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Herby feta pasta rotolo

Rotolo di pasta - pasta roll, in my case cut into small pieces and baked with tangy tomato sauce. Hearty casseroles make you think of chilly autumn evenings, but the filling of ewe feta with freshly chopped cilantro and mint definitely tastes like summer.

I used Scotch bonnet pepper to make the sauce. It's fairly hot - according to Scoville scale, which compares the capsaicin concentration in chili peppers, it's on a par with habanero. Those who can sense more than just a fire in their moth claim that its taste is very deep and distinctive. This time I didn't want a very pungent and overpowering sauce, so instead of chopping the pepper, I added the whole thing to the simmering sauce. It resulted in nice, slightly smoky flavour. Give it a try!

Recipe: Herby feta pasta rotolo

Serves: 2 rather hungry people
Ingredients
  • 5 fresh lasagne sheets
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
  • ground parmesan, to taste
Method
  • Place the filling on lasagne sheets, roll and cut into small pieces.
  • You might need to slightly cook lasagne sheets first, depending on how soft they are.
  • Spread the sauce on the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Top with pasta rolls.
  • Bake at 180C for about 35-40 minutes.
  • Before serving, top with grated parmesan.

Recipe: Filling

Ingredients
  • 400 g of ewe feta
  • one tbsp. of crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. of chopped mint
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients of the filling. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Recipe: Tomato sauce

Ingredients
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • one small onion, diced
  • Scotch bonnet pepper, whole
  • 5 large tomatoes - scalded, peeled and diced
  • one tsp. of sugar
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
Method
  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden.
  • Add tomatoes and whole Scotch bonnet pepper, season with sugar, salt.
  • Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.

roasted ratatouille

Ratatouille is a Provençal vegetable stew, originating in Nice. As it is often the case with traditional dishes, there is much debate on how to prepare ratatouille. The simplest method is sautéing all the vegetables together in a large pot. Some cooks insist on cooking the vegetables separately in order to enhance their individual flavours. Eggplants and courgettes are sautéed and tomatoes, bell peppers and onion are made into a sauce. Vegetables and sauce are then cooked together or baked as a casserole.

My recipe resembles confit byaldi - a contemporary version of ratatouille, invented by French chef, Michela Guérarda. Guérard is the creator of cuisine minceur, a cooking style which creates lighter version of French classics. In his confit byaldi vegetables are cut into thin slices and baked without frying. The dish was popluarized owing to an American chef, Thomas Keller, famous for his Michelin three-star restaurant, The French Laundry in California. Keller was a consultant for the animated Ratatouille and it is his version of the dish that we can see in the film. Keller's variation of Guérard's dish added two sauces Basque piperade made with tomatoes, green bell pepper and onion and balsamic vinaigrette.

Regardless of how you choose to prepare it, ratatouille is going to be delicious.

Recipe: Roasted ratatouille

Ingredients
  • one eggplant
  • one courgette
  • one yellow bell onion
  • one red onion
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • one can of chopped tomatoes
  • a few branches of fresh thyme
  • one tsp. of brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
Method
  • Thinly slice all the vegetables.
  • Spread tomatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Season with sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Arrange vegetable slices concentrically on top of tomatoes.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, top with fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper.
  • Roast at 180C for about 45 minutes.
  • Serve as a side or as a main with fresh baguette. Możecie podawać jako dodatek do dania głównego albo jako samodzielne danie, np. ze świeżą bagietką.
  • The taste improves with age overnight in the refrigerator.

Fennel roasted with tomato sauce

Recipe: Fennel roasted with tomato sauce

Ingredients
  • one large fennel
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • one onion - diced
  • 4 large tomatoes - scalded, peeled and diced
  • one tsp. of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of chili flakes
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • one tbsp. of olive oil
Method
  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil, add onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden.
  • Add tomatoes, season with sugar, salt and chili. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the sauce slightly thickens.
  • To prepare the fennel, trim off the green tops (reserve them for garnish). Peel off the tougher outer layer.
  • Cook in a boiling water for about 10 minutes. Let cool and cut the bulb into quarters.
  • Place in an oiled baking dish and coat fennel with tomato sauce.
  • Roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.
  • Top with chopped fennel fronds. Serve with bread.