Dinner – Fagotto di Zucchine
Earlier in September, Zucchine were in season. Both my wife and I love Zucchine so we purchased several pounds. In Italy, from June through September, we would have Zucchine about 5 times a week. There are numerous ways to cook Zucchine. They can be boiled, steamed, fried, breaded and fried, sautéed, placed on pizza, mixed with tomato and onion, placed under vinegar or oil and preserved for the next couple of years. The flower of the Zucchine is great breaded and fried. Italians also make an antipasto with the flowers. You take an anchovy, roll it in mozzarella di bufola, place it in the center of the flower, make a batter dip everything in the batter and fry to like golden brown.
We like Zucchine. Raffaella had frozen a couple of packs of Zucchine after we had prepared our first round of dishes. Monday she asked me to make her something with Zucchine, she was working late again last night so I decided to surprise her.
I made some modifications to the original preparation. I say preparation because I do not think there is a recipe for this anywhere. Every family has there own way of preparing Zucchine and I picked up a little here and there. My original plate was designed as a more elegant way to prepare zucchini in order to get my kids to like them. The plate had to be light, yet flavorful.
Since dinner was at 9:45 pm, a heavy meal would be a problem yet, just zucchini would not be sufficient calories to satisfy us so I added a few things and it turned out pretty well.
1 lbs of sliced zucchini (if you buy them frozen allow them to thaw completely and pour out the water that will form).
3 thick cut slices of your favorite bacon. Actually this would be pancetta if you can find the whole piece of pancetta here and then slice with a knife.
8 oz. Diced tomatoes (if you have them fresh great if not canned, uncooked, unseasoned).
½ pound of Pepper Jack Cheese (shredded). Actually this would be mozzarella for pizza and 3 or 4 peperoncini would be added to when the tomatoes are added to the bacon.
Pasta Sfoglia type II or Pasta Brise’
Pasta Sfoglia II or Pasta Brise’
2 cups unbleached sifted flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup butter cut into ½ inch pieces
about 5 tbls water
Method: measure the ingredients. Place the flour & salt in a metal mixing bowl. Place everything, including the mixing bowl, in the freezer for about 10 minutes. With a fork or pastry tool cut the butter into the flour very quickly. It will seem that the flour and butter remain separated but in about 2 minutes you will see small, spring pea sized balls of butter form. Replace the mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take out and sprinkle the water into the flour mixture as you turn the flour with a fork.
Now the mixture will be very similar to a southern biscuit consistency at this time. With your hands, you need the body heat, knead the dough until it just comes together. Divide the pieces in two parts and roll into two round sections for a 9” pie dish. Place on wax paper and into the fridge.
Note: if you are thinking about buying the dough from the store, don’t. just make the filling and serve it with some Italian bread.
For the filling:
Cut the bacon into small pieces and place into a large skillet on medium heat. Remember, if you are using pizza mozzarella instead of Pepper Jack add 3-4 crushed pepperoncino with the bacon. Prepare the diced tomatoes or open the can. Once the bacon is slightly brown, not dark, add the tomatoes. Add about two palms of salt, that is where you put salt in the palm of your hand and barely cover it. It turns out to be about ¾ of a teaspoon each palm. Using a coarse grind add about 10 turns of pepper. You want the coarse grind because you want the slice of peppercorn to give a subtle kick every once in awhile.
Cook away 90% of the water from the tomatoes.
Add the Zucchine. Salt again 2 palms and using a fine grind add more pepper. You can taste at this point for seasoning.
Cook the Zucchine for no more than 10 minutes. You want a relatively dry mixture but at no cost more than 10 minutes for the Zucchine. Let cool about 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 F. Place one sheet of Pasta Sfoglia II in a 9” pie pan. Fill with the mixture in the skillet. Directly on top of the Zucchine fill add the entire amount of cheese. Brush the top sides of the pasta with water. Place the second sheet of pasta on top and close tight with thumb and finger pressure.
Cut long slices in the top dough to allow steam to escape and you can brush with an egg wash. I use milk instead of the egg wash, it is easier, and for me has the same result.
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool, at least 10 minutes, before serving.
Raffaella loved it! I thought it was pretty good. If you try it let me know your thoughts.
Note1: In Italy I would roll this into a log and close the ends. Place it on a baking sheet and cook it like a strudel. The pie pan is easier.
Note 2: If you are a GARLIC fan, add two cloves of cleaned garlic when you put the bacon in the skillet. Leave them until you finish everything. Please, be Italian, take them out before you put the dish together. If you leave them in the poor unsuspecting fool who eats them will not be able to taste anything else for the rest of the week!
Tags: Zucchine Brise Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy