I hope you already saw and had the chance to read, view, and watch the video from part 1 of Will’s cooking class in Rome. Below, you will find the second half of the class, which involved meatballs (these were Will’s specialty – watch the video!), sauteed zucchini and dessert! A HUGE thank you again to Josh Chung for sharing his beautiful photographs and incredible video about the experience. I am so grateful that he captured this experience for everyone and was able to document it so wonderfully! Chef Andrea prepared all these recipes for the class, which I have the good fortune of sharing with you. Continue reading and enjoy!
Second Course: Polpette della nonna (Meatballs with fresh herbs from the garden) (serves 4 people)
500 gr/1 lb ground mixed meat (usually the recipe requires 70% beef and 30% pork sausages, grounded and minced) – the sausages we used in the kitchen were Prosciutto sausages – healthier and tastier than the usual ones
100 gr/1 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
100 gr/ 3.5 oz. Edamer cheese (soft, mild cheese grated – any American cheese, Edam cheese or something similar would work)
50 g/ 1/2 cup fresh unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 loaf leftover bread that you have to soak into milk (no crust, get only the soft part of the bread)
1 tbsp salt
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic (remember to keep the skin on as it contains all the nutrients)
Fresh herbs from the garden (sage, rosemary, bay leaves, marjoram, thyme, etc…)
1 glass dry white wine (Frascati or Chardonnay is preferred)
To make the polpette (meatballs) you have to mix in a bowl the meat (a mix of grounded beef and pork – if you can’t get Prosciutto sausages, make sure to get unseasoned ones or even minced pork loin or fillet), grated cheese, mild and soft grated cheese (like edamer), egg, leftover bread soaked into milk, S&P. Mix it very well, powerfully, and set aside for a good half an hour just to season it. Then shape into meatballs and roll them into the breadcrumbs. In the meantime, in a large frying pan over low heat, stir in the garlic with extra virgin olive oil and cook until it starts to brown.
Now it’s time to brown the meatballs into the frying pan over medium-high heat, until brown outside but still undercooked in the inside. Add the glass of wine, turn on the heat over high and let it evaporate. In the meantime the meatballs will get cooked all the way through, it will take about 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of the meatballs, making sure they will not have undercooked pork while serving), turning carefully once or twice. While cooking, add fresh herbs and cover the frying pan with a lid. If the meatballs will dry out too much, add a little water at a time. Season with S&P and serve hot.
Side Dish: Zucchine romanesche trifolate (Sauteed Zucchini in Roman style) (serves 4)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Hot pepper flakes
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute garlic with extra virgin olive oil (remember to leave the skin on and do not burn the oil, just wait for garlic to get brown). Then add diced zucchini and allow them to cook and saute. In the end, add the flowers to finish your dish. Add a glass of water in case you will see that the sauce is too thick and dry. After the zucchini have cooked down for 5-10 minutes, they’ll look softer and release some water, add salt. You are able to add chili if you want (but not too much).
Blend strawberries to dip your lady fingers in and set aside (remember to add water so they won’t be too thick and enough smooth to dip lady fingers into it). To make the cream mixture you have to separate 4 egg yolks from the whites, and use an electric whisk to whip 4 eggs whites with 2 spoons of sugar until stiff but not dry. Then into another bowl you have to beat the 4 egg yolks and 2 other spoons of sugar until very thick and light in color. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, stir in 250 gr of mascarpone cheese (it’s an imported product in the States, so I’m using the Italian measurement so you will know how much to get!) until smooth. As soon as both of the cream are ready, you have to mix them from the bottom to the top with a spatula…in this way your egg whites will keep their consistency.
To assemble, dip half of the ladyfingers, one at a time, in the strawberry mixture (which is made from blended strawberries and lukewarm water) and line a long flat serving dish with them (if you want you can use a Martini cup for a nicer presentation of your dish). Add some slices of strawberries for a better texture and presentation of the dish, and then spoon a layer of the cream mixture over these. Add another layer of dipped ladyfingers and some strawberry slices, then spoon the remaining cream over the top. Cover the whole thing with a layer of blended strawberries with a little sugar added, then let it reduce over low heat and it will become caramelized, and leave it chilling in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.