Tag: grains

Pomegranate: the fruit with sparkling grains – Italian Cuisine


When closed, the pomegranate it almost looks like a small sculpture. When cut, then, it reveals red beans, sparkling, transparent, similar to precious stones, which make it a very special fruit. With numerous gifts, gastronomic and more.

An ancient auspicious tradition
The pomegranate is native to Persia and there is evidence of its cultivation since the most remote antiquity, also mentioned in the Song of Songs, the poetic biblical text dedicated to love. Pomegranates ripen in the Muslim Paradise and are blessed by Buddhists. As often happens with fruit rich in seeds, they are a symbol of fertility And wealth and, as such, good wishes. From these ancient traditions derives the one that wants the pomegranate present on the festive tables, especially on the occasion of new Year's Eve, to bring prosperity and luck in the year that is about to begin.

Where does it come from
Today, foreign productions mostly come from Spain, Turkey And Israel. Its increasing diffusion on our markets is due to the fact that, in recent years, it has also begun to be cultivated in ours center-south, in particular in Calabria and Sicily.

How it is made
The pomegranate is a fruit with a curious morphology. In fact … it is a false fruit! It is a kind of big one berry with an internal white membrane (called "cica") that divides it into segments. Each of the cloves contains i grains which, in turn, contain i sow. Skin and membrane make up about 40% of the whole pomegranate. Therefore, from an average weight pomegranate, around 300 g, about 180 g of grains are obtained. The taste is mildly sour, sweet without being cloying. Furthermore, the juice abundant content in the grains makes them particularly fresh e thirst quenchers. Finally, from a nutritional point of view, the pomegranate is rich – like all red fruits – in antioxidant substances that made it a superfood, decreeing its current success.

How it cleans up
Although the peel appears leathery, almost woody, to open the pomegranate a good knife is enough to cut it with in the middle or in wedges, and then detach the beans from the membrane with your fingers or a teaspoon. If you work in a bowl, you will recover all the juice that comes out during this operation.

How you squeeze
Juice, which has become very fashionable, can be obtained simply with one juicer, on which to pass the half fruits. They can also be used centrifuges or extractors, in which to work only the beans. The latter can also be done blend, but in this case the juice must be filtered through a fine sieve, to retain the skins and seeds.

In long drinks and cocktails
Brewed at home or bought ready, the juice can be the basis for many cocktails. After all, it is obtained from the pomegranate la grenadine, classic bright red syrup used both in mixing and in non-alcoholic drinks. It goes well with cocktails "Sour", i.e. acids, for example based on vodka or white rum, lime or lemon juice. It can be used to replace a part of the tonic in the Gin tonic or the cranberry juice of the Cosmopolitan. Mixed with Prosecco becomes a perfect holiday aperitif. Simply, you can pour a teaspoon of grains on the bottom of cups and flutes in which to serve it bubbly wine, to toast the New Year's and wish happiness and luck.

In the kitchen
In pastry shop, pomegranate juice can be used for sweet sauces and jellies but also in soft doughs, such as that of plumcakes and muffins, in the creams and in mousses. The very decorative beans can enrich fresh fruit toppings, for example in pies, and embellish simple fruit salads. But it is in the savory cuisine that this fruit gives unprecedented sensations. Try to combine a handful of grains, at the end of cooking, on a risotto parmigiana or, better still, radicchio, of which it softens the bitter notes. Use the juice for marinate fish and crustaceans, from salmon to prawns, and serve them decorating the plates with the shiny grains. Add them to chicken salads, capon or other poultry typical of the festive tables or spread them on carpaccio, on bresaola and parmesan, on carne salada. Make it a sauce for the roasts or join them to stuffed of birds and rollé. Combine them with Side Dishes of red cabbage and savoy cabbage, raw or lightly seared, to fennel, cauliflower or broccoli salads … Or try our recipes!

