To celebrate their new Italian made ceramics collection for Habitat, supper club duo Jackson & Levine have pulled together the most mouth-wateringly tasty Puglian-inspired menu to enjoy alongside their serveware.
BROAD BEAN DIP WITH CHARRED OCTOPUS AND BRAISED CHICORY
The beans and chicory is our spin on the very popular and traditional Fave e Cicoria dish – it is made all over Puglia and varies from town to town and even family kitchen to family kitchen. The addition of octopus is such a crowd pleaser.
For the charred octopus:
- 1.75-2 kg octopus (whole, frozen)
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp peppercorns
- Handful of parsley stalks
- 4 litres of cold water
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the broad bean dip:
- 400g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 175g maris piper potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 40g parmesan, finely grated
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the braised chicory:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 20g unsalted butter
- 300g chicory, like puntarelle (you can use long leaf spinach or any form of bitter leaf), long stems chopped into 10cm lengths; wide leaves shredded
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 150ml vegetable stock
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 red chillis, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 50g reserved broad beans
- Flat leaf parsley leaves
- Buying a frozen octopus is a great way of cutting down on the time it takes to prepare them as the freezing does the tenderising for you. Just defrost slowly in the fridge the day before you want to cook and eat.
- Once the octopus is defrosted, place it into a large stockpot along with the chopped celery, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley stalks. Cover with the cold water (use more if you need to) and add the red wine vinegar. Place the pot onto a medium heat. Slowly bring it up to simmering point and then cook for around an hour to an hour and a quarter, until tender. It’s done when a skewer inserted into the thick part of a tentacle slides in and out with ease. At that point, lift the octopus out of the water and place in a colander. Run under a gentle stream of cold water over it to stop it cooking further. Once cool to the touch, place it on a chopping board and carefully remove each of the tentacles and discarding the head. Keep to one side until you’re ready for the next step.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt. Add the broad beans and cook for 3 minutes (4 if frozen). Drain and rinse under cold water. Then, gently slide the bright green beans out of their tough, bitter outer skins.
- Take a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and place over a medium heat. Add the potato and onion and gently cook for five minutes, stirring often so that nothing takes on any colour.
- Add the vegetable stock and broad beans and cook on a low heat for another 20-25 minutes, you want the vegetable stock to have largely evaporated or absorbed into the potato. The beans and potato will be so soft and tender that you can break them down with the back of your spoon.
- When this has happened remove from the heat and tip everything into a food processor. Add the parmesan and extra virgin olive oil, along with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pulse until you have a silky smooth dip.
- Take a frying pan, add the olive oil and butter over a high heat. When the butter has melted, and started to foam, add the chicory to the pan and fry gently for 4 minutes. Once some leaves start to take on a little golden colour, add the grated garlic. Cook for another minute until it becomes fragrant and then add the vegetable stock. Cook the chicory leaves for another 6-7 minutes until the stalks are tender.
- While the chicory is braising, heat a griddle pan on a high heat to finish the octopus. Drizzle over the olive oil and add some salt and pepper. Toss the tentacles to coat them in the oil and then pop them onto the griddle. Cook without turning for 2 minutes on each side to char the tentacles. Once done, remove from the pan.
- All that’s left to do is serve. Transfer the broad bean dip to your serving plate, pressing it out with the back of a spoon to make a shallow well in the middle. Add the braised chicory leaves and top with the charred octopus. Drizzle over a glug of extra virgin olive oil, scatter the chilli slices and a few little parsley leaves.
ORECCHIETTE, PEAS AND RICOTTA, GARLIC, CHILLI, LEMON, PANGRATTATO AND PARMESAN
This pasta originated in Puglia and is nicknamed ‘small ears’ because of the pinched shape of the little discs. It was already a favourite but we had the most incredible orecchiette on our lunch break whilst in Grottaglie on one of our Fasano factory visits. Perfectly al dente, it really doesn’t need much to show it off – here we have dressed it with simple fresh flavours and the panagrattato adds incredible texture.
