[Sca-cooks] cooking from Martino

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Thu Oct 11 17:19:38 PDT 2007

Thank you for your responses!!
> > In period I believe they would often have used a fresh unaged cheese, similar to farmers cheese.  In the past dependent on the situation (home cooked/feast) I have used fresh mozzarells (home), fresh mozzarella plus ricotta (home) or shredded mozzarells plus ricotta (feast).

Hmmm, Mozzarella had not occurred to me, it has never struck me as
being particularly "fatty", but I can see how it would work. I had
steered away from ricotta because of it's being made from whey I
figured it isn't considered fatty. For this test (what is sure to be
one of many) I used Neufchatel cheese. Maybe I will try Mozzarella on
my next go round.

> It calls for "good chopped herbs", I used Parsley, Marjoram and Thyme
> - any thoughts, critiques etc...?
> > You may also want to add mint, it turns up a lot in other recipes from Italy, in fact the trifecta usually is Marjoram, mint and parsley with thyme turning up every so often.

I am really not a big mint fan, but perhaps if I am very careful with
it's use it will enhance the flavor and make it a little less
"familiar" the ones I made were very "normal" tasting.

> > pretty much every time I have seen ginger called for in Italian recipes it is calling for "powdered" or "ground".  It is always (to the best of my recollection) lumped with the other spices, pepper cloves etc. I find that powdered ginger incorporates more fully and gives a much better flavor than chunks of chopped ginger in the ravioli.

I used a microplane on the ginger to approximate pounding it in the
mortar & pestle (without all of the annoying pounding) so it
incorporated just fine - but then I was rethinking & second guessing.
With the info from you I think I will try ground ginger next time.

> > Capon is a bigger, meatier, tastier chicken, go ahead use ground chicken.  Question is does the recipe call for the chicken breast to be cooked and then pounded with the other ingredients.  From my recollection of chicken ravioli from other Italian sources this is usually the step that is taken.  In which case you really should be cooking it first and you may as well just buy whole bits of chicken it would be cheaper, if not then just ignore me.  Are there other fat sources added other than the cheese?  The one I have made with chicken stuffing from Scappi included bone marrow as an additional fat source.

What I have been finding with Martino is that he is not terribly
forthcoming in his instructions. They are not super specific. After he
gives the instructions for the cheese/herb version he says that it
would be even better with ground capon breast. Judging from the
previous times that I have made raviolis/potstickers I surmised that
the filling should be completely cooked before stuffing. So I
precooked the ground chicken by simmering it in a bullion stock,
removing it and then cooked the ravioli in the same stock. I will work
out the pricing and it may indeed be cheaper to buy the whole shebang
- and then I have the bonus of tasty chicken stock that will be needed
for the cooking.

There are two options of added fat, pork belly or veal teat. I went
with pork belly. It says to boil it until it comes apart easily. I
boiled it for about 30 min and then chopped it fine. Mixed everything
together and then put it in fresh lasagna sheets I bought from the
farmer's market. Everyone loved the taste, but I think that they could
be more distinctive.

Again, thank you for your time and responses. You have confirmed some
of my thoughts and sent me off in a couple of other directions. I will
keep you updated.

Glad Tidings,

Serena da Riva

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