May 10, 2010

Sauce mousseline

Sauce mousseline is a hollandaise that is refined with whipping cream. It goes very well with fish and asparagus. I used to prepare hollandaise in the past according to the recipe posted some years ago, but this asparagus season I started with Roux's recipe. What a great decision! It beats every hollandaise I had before. It is not beaten over steam, but on a heat diffuser, however I am not sure if that is what makes the difference. On Saturday I found some fava beans in a tiny shop, and I was thrilled, because the whole last year I didn't see them anywhere. I decided to prepare some for lunch today, among asparagus and fish. The gorgeous organic sea bass in the freezer seemed to be just perfect for this light(?) spring dish, that I served with a spalsh of lemon oil.


1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp white peppercorns, crushed
4 egg yolks
250 g freshly clarified butter, lukewarm
75 ml whipping cream
juice of 1/2 lemon

In a saucepan over a low heat, mix the wine vinegar, 4 tbsp cold water and the crushed pepper. Allow to bubble until the liquid has reduced by one-third. Leave to cool completely.
Add the egg yolks to the cold reduction and whisk to combine. Set the pan (on a heat diffuser if you have one) over a very low heat and continue whisking. Gradually increase the heat so that the sauce gradually emulsifies, becoming very smooth and creamy after 8-10 minutes. Don’t let the temperature rise above 65°C.
Take the pan off the heat and, while still whisking, pour in the clarified butter in a steady stream. Season with salt, to taste. Whisk the cream in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Fold the cream into the sauce and then at the last moment, stir in the lemon juice.

May 9, 2010

Lasagne al Forno - reloaded!

About 2 years ago, I prepared my first lasagne with homemade pasta, later again as a Daring Bakers' challenge. In fact the last time I cooked lasagne was that mentioned challenge. Meanwhile, I discovered that I indeed like cooked tomatoes, so I reinvented my Ragù alla bolognese. Nowdays, I cook three types of raand this is one of them and it ended up in a lasagne for lunch today.

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
2 cloves garlic
2 pinches of dried oregano
500 g beef, minced
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 bay leaf

1 clove
5 stalks of basil
50 ml red wine
300 g tinned tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
60 ml milk
salt, pepper
For the Béchamel:

50 g butter
50 g flour
600 ml milk
salt, pepper
For the pasta:
200 g flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat olive oil, add grated onion, carrot and celery. Peel garlic and throw it to the pot and fry it all together with the bay leaf (stick clove into the leaf), oregano, salt and pepper. As soon as the onion is soft, add beef and stir. Add tomato puree and cook for a minute and fry until the meat is brown. Add wine, reduce and add tomatoes. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the milk, bring to the boil and set aside. For the Béchamel melt butter, stir in flour and add the milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until it thickens. Season with salt, pepper and fresh nutmeg. Remove from the heat. Knead a smooth pasta dough using flour, eggs, salt and olive oil and let it rest for 30 minutes. Cut it in 8 pieces and roll it out as thin as possible with your pasta machine. Remove garlic cloves, bay leaf and basil from the ragu and put a spoonful of ragu in an ovenproof dish, then add some béchamel, put 2 long sheets of lasagne on it, again ragu, béchamel, parmesan and so on. On the last layer put some béchamel, mozzarella, parmesan and some chunks of butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes. I suggest to let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

May 8, 2010

Spring is here!

Finally! The local rhubarb season has just started last week! The first portion of rhubarb jam is simmering on my stove right now. Fresh radish, salad and white asparagus are waiting in the fridge. Among the awaken spring and almost 2 months break, I am also back in the kitchen.

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