I hope you enjoy the food!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Osso Bucco & Torta Caprese

Saturdays can be quite hectic in this house - sport is often late in the afternoon - lunch is after sport and then what to do about dinner?? This week I got it sorted! I prepared the Osso Bucco in the morning, covered it with foil and put it in the fridge for cooking when we got home. Too easy!!! I then got to relax and smell the beautiful aromas of dinner cooking, while having a glass of wine by the fire! This would also be a great meal to pop in the oven as you are leaving for an evening of sports training - all cooked when you walk back in the door!

Osso Bucco

Olive oil
2 x onions, chopped
2 x carrots, finely chopped
3 x celery sticks, finely chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 x 4cm long pieces of lemon rind (use a vegetable peeler, being careful not to get any white pith) remaining rind to be used in the gremolata
several springs fresh thyme and rosemary (approximately 4-5 each see photo)
3 dried bay leaves
1/4 cup plain flour
8-9 pieces of osso bucco
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
400g can diced tomatoes

Shredded basil leaves
remainder of lemon rind, finely grated
salt, freshly ground black pepper

If you are making this to eat straight away - preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

In a large frying pan heat a little olive oil. Cook the onion, carrot, celery and garlic until softened. Stir in the strips of lemon rind. Transfer this mixture to a large 3.5L casserole dish - a large flat type is best.

Place the flour on a large plate, season with salt and pepper. Add the veal pieces to the flour, coat, shake off excess flour. Heat a small amount of olive oil in the frying pan over medium high heat. Cook the veal pieces for approximately 3 minutes each side - or until they are lightly browned. Transfer to a plate while cooking the remaining pieces. You may need to add a little more oil each time you cook a new batch - make sure to reheat the pan each time.

Arrange the browned pieces of veal on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish.

Add the wine to the frying pan, making sure you scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan (these add to the flavour!) Cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock and the tomato. Bring the mixture to the boil. Pour this mixture over the veal, making sure that the meat is covered with liquid. If not, add a little more stock. Cover the pan tightly with foil.

At this point you can put the dish in the fridge for later cooking, or you may like to even freeze for later use. Before putting the dish in the oven make sure you let the pan sit out of the fridge for about an hour before putting in the oven. If you have frozen the dish, thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat - then bake.

Bake for 2 1/2 hours, or until the veal is very tender. Set aside for 10 minutes to rest after cooked.

To make the gremolata, mix together the shredded basil and lemon rind, season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve the Osso Bucco on top of Creamy Polenta, topped with a small amount of gremolata.

Creamy Polenta

3 cups chicken stock
1 cup polenta
300ml cream (I used light cooking cream)
50g butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan

Bring the chicken stock to the boil in a medium sized saucepan. Once boiling, add the polenta in a slow steady stream (do not add too quickly). Continue stirring the mixture for about 15-20 minutes (a balloon wisk works well for doing this), until the polenta is cooked and no longer crunchy. When cooked, add the butter, cream and the parmesan, to taste. I have found the best parmesan to use for this is the type that you can buy on the shelf in the pasta section of the supermarket. It doesn't go too sticky like the fresh type.

Now if you still have room after that here is dessert!!

Torta Caprese

210g pecans
180g 70% dark chocolate, broken into squares
4 eggs, separated
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
220g unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (buy the best you can afford - it is worth it!)
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Place the pecans on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and roast for approximately 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them - they can burn quite quickly - check at 8 minutes to see how they are going. Cool down.

Grease and line the base and sides of a 24cm springform cake pan, then dust lightly with flour.

Place the pecans and chocolate in a food processor and grind them in short, sharp bursts until they are finely ground. Be careful not to grind it too much and turn it into a paste!! Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric beater for around 4 minutes, or until they are thick, creamy and pale. Gently mix in the cooled butter and vanilla. Now stir in the pecan mixture until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl (make sure it is dry and clean) whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are fluffy and hold their shape - do not make them overly stiff. Whisk 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold the remaining egg whites in. Make sure the mix is thoroughly combined, but do not stir too much or you will loose the air in your whites!!

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, jiggle it to make sure it is settled evenly in the pan.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the edges pull away from the pan and it feels firm when you place the palm of your hand on the surface and wobble it gently.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a rack to cool completely.

To serve, dust with icing sugar. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Did you enjoy your trip to Italy???

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