Appetibilis was chosen to take part in the cooking contest “Caseus Veneti 2020”, organized by the Veneto Region (Italy North East); the requirement was: must use the cheese picked for us.
We got the “Casatella trevigiana DOP” of the Latteria Soligo. A delicious fresh soft cheese, (a PDO Protected Designation of Origin), produced exclusively in the province of Treviso.
What can I say… It is kind of “curvy” so fresh and soft that is in its roundish shape. You don’t want to cut it – you want to spoon it!
And here we are! From my family’s kitchen garden: the mighty eggplants, loved and adored by many + heirloom tomatoes for a classic tomato sauce; the gluten free paccheri pasta made by a renown southern pasta maker + a delightful soft cheese artisanally made and…
You got the best gluten free baked pasta you could dream of!
Recipe Testing :: Savory Charlotte with Paccheri Pasta by Orsola Ciriello Kogan
250 g Paccheri Pasta (about 9 oz)
250 g Medium-Soft Cheese (about 9 oz)
500 g Fresh n ripe Tomatoes (about 1 lb)
4 Italian Aubergines
2 Zucchini (Cocozelle)
3 Garlic Cloves
High Oleic Sunflower oil
Salt and Pepper
Peppermint to decorate
(Necessary tools: a cutting board, a slicing knife, a cast iron grill pan, a pair of tongs, couple of flat dishes)
Wash the aubergines, dry them with a clean kitchen cloth and place them on the cutting board. Remove the green stalk + a slice at the other end, then slice them lengthwise (relatively thin).
Place the slices in layers in a colander, lightly salting each tier, and let them sit for about an hour, to draw out some of its bitter moisture.
Then lightly rinse them. To remove the excess water, gently squeeze them and pat them dry with a clean dish towel.
Season them with just a drizzle of oil, heat the pan over medium heat and… Happy Grilling!
Once ready, place them between two plates, it’ll help retain some of their moisture for the baking time.
Note: If aubergines are harvested ripe, a quarter of an hour (under salt) it’s just about enough to flavor them.
Mamma Linda “Sciué Sciué” (Simple Tomato) Sauce
(Necessary tools: a paring knife, a saucepan, a hand blender, a wooden spoon, a skillet pan)
Wash the tomatoes, chop them into coarse chunks and place them into a slightly heated saucepan. Cook them over medium heat for about 20 minutes total. Then turn off the heat and let it rest/cool down. At this point blend the mixture into a frothy tomato cream, and keep it on the side.
In a skillet pan, at medium heat a couple of tablespoons of oil, stir in the unpeeled garlic cloves (it release a milder aromatic) and cook it for about 2 minutes.
Pour in the tomato cream, season lightly (salt and black pepper to taste), and bring to a simmer. Then turn down the heat and, stirring occasionally, let it cook gently for about 30 minutes, until thick. Set aside.
Note: “Sciué Sciué” [pronounced “shué shué” (ʃwˈe)] is an expression from Naples area to indicate something done in a simple way.
Diced sautéed zucchini
(Necessary tools: cutting board, carving knife, non-stick pan, wooden spoon, flat dish)
Wash the zucchini and remove both ends.
Divide them into 2 or 3 chunks (depending on the size of the vegetable) and, one by one, cut them into four equal parts.
Remove the central (spongy) part and cut each piece into sticks, which you will then chop into cubes (possibly of the same size). Place them in a bowl, season it to taste, mix and set aside.
Heat the pan with a drizzle of oil and a clove of garlic (lightly crushed). Tip in the zucchini and stir-fry over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes (until crisp-tender). Set aside.
Paccheri [pronounced pakkeri] Pasta
Pre-cook the pasta in a large pot (size matters) with salt water for two-thirds of the time indicated on the package. Very important: the pasta should be swimming in a sea of water.
Drain them and place them on a baking tray with parchment paper on it (they tend to stick).
Note: Since my pasta is gluten free, I’ve add a bit of oil in the water. It makes easily to handle the pasta after all.
Assembling the mini charlotte
(Necessary tools: teaspoons, kitchen twine, parchment paper, springform pan, lots of patience)
Preheat the oven to 190° Celsius (375° F).
With the help of a teaspoon, stuff 3 paccheri with cheese + zucchini dices. Arrange the pasta vertically (standing side by side), then wrap them with two slices of grilled aubergine and tie them up with kitchen twine. Place the bundle in the springform pan lined with parchment paper.
Repeat the process for another 7 times more.
Pour some sauce over each parcel and bake for about 7 minutes with the grill option, until the cheese has browned, the sauce dried and the pan has heated through.
Serve it hot on a big spoon of tomato sauce, with a quenelle of Casatella cheese and some peppermint leaves on the side.
Note: Two mini charlotte per person may be a good portion… But it depends on the appetite of your guests isn’t it.
Interesting link about eggplants