Focaccia with Blueberries

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Focaccia Blueberry finish with script

Buon giorno!

THIS IS NOT A DESSERT! You will undoubtedly get very excited when you see the blueberries and think – Oh Boy, something akin to pie! NOT!! This FOCACCIA WITH BLUEBERRIES is indeed a type of bread which can be served successfully with salad, grilled meats and fish etc. This focaccia offers a savory use for the beautiful seasonal blueberries we all enjoy. Yes, there is a slight natural sweetness to the blueberries, but it is offset by the cheese and lack of added sugar to make a delicious bread alternative to your meal. It is incredibly delicious and will be the surprise at your Italian table.

This is a great way to use your fresh blueberries, and I emphasize that this is NOT a sweet bread or dessert by any means. The blueberries really work in this and give a terrific twist to your tried and true focaccia.

A word about Focaccia: Focaccia is an excellent start for anyone who is interested in dabbling in bread making. It is easy to make and does not require a long kneading time. It is almost foolproof. Also, it is quite versatile in that you can make almost any type you might like and have fun changing the flavor by adding different herbs and ingredients to suit your taste. It gives the false impression that you spent hours in the kitchen preparing it, after engaging in some complicated method of creation. This is utter nonsense, as you will see, by trying the recipe!

Fontina is a very creamy soft cheese made from cow’s milk and is both nutty and earthy in flavor. It melts easily and creates an oozy delicious cheesy flavor to any dish in which it is used – a good reason for its frequent use in fondue.  Fontina is made mainly in the northern regions of Italy, especially the Alpine regions. It is much stronger in flavor in Italy than the Fontina made in other countries.

So “gather ye blueberries while ye may”along with yeast, and Fontina, and after plucking some fresh sage from the garden, head straight to the kitchen for the performance which will earn you the title of Queen for a Day among your family and guests.

FOCACCIA WITH BLUEBERRIES

Makes: one 9 x 13 pan of focaccia

Prep: 20 minutes + 1 hour 45 minutes rise time

Bake: about 15 minutes until golden

Ingredients

1 cup lukewarm water

1 envelope Active Dry Yeast

1 tsp. Honey

1 Cup Flour

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 3/4 Cups Additional Flour mixed with 1 tsp. Kosher Salt

2 Tbsp. Fresh Sage Leaves chopped small

Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Cup Blueberries

1 Cup Grated Fontina Cheese

1 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Sage Leaves

Coarse Salt

Instructions

Begin by mixing the water, yeast, and honey in a bowl, and letting it sit for about 5-6 minutes.

Mix in 1 cup flour and the 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, letting it sit again for about 5-6 minutes.

Focaccia Blueberry 1

Then add the 2nd addition of flour (1 3/4 Cup) with the salt, and 2 Tbsp. Sage Leaves.

Focaccia Blueberry 2

Open your hand with your fingers apart and swirl the mixture until it comes together as in biscuit making. Knead for about 5 minutes until it becomes a ball of smooth dough. You can add a touch more flour if needed but not too much.

Focaccia Blueberry 3

Rub the ball of dough with a  couple of drops of olive oil and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside for the first rise for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Focaccia Blueberry 4

Then punch down and remove from bowl spreading the dough with a floured hand in a 9×13 oiled pan. Dimple the top with your finger. Cover again with a towel and let it rise a second time for about 30 minutes. The second rise will not be as great as the first.

Focaccia Blueberry 5

Drizzle with the Extra Virgin.

Then sprinkle the blueberries on top.

Focaccia Blueberry 6

Sprinkle the grated Fontina and the  1 Tbsp. chopped sage over the top.

Focaccia Blueberry 7

Finally sprinkle with a little coarse salt.

Bake at 450 degrees for about 12-15 minutes until golden on the top.

Slice before serving. Give it an extra drizzle of Extra Virgin. This is always best eaten the same day although the leftovers are divine!

FOCACCIA WITH BLUEBERRIES is not difficult to make, and the result is beautiful to serve, offering a very different bread idea.

PARLA COME MANGI!

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June: Flatbread with Zucchini Flowers

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Flatbread finish 2 with script

Buon giorno!

