Mediterranean Moments

Spring is just around the corner. I can feel it in the warmth of the sun; see it in the melting snow; hear it in the raucous calls of crows. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, we get eight inches of the white stuff! I know in my heart that spring is almost here, but this snowy reminder tells me that it’s a few weeks off yet. My mind wanders to warmer climes; sun drenched beaches; azure blues seas and I think of the Mediterranean. That’s the only excuse I can come up with in regard to this string of Mediterranean inspired dishes I’ve been cooking. It must be my own version of cabin fever!

I will admit that a big motivation has been learning how to make pasta. It’s amazingly simple and so much fun. I can make enough pasta for several meals in less than an hour, plus 30 minutes for resting the dough. The tricky part was having a suitable place to hang the pasta after making it. I just didn’t have a good space to let it hang and dry before I cooked it. My ingenious husband came up with the perfect solution. He bought a very inexpensive shoe rack. It’s now dedicated exclusively to drying pasta. The great part about it is that it can be taken apart easily and stored in its box.

Now, I’m able to cook all sorts of Mediterranean style dishes. I have recently made a lasagne, mini cannelloni, and spaghetti Bolognaise. I really wanted to tackle something that’s an old favourite of mine. I haven’t had it in decades. So finally, I decided to give it a try. The results were such a treat!

This recipe is time consuming and labour intensive, but so worth the effort! From beginning to end it takes about 2 hours. I suggest you make your pasta dough first. While the pasta dough is resting, make your sauce. While the sauce is simmering, press and cut the pasta and set it to dry. Then you can prepare and brown the veal cutlets. Next, assemble the Veal Parmesan and bake it in the oven. While the Veal Parmesan is baking you can cook your pasta. The final step is to assemble your dish and serve it. You won’t be disappointed!

Pasta

1 cup teff flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup quinoa flour
2 Tbsp xanthan gum

Mix the flour blend well and divide it into 2 parts: 1 cup reserved for making the actual pasta and 2 cups for the dough.

For the dough, combine:

2 cups of the flour mixture
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon saltF

Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle for 1-2 minutes on a low speed. Next, switch to the dough hook and kneaded the dough for 5 minutes on a low speed. Scrape down the sides from time to time and add more flour from the reserved cup, by the spoonful, until a good consistency is achieved – about 3 or 4 spoonfuls. (There was still most of a cup of flour left.)

Dust the counter top with some of the flour mixture and turn the dough out onto the counter. Using some of the extra flour, hand kneaded the dough until it is dry enough to work easily, but not so dry that it cracks or crumbles.

Dust the ball of dough with flour and wrap it in plastic wrap. Set it in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.

Add the pasta attachment to the stand mixer and prepare the counter to take the dough. Set up an area to dry the pasta after it is made.

When the dough had rested, divide it into three portions. Flatten the portions with your hands and then feed it through the pasta rollers. It`s important to dust the dough between rollings. It will take several runs through the rollers at the lowest setting to get a nice texture to the dough. Then gradually increase the settings making the dough thinner each time. When you have reached the desired thickness (about level 5), the pasta sheets are ready to cut. Change the roller attachment to the linguini cutter attachment. Feed the sheets of pasta through the cutter. Place the linguini strand on a drying rack. I suggest doing one ball at a time. Keep the other balls wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

To cook the dried pasta, bring a large pot of water to the boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add a bit of salt and olive oil to the pot. Add the pasta to the pot and allow it to return to the boil. Cook the linguini for about 8 minutes. When it was al dente, dump it into a strainer to get rid of the water. After several shakes, put it back in the pot. Add a bit of olive oil and toss it lightly.

Sauce

6 cups of tomato sauce (2 – 680 ml cans)
¾ cup tomato paste (1 156 ml can)
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried marjoram
¼ cup red wine (optional)
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Sauté the chopped onions in the olive oil, in a large pot, for 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Reserve the mushrooms. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for an hour. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the mushrooms. Remove the bay leaves when the sauce is finished.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Veal Cutlets

1 cup of gluten free flour (use what’s left over from the pasta making)
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs mixed with…
2 tsp mixed Italian dried herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram, onion powder)
Salt and pepper
1 egg well beaten mixed with…
¼ milk or lactose free yoghurt
4 veal cutlets
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil

Pat the veal cutlets dry with a paper towel. Place the remaining ingredients in 3 shallow dishes: 1 with the egg and yoghurt/milk mixture, 1 with the flour mixture, 1 with the herbed, spiced bread crumbs. Dip each cutlet into the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour. Dip the floured cutlet into the egg mixture. Finally, dredge the cutlet in the bread crumbs until well coated.

When all 4 cutlets have been prepared, brown them over medium heat in a frying pan in the oil and butter for 2 minutes per side. Set on paper towel on a plate.

Veal Parmesan

1 – 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
4 browned veal cutlets
Cooked tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350F. Use a large deep rectangular baking dish. Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a layer of pasta sauce. Place the veal cutlets on top of the sauce.

Cover the cutlets with another layer of sauce. Spread the cheeses on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes, brown the top under the broiler.

To serve, place some linguini on the plate. Spoon some sauce over the pasta and place a veal cutlet on top. Serve with a side salad.

This recipe makes 4 large portions.

Bon Appétit!

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