Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Calle dei Campi di Gragnano Pasta, Tomato / Basil Gelee and Buffalo Milk Mozzarella DOP Fonduta

A few weeks ago,  I received an invitation to participate in “Pasta Bufala e Fantasia! Reinventa la tradizione” this year's food blogger recipe contest sponsored by Le Strade della Mozzarella and Pastificio dei Campi .  This year, the contest looked assai interesting because besides being asked to use pasta and mozzarella di bufala DOP in our recipes, we were asked to incorporate 'the latest technology'.  After a little research and some creative daydreaming, I came up with my entry:

Calle dei Campi di Gragnano, Tomato / Basil Gelee and Buffalo Milk Mozzarella DOP Fonduta

Difficulty: 2 (In a range from 1-4)

Ingredients for 4 people

200 gr Calle dei Campi di Gragnano pasta.
260 g of  sliced San Marzano tomatoes ( Since they are out of season, I used canned and drained the extra juice)
75 gr of chopped basil 
350 grams of mozzarella di bufalo dop
200 ml of cream
350 ml of milk
150 ml of water
22 g (4 1/5 teaspoons) of agar agar powder
extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste


For the tomato sauce gelee.
In a saucepan, add a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Saute a clove of garlic in the oil.  Remove the garlic.  Add the sliced San Marzano tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes. Salt to taste.  Remove from heat and blend it using a immersion blender until smooth.  Return to the stove top, and add 50 ml of water and 10 grams of the agar agar powder ( 2 teaspoons).  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  After a few minutes, remove from heat and pour into a mold.  I used a rectangular glass dish, about 14 cm x 14 cm x 4 cm.  Place in the refrigerator to cool and set.

For the basil gelee.
Chop up 75 grams of basil.  ( I had some frozen basil on hand saved from the summer ).  Saute a clove of garlic in a small saucepan.  Remove the garlic.  Add the chopped basil and 50 ml of water.  Cook for  5 minutes, stirring often. Salt to taste. Remove from heat and blend to get a smooth mixture.  Place a tablespoon aside to use for drizzling later.  Return to the stove top, add another 50 ml of water and 12 grams (2 1/2 teaspoons ) of agar agar powder.   Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  After a few minutes, remove from heat and pour into the mold on top of the tomato gelee.  Make sure the tomato gelee has set before pouring the basil mixture.   Place in the refrigerator to cool and set..  After it has set, bring to room temperature.

For the fonduta:
Place the mozzarella in the refrigerator overnight so that it will lose some of its extra water.  Slice into small pieces, then blend it with the milk and cream until smooth.  Heat over low heat the stove top, stirring constantly so that it does not boil for about 20 minutes.  Add salt if desired (it depends on the sapidity of your mozzarella di bufala, and your tastes, of course).

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water.  Though the box says for 13 minutes, I wanted the pasta very al dente so that it would stand up on the plate, so I decided to drain after on 11/12 minutes.  

Plate preparation:
 Using a piece of uncooked calle dei campi di gragnano as a cookie cutter, cut the gelee into  pieces.  I suggest you dampen the pasta first so that the gelee will not stick to the pasta cutter.  Spread out the fonduta on a dish using a ladle or large spoon. Arrange the pasta and gelee on top of the bed you have created with the fonduta.  Drizzle a little olive oil and some of the basil mixture that you conserved earlier.  

Buon apetito!

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