The Taste of Italian Summer: Lemon and Ricotta tart

Lemon trees here in the south, and especially on the Amalfi coast, are rightly famous and grow everywhere.  We have two in the garden which bear fruit for most of the year.  I was looking for a light Summer desert menu with a lemony zing and decided upon this simple but stunning tart from the Two Greedy Italians – Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.  Both from near Naples, they cooked the dish outside on a terrace high above Amalfi.

The recipe uses candied cedro, a citrus fruit from the south of Italy, with pungent lemon zest sprinkled on the finished tart.   But you can use candied lemon peel too.  The result, as shown above, is a very light, delicate tart which is lovely either on its own or, as recommended by the cooks, with Summer poached pears.  This version is from the BBC website.

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Recipe of the week: Poached Italian Summer Pears

Down at the local green grocers yesterday, I saw that the pere coscia or Coscia pears had arrived.  These are small, firm, sweet pears which are in season from late Summer until the beginning of Autumn.  They go well raw, with gorgonzola, or in a salad.  In their honour, what better way to cook them than in the classic manner, poached in some Italian red wine, cooled and then eaten with vanilla gelato.  Recipe after the jump.

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Recipe of the Week: Faraona alla Leccarda – Umbrian cuisine at its best

On our way back from Assisi the other week, we stopped in the lovely hilltop Umbrian town of Todi.  In the centre, we found the charming little restaurant Pane e Vino which was busy with Sunday lunchers, some evidently up for the day from Rome.  Umbrian cuisine is famous, amongst many things, for its meat.  I previously blogged about porchetta but over the weekend we also ate pigeon, rabbit and wild boar.  This was a welcome change from Naples with its tomatoes, sea food and mozzarella.

But the best dish of the weekend came last.  In the restaurant which has a rustic-type menu, I ate Faraona (guineafowl) alla Leccarda which has a sauce based on chicken livers  and which is whizzed up separately from the roasted bird before being combined and served. The lady chef in her small and spotless kitchen scribbled the ingredients (livers, olives, garlic, wine, vinegar, capers, rosemary, sage) on a Post-It for me.

Here is a recipe and photo from the blog Recipes from Umbria.  You can take the meat off the bone and, combined with the sauce, would go well on bruschetta or as a pasta sauce.  But as a roast lunch it was absolutely delicious with the different flavours combining perfectly.