I simply love flatbread! It is useful in so many ways – as a bread with dinner, as an appetizer or snack. This FLATBREAD WITH ZUCCHINI FLOWERS  is lovely to serve and really delicious. It offers another use for the beautiful Zucchini Flowers or Squash Blossoms that are in abundance right now as our zucchini plants are developing in the garden. There is nothing that makes me happier than going into the garden in the morning and picking these lovely flowers – knowing that with them, a delicious treat awaits.

zucchini-in-garden-300x225 - CopyFirst Zucchini flower 2015

This flatbread is so simple using my pizza dough recipe which is the one my mother, Loretta, always used. It is so easy to make and use. It makes several loaves which you can freeze for another time. I suggest gathering as many blossoms as you can for this flatbread. A few are fine, but the more you have, the better your flatbread will be. The secret is that these flowers are stuffed with goat cheese which offers a small explosion of goodness each time you bite into one.

FLATBREAD WITH  ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

Makes: one 12-14 inch flatbread

Prep: 30 minutes + time to make the dough

Bake: about 15 minutes

Ingredients

1 loaf of Loretta’s Pizza Dough

Several Zucchini Flowers (the more, the better)

Goat cheese

8 Oz. Fresh Mozzarella

1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme or Lemon Thyme

Pinch of Dried Oregano

About a cup of Castelvetrano Olives but in half (these are the bright green Sicilian olives)

1/2 C. Grated Pecorino Cheese

Fresh Chives  – as many as you like chopped and sprinkled over the top

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

Take one loaf of dough and roll or stretch it into a 12-14 inch rectangle on a sheet pan. This is not pizza so don’t worry about pizza stones etc.

Drizzle the rectangle with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Flatbread 1

Grate or thinly slice the mozzarella and lay it on the top of the dough.

Sprinkle the Thyme Leaves over the cheese.

Prepare your zucchini flowers: snip off and discard the stems. Remove and discard the pistil (long thing inside the flower). Fill the flower with a lump of goat cheese and fold the petals gently around it.

Flatbread 2

Place the flowers on the flatbread. The more flowers the better!

Flatbread 3

Sprinkle the Pecorino and oregano on top.

Slice the olives in half and scatter them around the flatbread.

Flatbread 4

Follow with the fresh chives.

Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Flatbread 5

Add your favorite wine – you need nothing more!

( For more on Flatbread, see this post: Zucchini and Potato Flatbread)

PARLA COME MANGI!

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Loretta’s Sausage Roll

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Sausage Roll finish with script

Buon giorno!

Saturday night was always pizza night at the Calabrisi’s in our little kitchen in Binghamton, NY. The expectation was comforting. We knew some form of pizza was coming, but were never sure exactly what my mother, Loretta, had in mind. On some of these pizza nights, we had a special kind of pizza in the form of a roll – LORETTA’S SAUSAGE ROLL! She always used my father’s homemade sausage which is still the best I have ever tasted – perfectly seasoned with just the right amount of the very necessary fat. Then, of course, there was her dough!

LORETTA’S SAUSAGE ROLL was a very simple recipe. She used her pizza dough which I still use today. She made this roll with sausage and a little bit of red pepper flakes.

Loretta’s dough: I think it is the very best for a few reasons. To begin – It is simply authentic and “old world”.  It is easy and is created with the signature simplicity found in most authentically Italian recipes. It is not fancy. There are no tricks to it. It does not require special flour. What is most important is that this dough has the perfect flavor and elasticity you would and should expect from any Neapolitan pizza dough.

Versatility: This dough can be used for pizza and, as it is here, for “sausage roll”. You can also use it to make divine flatbread. It is also lovely for Mozzarella in Carozza or Pizza Fritte. In addition, this dough makes amazing “Grissini” – Northern Italian Breadsticks.

Variations: Sometimes I add some fried peppers to the sausage. If I want to get a little funky – I use those sweet-hot Peppadews. Another addition that is oozy and delicious is grated mozzarella. Have fun with it.

When something is this perfect and this simple – there is nothing left to say except…Andiamo!

LORETTA’S SAUSAGE ROLL

Makes 1 Roll – Serves: about 4

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 Loaf of Loretta’s Pizza Dough

1 pound Italian Sausage – taken out of casings – sweet, hot , or a combination of the two

Olive Oil

Leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh Rosemary – chopped a little

1/4 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes or more if you like it spicy

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

Make your dough in advance. The recipe for Loretta’s Dough makes about 4 loaves. Use one for this. I make my dough ahead and freeze the loaves so I always have some.

