Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Flat in the Pan!

Schiacce Rustiche con Trittato di Maiale, Semi di Finocchio & Ricotta Salata
Rustic "Schiacce" with Ground Pork, Fennel Seed & Salted Ricotta

You will know by now that both pizza-dough and puff-pastry on a roll are 2 things I always have in my fridge, without fail, for the case of an emergency, a sudden urge for something yummy- or simply because there are so many cool and wonderful things you can do with dough in a chilled state as opposed to warm and freshly made, fluffy and wonderful as that may be.

So with no apologies, and a broad smile, I will tell you the story of these fantastic little snacks... because this evening there was a little emergency of sorts- even though it was not one of my own...

These yummy, folded-over and filled with goodness little snacks fed both me and the damsel next door, who was in distress. My neighbor moved out today, he apartment was almost empty, the last bits and pieces packed and ready to be moved and the kitchen long-since dismantled. But when I got home from work, there she4 was, tired-out and miserably as she was starving, so she said, but could neither cook anything as she had no kitchen, nor could she leave to go get something as she was waiting for the movers to arrive.

So what could I do? I needed to eat anyway... so I decided to make something yummy and easy to just take from a tray and tuck into. And behold- I am guessing that if I were standing in front of you now with a tray full of these, you would almost certainly be helping yourselves and loving it too!


So, along with 1 roll of pizza dough, I also needed around 125g of ground pork, 2 Spring onions, parsley and thyme, fennel seeds and grated, salted Ricotta cheese. Now, considering that there was not even enough meat here to make even 2 very small burgers, as you can see, I got many more snacks and they were much tastier and more interesting than some carry-out burgers or even a pizza for that reason. Oh yes- I did a good thing! A very good thing indeed!

I have made various "schiacce" already on my blog, with different fillings and in different shapes. They all have one thing in common though and that is that they are stuffed dough pockets or rolls that are squashed down flat (hence the name- which is derived from the term "schiacciare", which means to squash).


To make them takes little effort at all- a little chopping is involved for the onions and the herbs, the salted ricotta needs to be grated... the oven needs to be turned on to pre-heat... but that's about it!

Unroll the dough, cut it in two to make it easier to handle, stretch it out a little to make it a bit thinner and then coat with the ground pork, mixed herbs, onion, fennel seed, grated ricotta and plenty of pepper but no salt on account of how the ricotta is salted and should bring enough seasoning of its own. We will add a little salt later on to the outside of the schiacce- so fear not, things will be perfect in the end!


I love the rustic pizzi and pastries down South- they all look different from one another and look so authentic and delicious. So, when you start folding over your dough- keep that in mind and stop fussing and trying to get things perfect- the rougher and readier, the better!


Roll the dough over twice and then cut it away from the rest and squash it down flat.


Then cut the roll in half, so that you have 2 hand-sized portions.


Fold over the ends first and then roll the side shut- but don't fuss too much over making them look tidy, indeed, leave some of the filling visible as it a.) looks prettier, b.) allows for the filling to get toasty and brown and delicious, rather than just the crust. And yes- squash them down a little!


You will know by now that I like to start baking my pies, pastries, pizzi and rolls on my stove top for 3-4 minutes, in a dry, non-stick pan- this allows a nice golden crust to form from below which will prevent any moisture from seeping though. 3-4 minutes will do in the pan and then you can finish them off for 5-10 minutes in your oven, on the top shelf, at the highest setting.


Once they begin to brown, brush the schiacce with olive oil and sprinkle them with coarse sea salt- then pop them back into the oven for a last couple of minutes... this will make the crust taste terrific!

So, yes, my neighbor was thrilled, so was I- and I am pretty confident that you will be too!

The fennel seed is what does it for me- it makes the ground pork taste like Sicilian-styled sausage and that can only be a good thing!


Hot or cold, these are going to be delicious... but as usual- I can not know for sure, because as usual we ate them all up in just a few minutes!!


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