The Recipes - Antipasti

Fig with gorgonzola and walnuts
Fichi con gorgonzola e noci

Serves 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes

4 ripe figs
100g mild creamy gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2-3 tablespoons runny honey

Place the figs on their serving plate and make two incisions in the fig from the top almost to the bottom in the shape of a cross.  With your fingers, gently squash the base of the figs.  When you do this you will notice that the top of the fig opens out.  Place a generous teaspoon of gorgonzola in each fig and sprinkle over the chopped walnuts.  Finally, drizzle over the honey and serve as an antipasto.

Tip: For a more substantial dish, add a couple of slices of Parma ham.

Cavolo Nero and cannelini bean bruschetta
Bruschetta con cavolo nero e fagioli

Serves 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5-10 minutes

A large handful of cavolo nero leaves
1 400gm tin of cannelini beans
4 large slices of ciabatta or other rustic bread
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp chili peppers
Salt and pepper

Wash the cavolo nero leaves and add to a pan of salted boiling water. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until just tender.  Remove and drain thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the crushed garlic and chili flakes. When the garlic begins to colour add the cavolo nero and stir. Sautè for a couple of minutes and add the beans. Season well with salt and pepper, switch off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

In the meantime, toast the ciabatta bread under a hot grill and rub each slice with a little olive oil. Place on a serving plate and top with a generous heap of the cavolo nero and beans. Drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil over the top and serve immediately.

Chicken and courgette filled pastries
Panzerotti al forno con pollo e zucchini

Serves 4-6
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

350g ready rolled puff pastry
1 chicken breast
2 courgettes
1 small bunch of spring onions
125g mozzarella cheese
1 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Place the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the finely sliced spring onions.  Sauté for a few minutes to soften. In the meantime dice the chicken and courgettes. Add these to the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until both the chicken and courgettes are cooked.  Season and add the zest of half a lemon. Remove from the heat and allow the mix to cool slightly.  Whilst cooling, chop the mozzarella up into small dice.  Cut out rounds of 6cm from the puff pastry and fill these with the chicken and courgette filling and a few pieces of mozzarella cheese.  Seal the borders and place on a lined baking tray.  Bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 20-25 minutes until brown on top.  Serve hot or warm.

Board bean and pancetta crostini
Crostini con fave e pancetta

Serves 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

500g fresh board beans in their pods
1 onion
200g diced pancetta
8 slices rustic bread toasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper

Place the board beans in a large pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes.  Whilst the beans are cooking, finely slice the onion and sauté gently in a frying pan with the diced pancetta until they start to soften.   Drain the beans and remove them from their pods.  Add the beans to the pan of onion and pancetta, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir everything together well.  Place the crostini on a serving plate and top with the beans, pancetta and onions.  Serve immediately.