Remove the sausage from the casings and brown it in a tbsp. or 2 of olive oil – breaking it up into small pieces with a fork as it cooks.

Sausage Roll 1

Roll out your loaf of dough on a little flour into about a 14 inch rectangle.

Rub a few drops of olive oil over the surface of the dough with your hands.

Spread the browned sausage over the dough leaving a small border all the way around.

Sprinkle the fresh Rosemary leaves and the red pepper flakes over the top.

Sausage Roll 2

Fold the right and left shorter edges inward.

Sausage Roll 3

Then begin rolling the dough like a jelly roll from the bottom edge forward.

Sausage Roll 4

Keep rolling until the finished roll forms.

Sausage Roll 5

Rub the surface of the roll with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan or foil covered pan.

Sausage Roll 6

Bake the roll at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and cool at least 15 minutes.

Sausage Roll 7

Serve with a nice drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Variations: Sometimes I add some fried peppers to the sausage. If I want to get a little funky – I use those sweet-hot Peppadews. Another addition that is oozy and delicious is grated mozzarella.

Enjoy LORETTA’S SAUSAGE ROLL as an appetizer with wine or beer, breakfast, lunch – or  a light main course. You will absolutely love this stuff and the very versatile dough as well.

PARLA COME MANGI!

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Grissini; Northern Italian Breadsticks

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Grissini - finish  with script

Buon giorno!

This is a recipe you’ll want to star and keep close by – not only as an appetizer, but also as a crunchy alternative to bread or rolls at dinner. These are addictive, easy, and really good.

Those Northern Italians have it right with their GRISSINI – NORTHERN ITALIAN BREADSTICKS. Using my pizza dough which is so easy to make – recipe: HEREthese easy breadsticks can be made in a flash anytime by freezing a couple of loaves of dough ahead. I always keep some in my freezer for just such an occasion. They are great to munch on with beer or cocktails and also as a substitute for a heavier bread with pasta. When looking for a light but tasty bite before a heavier meal, this is the way to go. They are interesting to display on your bar or table also. Just look at these!

Grissini - finish 2 with script

About Grissini: Most would agree that they got their start in the Piedmont region in the north of Italy. It is thought that they have been around since the 14th century and may have been “born” in Turin. Even Napoleon acknowledged them and called them “ les petits batons de Turin”!

If you are looking for a little help, these breadsticks are also fun to make with your kids or grandkids! What are you waiting for – start rolling! Andiamo!

GRISSINI – NORTHERN ITALIAN BREADSTICKS

Makes: 18-20

Ingredients

1 Loaf pizza dough – Recipe HERE

Olive Oil

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Romano, or Asiago

Chopped Fresh Rosemary leaves or Coarse Salt– as options

Instructions

Make your pizza dough ahead and freeze it like I do. It’s easy and you’ll have about 4 loaves to keep in the freezer.

Grissini 1

Take one of the loaves (or defrost one) and roll out flat and thinly on a lightly floured surface.

Grissini 2

With a sharp knife, cut strips about ½ inch wide.

Grissini 3

Take each strip, fold over on itself, and then roll with both hands to make a “snake” about 14” long.

Grissini 6

Grissini 5

Repeat with each strip.

Grissini 7

Place on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with grated cheese ( & chopped rosemary leaves) or simply Coarse Salt.

Grissini 9

OR – Another way of adding your rosemary, salt, cheese etc. – you might try rolling out your dough like this and sprinkling the dough first – then roll your sticks!

Grissini 8

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Keep in an airtight container. They do not have to be refrigerated and will keep tightly covered for several days.

OK – so you got Napoleon’s approval and you are now ready to make your own GRISSINI – NORTHERN ITALIAN BREADSTICKS!

PARLA COME MANGI!

 

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October: Butternut Squash Bread With Orange Glaze

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Pane di Zucca –

Bread finish 5

Buon giorno!