For the orecchiette dough:
- 300g pasta ‘00’ flour
- 265g semolina flour
- 265ml water
Alternatively, you could use:
- 600g fresh bought orecchiette (cook to packet instructions)
- 420g dried orecchiette (cook to packet instructions)
For the sauce:
- 375g peas (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red chillis, finely chopped (seeds removed if you want less heat)
- 400g ricotta
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 4-6 tbsp cooking water
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pangrattato:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 175g sourdough breadcrumbs (stale is best but fresh will work too)
- 1 tbsp chilli flakes
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated
- 10g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Making your own pasta is fun and really satisfying so this is a failsafe recipe for making orecchiette. If not, because we don’t always have the luxury of time to make things from scratch, fresh or dried will do just as well.
- Weigh out the flours into a mixing bowl and use a whisk to mix them. Tip the flours out onto your (clean) work surface and use your fingers to make a circle, with a hole in the middle. Add a few tablespoons of water into the hole and use the fingers on one hand to start to mix a little of the flour into it so you have a rough paste. Add a little more water and again stir your fingers round and round pulling in more of the flour. Repeat this until you have incorporated all the flour and you have a fairly dense, dry-ish dough. It shouldn’t be soft or sticky, so don’t feel you must add all the water. If it has gone a little sticky, add a little more flour.
- Knead the dough for around 7-10 minutes until it becomes very smooth. If it is at all crumbly, run your fingers under the tap and keep kneading to incorporate a little more water. Once you have a smooth dough, wrap it in cling film and rest it in the fridge for half an hour.
- Prepare two baking sheets by sprinkling a little semolina flour over them and keep them next to you. To shape and make the orecchiette, unwrap the dough and cut off a sixth; re-cover the larger part to stop it drying out. Take the piece of dough and roll it into a long thin sausage about 1cm in diameter. Use a very sharp knife to cut it every 4-5mm. Try and be as even as you can so your orecchiette is a consistent size.
- Have a little pile of semolina flour to one side. Take a piece of dough, check it’s still somewhat round, dip your thumb into the semolina then use it to press down into the middle of the dough. Roll your thumb very slightly from side to side so you make a hollow, with thicker edges. Orecchiette are ‘little ears’ in Italian, so you are looking to make a shape that can hold all the lovely sauce once you cook it. Transfer these ‘little ears’ to the semolina covered baking sheets as you do them, leaving a little space in-between so they don’t stick. Repeat for all the dough – you will get quicker after the first few! Then keep to one side.
- Next, make the pangrattato. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the breadcrumbs. Stir and turn and shake them around so they all get some oil and heat. Cook for around 5 minutes until they are a lovely golden brown all over. Add the chilli flakes and grated garlic. Cook for another minute until the garlic is aromatic and the breadcrumbs are beautiful and crunchy and golden brown. Turn off the heat, add the parsley and stir through.
- Bring a large pan of water up to the boil with a pinch of salt and add the peas. Cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender – you should be able to squeeze one easily. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the peas out and keep the water boiling. Divide the peas in two and keep half to one side. Take the other half and use a potato masher to crush them into a rough paste.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a low heat and add the chilli. Cook for thirty seconds until they start releasing their oils. Turn the heat right down and add the ricotta. Scoop 4 tablespoons of the pea cooking water into the ricotta and stir well to loosen the sauce. Add the crushed peas, whole peas, lemon zest and as much of the lemon juice as you like (try starting with the juice of one lemon and add to taste), along with a little salt and lots of pepper.
- Gently drop in the orecchiette into the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. Orecchiette are a slightly more robust pasta than traditional egg pasta, so do make sure that the thicker edges are cooked through by trying one before you remove them all. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them straight into the ricotta and pea sauce. Stir gently to coat all the pasta then remove from the heat. Use a little more of the cooking water to thin the sauce if needed.
- Divide between six bowls or transfer to a large serving plate. Liberally cover everything in the crispy pangrattato, followed by a good grating of parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
FIG TART WITH PISTACHIO CREAM
Early figs, known as “fioroni”, are a Puglian delicacy – larger and juicier than later-season figs they are a real treat. The cream here is inspired by the outrageously addictive filling in the breakfasts pastries we had in an espresso bar in Grottagli.
For the sweet shortcrust pastry:
- 250g plain flour
- 110g unsalted butter, cold and cubed into 5mm pieces
- 50g icing sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 100g ground almonds
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 12-14 figs, sliced in half
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
For the pistachio cream:
- 250g mascarpone
- 80g icing sugar, sieved
- 1 lemon, juice only (as much as you like to taste)
- 30g pistachio paste
- Nibbed pistachios
- Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the cold, cubed butter. With a light touch, start to rub the butter into the flour with your fingers. Once there are no large lumps and it has the texture of fine sand, sieve in the icing sugar and stir to combine.
