Tag: torta al testo

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpette with Torta al Testo

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

I decided to fly to London for one day to meet a girl for a kitchen feature whose work I’ve been following for quite a while: Claire Ptak of the acclaimed Violet bakery. But then I started thinking about all the other inspiring people I know who also live there, so I felt tempted to meet a few more people for even more meet in your kitchen features. In the end, I met 1 baker from California, 2 kitchen chefs at the Brown’s Hotel, 1 Vogue journalist, 2 bloggers, a friend from the fashion industry plus my publisher’s team in London – all in 3 days. Now I’m back home, a little tired, but with fantastic, new kitchen features in my pocket and I can’t wait to share them with you over the next few weeks.

There was a lot to organize before my departure to make my tight schedule work, so I couldn’t spend much time on cooking, which my boyfriend happily used to take over our kitchen for a few days. One of his delicious and experimental creations was cumin polpette in a fruity tomato sauce. He used mashed kidney beans for the beef mixture, instead of the usual breadcrumbs and eggs, and kept some of the purple beans whole for the sauce. The texture of the floury legumes is perfect to loosen up the minced meat, the result is simply delicious. It was so good that we had it twice in a week, the second time with torta al testo on the side, Umbrian flatbread cooked in a cast iron pan, to stuff with the juicy cumin bean polpette and the aromatic red sauce.

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

 

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpette with Torta al Testo

You can find my torta al testo recipe here or you can serve the polpette with any other flatbread or ciabatta. If you want to make your own torta al testo, mind that the yeast dough has to rise twice. Once it’s well risen, the bread only needs to cook for about 3 minutes in a hot pan.

Serves 2

minced beef 400g / 14 ounces
kidney beans (tinned), rinsed and drained, 250g / 9 ounces
medium red onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 2 large cloves
medium fresh red chili, cut into tiny cubes, 1
fresh coriander leaves 2 large handfuls
ground cumin
fine sea salt
ground pepper
olive oil
tomatoes (tinned), 400g / 14 ounces
pinch of sugar

Using your hands or the dough hooks of an electric mixer, mix the minced meat with a handful of the beans (squeezed until mushy), 3/4 of the onion, garlic, 1/4 of the chili, a large handful of coriander leaves (not chopped), 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and a generous amount of ground pepper in a large bowl until well combined. Wet your hands and form 4cm / 1 1/2″ meatballs, transfer the polpette to a plate.

Chop a small handful of the remaining coriander leaves and set a few whole leaves for the topping aside.

Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a large, heavy pan and cook the polpette with the remaining onions on medium-high heat for a few minutes until just light brown on all sides. Take out the meatballs and add the remaining beans (whole) to the hot pan, cook for 1 minute on high heat, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, sugar, salt, pepper and 1/4 of the chili. Chop the tomatoes finely and transfer the polpette back to the pan. Stir gently, close with a lid and simmer for about 3 minutes on medium-low heat.

Season the sauce to taste and sprinkle with the remaining coriander leaves and chili. Serve the meatballs with torta al testo (or flatbread) on the side or inside the bread.

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

 

Kidney Bean, Cumin, and Beef Polpetti with Torta al Testo

 

kidneybeancuminpolpettitortaaltesto7

 

kidneybeancuminpolpettitortaaltesto10

Umbrian Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

Torta al Testo

This week’s sandwich is my version of Torta al Testo – the Umbrian flatbread – stuffed with rucola and mozzarella together with a dressing of olive oil and balsamico. Originally, this bread is unleavened, just made with flour, salt and water. I add some dry yeast, some use baking soda or sourdough. The name Torta al Testo comes from the fact that, traditionally, it is cooked on a hot disc of clay or metal – al testo – over the open fire, as I don’t have that I use a skillet on a normal cooker.

Torta al Testo has everything a good sandwich needs: amazing bread and a tasty filling. What I also like about it, is the way it’s cooked. It’s fun to see the flat disc of dough rising and cooking in the hot pan within a couple minutes. It’s very entertaining! I recently had friends over for dinner and Torta al Testo was the starter. We gathered in the kitchen, crowded as always, I cooked the bread and we all watched it rise. The kitchen was packed with people and food, I cooked one batch of flatbread after the other (I had to make quite a few of them) and the room got more and more smokey from the hot pan. Thankfully no one left, even though you could barely see anymore after I had left one in too long. We were all kind of mesmerized by the rising bread but don’t worry, if you watch your bread it will be fine, no need for a fire alarm!

Torta al Testo

Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

For 6 Torta al Testo you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces plus more for mixing
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other flour)
dry yeast 1 1/2 teaspoons
water, lukewarm, 140ml
salt 1/4 teaspoon
for the filling:
mozzarella, cut into cubes, 125g / 4.5 ounces
rucola around 100g / 3.5 ounces
olive oil (6 tablespoons) mixed with balsamico vinegar (3 tablespoons) and seasoned with salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the dough with the hooks of your mixer. Add some more flour if the mixture is too sticky. After 5 minutes continue mixing with your hands for a couple minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place or the warm oven (35°C / 95°F, top/ bottom heat, no fan) for 40 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a well floured working surface, roll each one out into a flat disc. Leave the discs on the floured  surface, cover with a tea towel and let them rise for another 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet on highest temperature (no oil!). Cook the bread on one side for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, turn and cook on the other side for another minute, at that point it will start to rise rapidly. You might have to cook it for a few seconds more or less – but keep an eye on it so as not to burn it.

Take the bread out and let it cool for a minute. Cut your flatbread in half and fill with the mozzarella and rucola. Drizzle some dressing on top and close your Torta al Testo.

Torta al Testo

 

Torta al Testo