Don’t you just love the smell of fall in your kitchen? Does it bring on those childhood memories? You know what I mean  – the aroma of spices baked into something you know will be special, warm, and comforting. When those spices combine with the flavor of orange, fennel seed, and roasted squash – it is heavenly. The Recipe of the Month for October, BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD or as the Italians say it, Pane di Zucca,  is your ticket to creating that memory in your cucina – the one that brings smiles when your dearest ones come running to the kitchen to see what has created such sweet spicy sensation. Throw in dark juicy cherries and some nuts to crunch and hearts will be won.

Cherries

This is easy to make. You actually SHOULD make it ahead. Those who can’t resist and eat it right away will miss a special surprising transformation. You must make it a day ahead – the bread slices better but more important – a miracle occurs overnight! The flavors of this lovely nut bread intensify as the hours pass and become incredibly wonderful during this time. The next day you have a sweet bread that will be difficult to resist and one that definitely won’t last long! “ Good things come to those who wait.”

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD WITH ORANGE GLAZE

(Pane di zucca)

Makes:  1 loaf

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: about 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 lb. Butternut Squash Puree (about 2 1/2 C. cubed peeled butternut squash – Roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes – then pureed in processor or blender)

1/2 C. Butter

2 Eggs

1/3 C. Orange Juice

Grated Zest of 1 Orange

3/4 C. Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

1/3 C. Sliced Dark Red Cherries – leave them chunky (fresh preferred, but dried or even canned may be used if drained and dried) Throw in a few more if you like.)

DRY INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 C. Flour

1 1/4 C. Sugar

1 tsp. Baking Soda

3/4 tsp. Baking Powder

3/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

1 Tbsp. Fennel Seed

ORANGE GLAZE:

1 C. Powdered Sugar

1/2 tsp. orange extract

1/8 C. Orange Juice

Grated Orange Zest for garnish

Instructions

Roast the cubed butternut squash, spread on a pan and sprinkled with a little oil, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Puree in blender or processor. Makes about a cup.

Cream the butter in a mixer and add the pureed squash, eggs, orange juice, and orange zest.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then add to the squash mixture in the mixer. Mix until combined and remove bowl from mixer.

Add the nuts and cherries and toss with a spoon or spatula.

Butternut Squash Bread 2

Pour into a greased loaf pan.

Butternut Squash Bread 3

Bake at 350 for about an hour and 15 minutes or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Cool in pan about 20 minutes – then remove the bread.

When Bread is cool. Mix the powdered sugar with the extract and orange juice. You should have a thick glaze.

Orange Icing - 4

Drizzle the glaze over the bread and sprinkle top with more orange zest.

Bread - sliced 6

Refrigerate overnight before cutting and eating. The bread will slice better than when warm and the flavors will intensify!

Bread - 2 slices 8

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD or Pane di Zucca  is a spicy and zesty fall nut bread. Better make two, as it disappears fast!!

PARLA COME MANGI!

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Zucchini and Potato Flatbread

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Flatbread 8- finish

Buon giorno!

What to do with all that zucchini in the garden? Lookin’ for a great appetizer? Need an interesting bread for dinner? Lunch maybe? How about a few drop in guests on the patio? I have just the right answer to all these questions – ZUCCHINI AND POTATO FLATBREAD. Flatbread is a great and versatile thing. It can be an appetizer with wine or cocktails. It can accompany your meal as a rustic homemade bread. It can be lunch! You choose!

This is an easy and fun recipe. Get everyone in on the act – your grandchildren, your kids? You can even enlist those drop-in guests. They’ll love you for it. So fun – so easy – soooo good!

I had just this experience the other day when a neighbor dropped by for a Friday night Martini while I was preparing some of this incredibly delicious flatbread. I had her at the front door actually when she smelled the garlic roasting and then followed the aroma to the kitchen. She was amazed at how quickly it all came together and said she wasn’t leaving until she tried some. Well, she did – and followed her first bite with a loud OMG and eyes that I thought might just pop right out. ( FYI – this is always a good sign) In other words – success! It was amore!

The dough: I use my  mother, Loretta’s, pizza dough which is easy to make. Visit: Pizza – That’s Amore for the recipe – guaranteed to be the best pizza dough you’ll ever taste! OK so I’m just a little bit biased maybe? But, it’s not just me. My husband doesn’t like to order pizza anymore because he says the crust doesn’t measure up. My book designer, Doc, who lives in San Francisco and has access to good Italian food and ingredients, says I’ve spoiled him forever with this dough. He can no longer go out for pizza! It is very easy to make, and the flavor and consistency  – perfect. I like to make it when I don’t need it and freeze it for when I do need it. The recipe makes 4 loaves. I wrap each one individually and always have it available. I just pull it out of the freezer a few hours ahead and let it defrost.

