Crema fritta is a traditional dish served as an appetizer or side dish, or as a dessert, which consists of fried custard. It is usually part of the fritti platter that includes olive ascolane (deep-fried stuffed olives) and deep-fried vegetables.
500 ml milk
100 g sugar
85 g flour
1 lemon peel, white pith removed
1 tablespoon vanillin
100 g breadcrumbs
Pour the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and set it over low heat, add the lemon peel, bring to a simmer and cook until the custard becomes thick and velvety while stirring continuously.
Pour the custard into a baking pan and spread with a spatula. The custard should be about 2 cm thick. Set aside to cool for about 2 hours. Remove the set custard from the pan, cut into squares or diamonds. Toss in the breadcrumbs, dip in beaten egg, repeat., then in the beaten egg and then again in the breadcrumbs. Deep fry until light golden. Remove excess oil with paper towels. Serve hot.
Straginate in dialect literally means “dragged”. The dish consists of a mixture of edible wild greens such as chard, chicory, sowthistle, spinach, turnip tops, etc… boiled with potatoes, then pan-fried with oil, garlic and chilli pepper. Used as appetizer or side dish, they are usually served with toasted bread.
Ingredients (serves 4):
500 g wild greens (chard, chicory, sowthistle, spinach, turnip tops)
1 potato, boiled, then cut in chunks
1 garlic clove
extra virgin olive oil
1 chili pepper
Clean and wash the greens, boil then drain them. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add garlic and chili pepper, then the greens and the potato. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, while stirring from time to time. Serve hot.
Pizza di Formaggio
It’s called “pizza”, but in fact it’s shaped like a panettone. According to tradition, this Easter recipe requires 40 eggs, as many as the days of Lent; it was prepared on Holy Thursday or Good Friday and eaten on Easter Day. Pizzas were cooked in ovens which had to be booked beforehand.
For this recipe, which dates back from the Middle Ages, we owe the nuns of the monastery of Santa Maria Maddalena of Serra de’ Conti, near Ancona.
Each family in Le Marche has its own secret recipe that is passed down from generations!
150 ml milk
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100 g grated Parmesan cheese
100 g grated pecorino cheese
100 g fresh pecorino cheese, diced
500 g 00 flour
1 cube brewer’s yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon black pepper
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the milk and the olive oil, whisk. Add the flour and brewer’s yeast, dissolved in warm milk. Mix the ingredients well until the dough is smooth. Add the sugar, pepper and nutmeg. Add the grated pecorino and Parmesan. Knead until smooth and elastic. Set aside in a bowl in a warm and damp place for about a couple of hours.
When the dough has doubled in volume, pour it into a buttered and floured mold. Add the chunks of pecorino. Set aside for another couple of hours. Bake at 180° C for about an hour.
Vincisgrassi is a local version of baked pasta or lasagna, a staple of Italian cuisine, for which grandmas are famous.
The dish was invented in 1799, to celebrate the victory of Austrian general Windisch Graetz, who was stationed in the city of Ancona, over the French troops.
Ingredients (serves 6):
For the pasta:
350 g flour
150 g semolina
30 g butter
For the sauce
80 g ham fat
80 g butter
1 spring onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
200 g chicken giblets, diced
250 g veal sweetbreads, diced
1/2 glass of dry white wine
200 g of tomato pulp
broth, salt, pepper
For the béchamel
50 g butter
50 g flour
1/2 lt milk
100 g of grated parmesan cheese
salt, pepper, nutmeg
Prepare the dough. Roll it out into a light sheet, cut into strips 8-9 cm wide, 12-13 cm long. Cook them in a large, shallow pan with plenty of lightly salted water. Drain them and let them cool on a damp cloth.
In a pan, fry the ham fat in butter with the onion and carrot, add the chicken giblets. Cook until brown, pour the white wine and, as soon as it has evaporated, add the tomato pulp, salt and pepper. Cook for about ten minutes. Add the sweetbreads. Let it simmer, lid on, for at least an hour and a half, adding broth if necessary.
For the béchamel sauce, mix flour and melted butter, then dilute with the hot milk. Avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove from heat and add a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.
Butter an oven dish and arrange the lasagne in layers, add the béchamel sauce, the sauce and grated Parmesan cheese, and a few knobs of butter, then another layer of pasta. Repeat. Bake in the oven and serve!
Paccasassi, or spaccasassi, literally “stone-breaker”, is name given by locals to sea fennel, which grows wild amid the rocks of the Conero Riviera. The seed of the sea fennel, carried by the wind, takes root between the cracks of the rocks near the sea. Paccasassi are tasty and rich in Vitamin C.
Harvesting of wild sea fennel is forbidden Conero Riviera. Sea fennel is cultivated and preserved in oil.
It’s called ciambellone, “ciambellò” in dialect, but it’s not shaped like a ring like the name suggests: it’s a flat cake filled with Nutella that smells like aniseed. In short, it is delicious!
A beloved dessert, it is usually served on special occasions. Consumed at parties and accompanied with sweet wines, it truly is the people’s dessert.
450 g flour
120 g sugar
50 ml milk
150 g butter, melted
10 g instant yeast
Mix flour and yeast, then sift. Add milk, butter, sugar, the beaten eggs and the lemon peel. Place the dough in a buttered and floured sheet. You can add raisins, candied fruit, walnuts and almonds, to the mix. Brush with egg yolk and bake.