Being a Foodie and using my family as the taste testers of my creations.. doesn't always fare well. I may think it's "fabulous", "noteworthy" and "darn ready for a cookbook", but unfortunately I have some picky eaters in my household.
For instance, I made Chicken Marsala a few weeks ago.. oh my gosh.. I LOVED it! But my husband said, too much Marsala taste.. and my daughter didn't like the mushrooms.
"What TO DO???"
One thing I know I will always get raves for with my husband and kids, is Empenada's and Rustici.
I posted an article recently on my Pistachio and Beef Savory Pastries.. that was an unexpected flavor hit for them. I was uncertain to what their response would be, but you know, something happens when a filling is wrapped in a Pasta Frolla Dough.. It's usually a hit!
This Italian Pasta Frolla recipe is the basic recipe you can find in almost any Italian cookbook or Nonna's kitchen collection.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 freshly grated lemons, zest of or 1 oranges
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon vanilla
1.In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and zest.
2.Cut in the butter, until it resembles coarse meal.
3.Add the egg and the vanilla and toss the mixture until incorporated.
4.Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very lightly, forming into a disk.
5.Chill, wrapped in plastic at least 1 hour or overnight.
6.Let the dough stand at room temperature until softened, but still firm enough to roll out.
The filling ingredients are as follows;
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Shallot finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic finely minced
1 Stalk Celery finely chopped
1 Carrot Finely Chopped
2 Large Vidalia Sweet Onions thinly sliced
2 Large Eggplants cubed
3 Large Russet Potatoes cubed
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Rounded Teaspoon Turmeric
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Kosher Salt to taste
In a very large stainless steel pan I saute my shallots, garlic, celery and carrots in around 1/8 cup olive oil. When nicely browned set apart in a different dish.
In the same pan.. without washing it first, I then season and saute my main ingredients and cook them separately not to lose their individual flavors. When they are all done and fork tender but not to soft combine them all together adding the garlic, shallot, celery and carrot saute. (back into the large pan)
Season with cayenne and tumeric. I have never cooked with tumeric before.. but I wanted the drama of some gorgeous amber color. Thinking it would only lend to color, I was so pleasantly surprised at the flavor it lent. It was perfect with the potatoes, onions and eggplant!
Add the white wine and cook till the mix is moist but not sopping wet. Add more heat and season to taste if you would like. I love the extra cayenne.:)
I made individual rustici's for my family. They cooked beautifully this way and made a wonderful presentation on the individual plates.
Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Cook until the dough is baked through and the filling is set, about 30 to 40 minutes.
For more detailed instructions Nick Malgirei has a great recipe here with instructions for another type of rustici.
Below is a close up picture of an apple blossom, from my tree not pictured..
Photo was enhanced in Photshop with added background texture! :)
Ciao and Buon Appetito!