The ingredients: Pretty straight forward here – freshness being of utmost importance as always. As far as ingredients go – this flatbread is all about layering them and achieving several levels of flavor that combine for maximum impact. In other words, YOU NEED ALL OF THEM!

The roasted garlic is VERY important here. It gives the flatbread a layer of flavor that you cannot duplicate without it. If you have followed my posts in the past, you know the high regard I have for roasted garlic. It is easy to make, has so many uses, and the roasting transforms it from strong to mild and nutty. The flavor of roasted garlic is nothing like the raw garlic, and those who may not appreciate it in its usual form should really give it a go. It is wonderful stuff!

Fresh garlic

This is a great way to use some of that good seasonal zucchini. The zucchini and potato are sliced paper thin. You can do this with a sharp knife or use a mandolin like I do – a handy tool that slices to the thickness desired in nothing flat! It is very easy to find in any store that sells cooking gadgets. This is what it looks like:

flatbread 1

The Rosemary – fresh as ALWAYS! Hopefully you have some growing in your garden. Maybe your neighbor has some you can steal when he/she isn’t looking – or yes ask to “borrow” some. If not, you can always find it at your grocer. The Rosemary is necessary. Do not substitute something else – not all herbs impart the same flavor!

The cheeses – Gorgonzola or Blue combined with the Parmigiano – these are the ones you want for this flatbread. The combo is fantastico!

And of course – the Extra Virgin drizzle is the ribbon that ties up this package. Choose a good one that has more of a peppery finish.

Some tips: This is not pizza. We are not making this on the grill and charring the edges and bottom like a Napoletano pizzaiolo. Instead, we make this in the oven with a little olive oil under the dough – baking at 450 until golden. We want a more bread like consistency with a little more oil dominance. Follow the directions – you’ll get the idea!

ZUCCHINI AND POTATO FLATBREAD

Makes:  one large flatbread (Serves 4-6)

Prep: 15 minutes + time to make the dough

Cook: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients

1 loaf pizza dough – Recipe HERE

2 Whole Bulbs Roasted Garlic ( instructions below)

Olive Oil

1 Medium Zucchini – skins on – sliced VERY thinly

1 Medium Potato or 2-3 small ones – skins on – sliced very thinly

3 Sprigs Rosemary – chop and use the leaves

3/4 C. Crumbled Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese

3 –4 Tbsp. Parmigiano – Reggiano Cheese – grated

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

Make your pizza dough – recipe noted in the ingredients list – highly recommended. You can make it ahead and freeze it like I do. If so – defrost it the morning of the day you intend to use it.

Roast two garlic bulbs: Take each whole bulb and peel off outer leaves leaving inner skins on and bulb intact. Cut off the top of the bulb at the “pointy” end exposing the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and add a little salt. Place in foil and seal up like a package. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Remove from the foil carefully – they will be hot. Let the bulbs cool a little until ready to use.

Slice your zucchini and potato – paper thin. A mandolin is a good tool for this as shown and explained in the post. If you don’t have one – use a sharp knife.

Flatbread 2Flatbread 3

You are ready to make your flatbread!

Flatbread 4

Roll out your dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured board.

Take a sheet pan and rub it with a little olive oil. Then place the dough on the pan. Rub the top of the dough with a little olive oil.

Take your roasted garlic bulbs, turning them upside down – squeeze each bulb. The cooked cloves will slide right out onto the dough. Squeeze them all out. Then take a fork and mash them around on  the dough.

roasted garlic

Lay the zucchini slices, overlapping a little,  in a long row on the long edge of the dough. Follow this with a row of potato slices also overlapping slightly.

Repeat with another row of zucchini and potato.

Flatbread 5

Sprinkle on the Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese. Then follow with the Parmigiano.

Top with the fresh Rosemary leaves.

Flatbread 6

It’s time for a generous drizzle of a beautiful Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Bake this in a 450 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

And now you have ZUCCHINI AND POTATO FLATBREAD!

PARLA COME MANGI!

