Whenever I get back from Italy, I drop my heavy luggage near the fridge. Inside there is always almost just food and oh.. a few cookery magazines too! I bring my favourite pasta, salami, artichokes, radicchio, Montasio cheese, San Daniele ham and ALWAYS my beloved, essential Parmesan cheese. At least 3 Kg each time.
Years ago, before the liquid restrictions were enforced at most airports, I was stopped by security for a routine check: I felt like a post war emigrant: when they opened my luggage inside there were huge ripe tomatoes (from granny) to make passata, about 3 Kg of honey from my grandfather (and his honey was amazing!), packets of pasta scattered everywhere, a couple of salami, ham and a fresh (but gutted!) chicken ready for the pot (home reared of course!). On top of that I was carrying by hand 6 bottles of my uncle's homemade wine. The security guards looked at each other and just said: "Just a normal Italian luggage". I didn't know luggage could be labelled according to nationality, did you?
In any case I was pleased they did not object to anything I was carrying and I did not have to be separated from my beloved "edible treasure"!
And talking about Parmesan I am eager to show you what I made yesterday: these cute and tasty Parmesan nests are ready in minutes. If you don't have Parmesan you can make them using any hard cheese you like (Pecorino would be great too). The more mature the cheese the better.
These would be suitable as a starter at a dinner party. You can put anything you like inside: prosciutto, salad, tomatoes, or even rice or pasta!
You can check my video too!
- Prep Time : 2 minutes
- Cook Time : 2 minutes
Cut a square (about 12 x 12 cm) out of a sheet of baking paper
Put it on the pan and sprinkle 2 tbsp of grated Parmesan over it forming a circle. Level the cheese well with the spoon
Switch the heat on and cook the cheese over a gentle heat. Let it melt and cover any "holes" with some extra Parmesan. Now quickly pick the paper up and turn it upside down over an upside down glass. Press the paper well with your hands so that the cheese will take the shape of the glass
Remove the paper and let the cheese harden for a couple of minutes
Now gently remove the cheese from the glass and you have your basket ready to fill according to your taste. If it still feels very soft put it in the fridge to harden for a few minutes
You can fill your baskets with little mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes and lambs lettuce or rocket leafs.
Or you can roll some ham or bresaola and make little roses.