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Polpette al Sugo (Meatballs in Tomato Sauce)

  Polpette al sugo is a favourite from way back, a frugal way of feeding the family.  They were always prepared and cooked in sugo (tomato sauce) for Sunday family meals.  During winter, a few freshly homemade sausages would also be added to the sauce for that extra flavour.  The sauce would be served on home made ferretti or tagliatelle , as 'il primo piatto' (first course), and le polpette eaten for secondo with a green salad on the side.  We always made sure that a few would be left for the following days school lunches. Everyone has a favourite meatball recipe, whether handed down from their nonna or mamma ; or discovered in someone's cookbook that they continue to make and swear by.  Mamma likes to add cooked potato to the mix, rendering them moist.  Some like to add ricotta, while I have added grated carrot to these and have done so since my girls were little.  It was a sneaky way of hiding a vegetable they weren't very keen on. Most would agree that they m

Quince & Vino Cotto - A Match Made In Heaven

Quince season and a need to highlight an old recipe post from 2014.  This fruit marries well with vino cotto (cooked must), a preserved liquid that over time has become more popular in household cooking and recipes.
Both of these ingredients have varied uses, ranging from culinary to medicinal purposes; but this is another topic which I will write about at some later stage.  The combination of the two used in making jam is what I will focus on here, and what a perfect match nature has provided!

La cotognata according to my father and the way his mother would make it, involved using vino cotto.  During wine season le cotogne  (quinces) would also be ripening on their trees, picked and used in a range of dishes.  My nonna would poach pieces of quince in the vino cotto, adding flavour as well as sweetening the fruit. 
In ancient times quince would also be cooked with honey for the same result.This recipe follows the process of making quince jam with the addition of vino cotto  at the end of the cooking process.  All required is to follow my Quince jam recipe and just add a cup of vino cotto to the final cooking stage according to the specified quantity of pulp.  The quince jam acquires another level of flavour which is very moorish!

This will definitely be the hero of any sweet dish, so I decided to make some tartlets.  

Quince & Vin Cotto Almond Tartelettes


2 cups plain flour
100g almond meal
1/3 cup caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg
quince & vino cotto jam

Preheat oven to 190c.  Process flour, almond meal, sugar and butter in a food processor. Add egg and process in bursts until mixture forms a ball.  Transfer to a lightly floured bench and knead lightly until smooth. Wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Divide pastry into 12 even portions.  Roll out each on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and 8cm in diameter.  Place individual circles on a shallow cup cake tin, lightly pushing them in place.   

Dollop a teaspoon full of quince jam in the center and bring the edges slightly in.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden. 

Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!


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