194464Risotto with red cabbage, apple and pomegranate. Peel 300 g of red cabbage and chop finely in a blender. Peel and clean a Golden apple, then cut it into cubes. Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan with 2 juniper berries and the apple. Deglaze with half a glass of Calvados, add salt and pepper, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain the apple and juniper from the cooking juices. Add a drizzle of oil, a small chopped onion and let it simmer. Add 320 g of Carnaroli rice, toast it, add the red cabbage (except for a spoon) and cook, gradually pouring in about a liter of boiling broth. Blend the apple and mix it in a small bowl with 50 g of sour cream. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in 40 g of grated parmesan and a knob of butter. Serve with apple quenelles, pomegranate seeds (40 g in total) and the raw cabbage kept aside. For 4 people.

194465Guinea fowl, clementine and pomegranate salad. Cut a pomegranate in half and squeeze the juice with a juicer. Brown a kilo of guinea fowl in pieces in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Add the wine, salt, pepper and continue cooking in a covered pot for about 35 minutes, adding the pomegranate juice but as the bottom dries. Turn off, let it cool, remove the skin from the guinea fowl and fray the pulp. Peel 4 clementines and cut them into slices. Arrange 160 g of salad, slices of clementines and guinea fowl pulp in a serving dish. Shell another half pomegranate and sprinkle the grains on the salad. Add 40 g of chopped walnut kernels and season with oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. For 6 people.

194466Fennel, oranges and pomegranate. Peel 3 oranges and cut the wedges sharp, collecting all the juice. Clean and julienne 4 tender white celery ribs. Peel and thinly slice 2 fennel. Emulsify in a small bowl a tablespoon of the orange juice with a tablespoon of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables and orange wedges on a plate and season with the prepared sauce. Complete with 200 g of crescenza reduced to flakes, a handful of chopped walnut kernels and the grains of half a pomegranate. For 4 people.

194467Panettone with citrus and pomegranate. Julienne the peel of an orange, a pink grapefruit and a lemon. Blanch them for a minute in boiling water and drain. Pour 100 g of sugar and 1 dl of water into a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the peel and cook for 5-6 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken. Turn off and let cool. In a saucepan, mix 4 dl of fresh orange juice, 3 dl of fresh pink grapefruit juice and 3 dl of pomegranate juice with 80 g of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the juice by a third, add 3 g of agar agar and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Let it cool and add 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur. Cut 200 g of panettone into cubes and toast them under the oven grill. Let them cool and divide them into 8 cups. Pour over the citrus reduction and let it cool in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Garnish with the candied peel and the grains of half a pomegranate. For 8 people.

December 2021

Francesca's tortelli: from (ancient) grains to the table – Italian Cuisine

Francesca's tortelli: from (ancient) grains to the table

Everything as in the past: products and production. And with a real and human contact between producer and consumer. Here's how, where and when it happens

Francesca is a special person. And things also do of the same pasta, such as bread, cakes and, of course, as a good valance, tortelli. However, what differentiates her products from many others is the starting raw material: all ancient grains that she herself has researched and recovered and that she cultivates today on the morainic hills, to then grind them in stone in a nearby mill and thus give life to her creations.