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Focaccia Casatiello

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Focaccia Casatiello

Buon giorno!

With Easter almost upon us, it is a joy for me to look back upon past Easter holidays with my family which were much about the food and its preparation, in addition to the blessings of the season. I remember the usual weeks leading up to the holiday with buzzing in the kitchen about getting the milk fed lamb or goat and the greens for the minestra. Bread making was a part of all this. In the Calabrisi household, back in Binghamton, NY, my parents, Loretta and Attilio, often made a rolled bread using pizza dough filled with their homemade Italian sausage (the best sausage ever created!)

Remembering this, a Neapolitan Easter favorite comes to mind  – the Casatiello – which is a brioche-like bread stuffed with meats and cheeses. In the spirit of the traditional long rising and mixing of this traditional bread from Napoli, I enjoy making a shorter version and call it, FOCACCIA CASATIELLO. This is a much quicker easier process which yields a beautiful soft focaccia suitable for any occasion but especially for the Easter season. Focaccia usually has a shorter rise time, and is easier, I think, to make, even for a novice bread maker.

This focaccia is stuffed with cooked sausage, fennel seed, and Pecorino cheese. These additions fill the focaccia with extra flavor and create big flavors for little effort. It is best made the day you plan to serve it. The next day –the leftover focaccia will disappear, as your guests and family realize that this is the perfect breakfast food when slipped onto the griddle with their eggs and whatever. We love this stuff at our house, and it always flies off the serving platter.

Hint: This is the time when you’ll want to use a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle this amazing flavor bomb!

 FOCACCIA CASATIELLO

Makes: 1  9x 13 loaf

Prep: 3 hours

Cook: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients

1 c. Lukewarm water

1 envelope dry active yeast

1 tsp. honey

2 3/4 c. flour – divided (1 cup and 1/1/2 cups)

¼ c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed

1/2 C. Italian Sausage broken into very small bits – a mixture of sweet and hot sausage – cooked, casings removed

1/2 C. Pecorino Cheese + 1/4 to 1/3 C.extra for top sprinkle – coarsely grated

Coarse Salt for a very light sprinkle (Sea Salt, Grey Sea Salt, or Fleur de Sel are good choices for this)

Additional GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzle

Fresh Chopped Sage for garnish

Instructions

Brown sausage pieces quickly in a pan with a little olive oil. Set aside.

In large bowl mix water, yeast, honey – let sit for about 5 min.

1 Focaccia - yeast

Add 1 c. flour and ¼ c. oil into the yeast mixture – let sit 5 min. more

Add the remaining flour and salt. Mix together with hands and open fingers in a circular motion as for making biscuits.

Knead this mixture on a board for about 5 minutes – not long – it should come together and become a smooth dough. Add a touch of flour if sticky – but not too much.

Spread the dough out a little and add the sausage, fennel seed, and Pecorino – work these ingredients into the dough well.

2 Focaccia rising

Rub the dough with a couple of drops of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place it in a bowl covered with a towel and put it in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour and a half.

When finished rising, turn the dough into an oiled rectangular cake pan – about 9 x 13 inches.

3 Focaccia Casiatello - 2nd rise

Dust your hands with some flour and push the dough with your fingers until it retains the shape of the pan. Poke dimples all over the top of the dough with a finger.

I like to cover with a towel and  then put the pan aside for about 30 minutes for a second rise. Second rise will not be as much as the first.

Preheat the oven to about 450 degrees. You may prefer to place the pan on an upper rack for nicer browning.

After second rise, sprinkle a little coarse salt on top, sprinkle the coarsely grated Pecorino (1/4 to 1/3 C.),  and drizzle the top with a GOOD Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

4 Focaccia Casiatello - add oil and cheese

Bake for 15 minutes depending on your oven. Top should be golden – not too brown.

5 Focaccia Casiatello - baked

Don’t over bake or your focaccia will be dry. The time will depend on your oven so watch it and adjust if needed!

Turn the focaccia out on a board to cool. Sprinkle on some chopped fresh Sage and drizzle generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Cover loosely until ready to serve and slice. Make this  the day you want to serve it.

So hurry and make your FOCACCIA CASATIELLOthe table awaits!  (Also try the Italian Sweet Easter Bread another Easter tradition. )

PARLA COME MANGI!

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