ cheese, or other fresh cheese

10 hand-pie wrappers of your preference. (I chose to use commercial empanada wrappers)

 

 

Taste cheese for saltiness and liquidity, set aside

Slice mushrooms.

Place mushrooms in pan with water, simmer on low until reduced in size and liquid is dark

IMG_5011

Add spices and salt if you are using it

Mince mushrooms if you wish.

IMG_5012

Allow to cool

Fold in cheese. Include any mushroom liquid which has not absorbed or evaporated

Place two ounces of the mixture on each wrapper, fold them over, and seal the edges.

IMG_5013

Bake at 325-350 for 10 minutes, then puncture the tops to prevent explosions

Continue baking til wrappers are browning. The filling is fully cooked, so don’t worry too much about it.

When mine had finished baking,  I brushed the tops with a little butter, You might like

to use an egg white, or to leave them plain.

IMG_5012

This is my Poudre Douce recipe, which I used in place of poudre fine.

1 Tbs sugar
½ Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
¼ tsp ginger

Herbed Feta Cheese
Pickled Cheese
Tyros eis Halmen

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)
“Cheese keeps after being washed in fresh water and dried in the sun, then
put in an earthenware jar together with savory or thyme, each cheese
separated from the other according to it strength, with the addition of sweet
wine vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and honey, until the liquid rises above
the cheese and herbs. Some people preserve the cheese by putting it in sea
water.”
4 oz feta cheese
1/2 oz dried thyme or savory
2 fluid oz red wine vinegar
1/2 ounce honey
Cube cheese into morsels.
Lay in narrow, deep container, dusting each layer with herbs.
Pour in vinegar, being certain to avoid air pockets.
Add honey, drizzling over the surface.
Be certain to cover completely with vinegar.
dilute with water, if needed, to cover and/or to blend flavor.
Place plastic wrap over top, touching the surface to avoid air contact.
Marinate in fridge overnight or longer, according to tastes.
Serves four as part of a cheese platter.
Grant, Mark. Roman Cookery. London: Serif Cookery, 1999. 77. Print.

Scully, Terence. The Neapolitan Recipe Collection. 4th ed. University of Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2000. 178. Print.

 

The Neapolitan Cookbook has several pasta dishes. 15, 16 and 17 are all related.

In the interest of using some leftover tubettini from the prior night, I used aspects of them for my quick lunch dish.

a brown bowl filled with small beads of pasta, and topped with grated white cheese.

quick, tasty, and light

15, Sicilian Macaroni, explains how to make tubettini. It is an egg dough made with rosewater, and “can be kept for two or three years,” while mine were semolina made with plain water. This set of instructions calls for cooking in water or good broth, then a garnish of grated cheese, a pat of butter, and mild spices.

16 describes something a little more like ziti, reminds us to use salt in the cooking, and asks for no more than butter.

Finally, 17, Vermicelli, specifies grated Parmesan cheese, mild spices, and saffron, and tells us that we can make lasagna the same way.

Interesting notes among them are the very long cooking times, their call for butter, and their use of “the very finest” flour, where we modernly think of pasta as more of a semolina flour product.

This causes me to consider my experiences with soft wheats and their differing reactions, and make plans to experiment with making pasta from different types of wheat at some point in the future.

 

Having my pasta already cooked in plain water, I assembled my ingredients and measured out my portion.

First I melted butter in a pan, in order both to butter and refresh the pasta.

After the pasta was warmed through, I poured my saffron water into the pan, which instantly transformed the color of the dish to amber.

I then sprinkled my spices on top, and sauteed for a moment more, in order to soften them and allow them to work their flavors in to the dish. This isn’t specified, , but it made sense.

A layer of pasta in a sautee pan with a dusting of spice powder overtop.

saffron and spices at work.

After plating the dish, I grated an ounce of asiago cheese on top.

Our discussion over lunch had to do with the saffron rounding out the flavor of the cloves, which could have been too sharp and bracing for a gentle dish, and the cheese’s sharpness being tempered by the saffron as well.

While we very rarely have pasta in the house, and it is more rare to have any left over, this was a fun, quick, and tasty use of of it when we did.

Recipe: Neapolitan Pastas, 15, 16, 17

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked tubettini or similar
  • 1 ounce water with saffron (maybe 5 threads)
  • ½ tsp poudre douce (see note)
  • ½ ounce butter
  • 1 ounce grated cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in pan
  2. Add precooked pasta, toss til warm.
  3. Add saffron and water, toss til reasonably evenly colored.
  4. Add spices, toss til scented and evenly distributed
  5. Place pasta in bowl, grate cheese overtop.
  6. Serve.
  7. Note lack of salt. I cook my pasta in liberally salted water, and do not choose to add more. You can certainly add it if you would miss it.

 

Ratings;

  • using store stuff is not exactly there
  • the saffron matters.
  • Balancing the spices is a perfectionists’ task+ only one of the listed recipes requires parmesan, it’s otherwise flexible+ a simple toss-together and heat dish+ leftover special

Note:

the recipe for my powdre douce is available on the button to the top right, “my basic notes and recipes.”

 

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

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)