The Brado company and the Strie

Francesca was born and raised in Volta Mantovana, on the morainic hills of the Lower Garda, in that marvelous territory between the Po Valley and the province of Mantua in the south and Lake Garda and the provinces of Brescia and Verona in the north. It is a large amphitheater that originates from the rocky debris transported by the Garda glacier about two million years ago. And in this ancient land Francesca saw us the right place to grow old grains. It all started after years of experience in a fresh pasta laboratory, Peasant pantry, when it becomes fundamental for her to make a product that first of all makes her feel good, therefore made with safe ingredients, grown by her, starting from wheat. So he realizes what was his great dream: he goes in search of ancient seeds such as Senatore Cappelli, Gentil Rosso, Rye, Saraceno (the one that makes it even more painful) and even of native Mantuan pumpkins. But Francesca, perhaps, would not have done all this if her medical son had not been by her side, who made a great contribution above all on the nutritional aspects of the grains, which were those that were so dear to her heart. And so, among not a few initial difficulties, they started producing everything with their grains. «It was not easy, above all to find the best courses and wait. But we were sure of one thing: modern wheat harms people and the environment .
With this in mind, the company was born Brado and the Striae with a really production from the field to the table, also because the grains, once collected, are brought directly to the mill of Rovigo, where Cristina and her son Luca still grind them in stone, just as they once did. Today Francesca is no longer alone, many are working with her, but above all to believe in her project, such as Mara, also a travel companion. "In September the company turns six and I'm happy to have fought when everyone told me I was crazy."

Chisulin, Mantuan tortelli and sbrisolona

Many of the products of the Brado e le Strie company are present both with 100% wholemeal spelled flour and with a percentage of soft wheat, always organic and cultivated by them, such as byzantium. This, Francesca explains, to get used to customers who are not yet all ready for such a "dark" product, especially for traditional ones, such as the Mantuan tortelli. In fact, Francesca prepares them in both versions, but always with the same classic filling: pumpkin (also grown by her), amaretti, mustard, parmesan and nutmeg. And so are the other tortelli: from ricotta and spinach and braised ones, to ravioli with St. Peter's herbs, a wild herb that gathers around there. Together he also prepares sauces to season them, such as duck ragout; in short, just like at home, also because the flavors are just those. Another strong point is the bread, both the naturally leavened loaf that lasts for days; and Chisulil, a yeast-free bread, typical of the Mantuan tradition, which also lasts up to ten days. Then there are other products, always all with their grains, such as fresh pasta such as lasagna, gnocchi, bigoli, capunsei, maccheroncini, tagliatelle; or breadsticks, pizzas and focaccias; or even sweets such as pies, cakes, brioches and, of course, the sbrisolona, ​​widespread throughout Lombardy, but originally from Mantua.

At the market and the delivery van

Francesca's products are mainly found on the market, which for her is the place par excellence where she loves to sell. "There is still that direct and human relationship on the market, which also allows me to tell what is behind a tortello or a piece of bread; then we also meet with the others, it is truly a meeting place, one of the few left . This is why it makes a lot of it, as much as it can, together with its collaborators, from Verona to Milan, at least one for each day of the week: Tuesdays in Desenzano del Garda and Mantua; Wednesday in Viadana and Asola; Thursday in Milan, Desenzano and Legnago; Friday in Suzzara; Saturday again in Mantua and Milan; and Sunday in Porto Mantovano, San Giovanni Lupatoto and in Milan, in that marvelous farmer's market inside the popular houses in via Solari 40. In short, it is impossible not to have the pleasure of meeting her at least once.
Alternatively, there is also an online shop, which was already in the pipeline before the lockdown, where you can buy everything at home, in the provinces of Milan and Mantua. And do you know what is the beauty? That she comes directly to your home with her van. And as Francesca says: «When Brado arrives, the Striae are happy! Because what we do for you, we eat it too! .

Recipe Risotto with grains, first salt and pomegranate – Italian Cuisine

Recipe Risotto with grains, first salt and pomegranate

  • 800 g vegetable broth
  • 320 g Carnaroli rice
  • 50 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 40 g onion
  • 40 g chopped almonds
  • White wine
  • pomegranate seeds
  • first salt cheese

To prepare the risotto with grains, first salt and pomegranate, finely chop the onion and let it dry in oil in a saucepan for 2 '. Pour the rice and toast it for a minute. Then wet with 200 g of wine, let it evaporate and continue cooking pouring ladles of boiling broth as they are absorbed. When cooked, after about 18 ', stir in 60 g of diced salt cheese and complete with 80 g of pomegranate grains and the chopped almonds lightly toasted in a non-stick pan.

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