- In a small cup, add the egg yolks and cold water and whisk well. Add four tablespoons of the mix to the butter and flour and quickly stir to incorporate it. You want a lot of the crumbs to start to come together; if there are dry patches and it’s still crumbly add another teaspoon of the mix, and another if necessary until you have a rough dough. It shouldn’t be sticky at all, so do add slowly. You will probably need around 6 tablespoons of the mix in total.
- Bring it together into a rough ball in the bowl and then transfer to your work surface. Give a couple of very quick squeezes to make sure it’s all stuck together nicely and then shape it into a disc. Wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge to chill for half an hour.
- Once the pastry has rested and firmed up a little, take it out the fridge and lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Place the pastry on the flour and start to roll it out in a circle large enough to line your 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin. You want the pastry to be around 4mm thick.
- Gently lift the pastry using your rolling pin to help, and place it over the tart tin. Gently press it into the corners and up the sides. Use a sharp knife to trim off the excess pastry. Place the tart tin back in the fridge to rest again. You want to leave it in the fridge until it is very firm to the touch – this could be anything up to an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 175°C/155°C fan.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and take a piece of greaseproof paper large enough to cover the pastry. Screw it up in your hands and then flatten it out and lay it in the pastry and gently shape it to cover the pastry. Fill the case with baking beans and then pop it into the oven for 12 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and carefully decant the baking beans. Lift off the baking paper and return to the oven for another 3-4 minutes until it is lightly golden all over, and no uncooked areas visible – it should also feel slightly sandy to the touch. Once done, take it out the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
- Add the softened butter and caster sugar to a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat them together for a few minutes until pale in colour. Slowly start to add the beaten eggs little by little, beating each addition in well. Then add the ground almonds and the almond extract.
- Tip the frangipane into the slightly cooled pastry case and use a knife to spread it out over the base of the pastry case. Then all you need to do is arrange the fig halves on top if the frangipane and sprinkle over the demerara sugar.
- Return the tart to the hot oven for 40 minutes until the frangipane is risen and golden brown and the figs softened into the tart.
- While the tart is baking take a clean mixing bowl and add the mascarpone and sieved icing sugar. Rinse the electric beaters and use a low setting to blend the two together. Add half of the lemon juice and taste to see if you would like to add more – this is personal preference, but we think a little sharpness helps cut through and complement some of the sugariness of the tart.
- Once you have a light and fluffy mascarpone cream, add the pistachio paste and use a large spoon to fold it in a few times, making a pistachio ripple through the mascarpone. Chill in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
- Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes to firm up before very carefully removing the tin as it will still be hot. Slide back onto the wire rack and allow to cool for at least another 15 minutes.
- Serve big slices of the tart alongside a beautiful dollop of pistachio cream and top it with some of the nibbed pistachios which add another lovely crunch to this dessert.
CYNAR SPRITZ ON ICE
- 40ml cynar
- 120ml soda water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 dehydrated citrus slice (lemon, orange or grapefruit work best)
- ½ lemon, juice only
- Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, add the cynar. Top up with the soda water for a delicious, light, refreshing aperitif. Garnish with the bay leaf and dehydrated citrus to bring out the best of the bitter, herbal notes from the cynar.
- The Italians love a bitter spritz, and we are obsessed with this drink! But, we appreciate that cynar, might be an acquired taste for some. If you find its herbal taste a little strong in flavour a great way to soften it is to add the juice of half a lemon.
- To make your own dehydrated citrus is very simple and you can prep in advance. Take the fruit and cut it into thin, even slices 1-2mm thick and lay them onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper. A silicon baking mat is very handy here as nothing will stick. Place the tray into an oven that is set on its lowest setting (around 70°C/50°C fan) for an hour and a half. Then turn the slices over and return to the oven for another hour and a half. Check them occasionally – depending on their thickness some may be ready in less time and others may need a little extra time.
- Store the slices in an airtight container once they have cooled, to use as you need them. They also make great cake decorations or you can blitz the dried fruit into a powder and add it to spice rubs which are great on fish and chicken.
And finally, because a dinner party isn’t just about the food, but the ambience too, don’t forget to check out Jackson & Levine’s top tips for throwing an Italian-inspired party…