For the strangolapretti
150g spinach puree (from 300g raw spinach)
400g 00 pasta flour
250g white bread (approx. 6 slices – use stale bread if you have)
30g grated parmesan
Salt – black pepper – nutmeg
1 whole egg
For the ricotta
5g distilled white vinegar
To bring the dish together
25 peeled baby onion
50g chopped toasted hazelnuts
Fresh homemade ricotta
Two staple ingredients in every British household is bread and milk. We use our focaccia bread that is left over from the previous day’s service for this recipe and find it is the perfect way to use up ingredients that are otherwise for the bin. In fact, this dish originates for this particular purpose and we have taken inspiration from Trentino Alto Adige region for our dish. We make our own homemade ricotta at St James. It is simple and easy to make. You can substitute for store bought ricotta if you don’t have the time, but making it is a great way to use up excess milk left over in the fridge as well as being very rewarding!
We love this dish not only because it also allows you the flexibility to swap and change out ingredients to what you have in the store cupboard but also all the produce is from locally sourced British farmers – Don’t be scared to substitute wild garlic for rocket or watercress and hazelnuts for pine nuts.
For the strangolapretti, slice the bread into 1cm slices, keeping the crusts and evenly pour the milk over and allow to fully absorb. Blanch the spinach in salted water, squeeze out the excess water, blend and chill over ice.
In a food mixer add the soggy bread, the spinach puree, and the egg to create a smooth paste. Add the parmesan and the flour slowly until and dough forms, if it is still too wet and sticky, add more flour. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow the dough to rest and chill fully. Roll long sausages on a floured surface and cut into small 2cm pillow shapes.
For the ricotta, heat the milk to 85C. Add the vinegar and allow the milk to split completely. Strain the curds from the liquid with a muslin cloth. Chill and season the ricotta with salt and good quality extra virgin olive oil.
To bring the dish together, slowly sauté baby onions in a knob of butter until golden and soft. Blanch the strangolapretti in salted water. Once they rise to the surface, continue to cook for 30 seconds and then remove into the pan with the onions, add a little of the blanching water to create an emulsion.
Add a few chopped leaves of wild garlic and allow them to wilt (substitute with rocket or watercress if you can’t find wild garlic). Add a small handful of chopped toasted hazelnuts and check the seasoning of the dish. Transfers into a warm bowl and garnish with a few spoons of homemade ricotta on top.