After over a year of living in our apartment, this weekend I actually domesticated it a bit more, and made a “linen closet” to hold all our towels and sheets. I felt very grown-up. Next, I’ll be covering the walls with brocade and sconces….or maybe not. It’s still not “our” apartment.
In fact, I finally took a big step this weekend and took Mary down. You know, Mary, the mother of Jesus. She has been presiding over our living room for long before we moved in. As much as I like reliefs in silver and gold, I felt it was time to take it down. I prefer to choose my own art in my house, or nothing at all if I don’t have any available! She’s now overseeing our extra cups and plates in the cupboard. If only I could put up my Elvis-the-Pelvis clock from back home.
Also, another wonder this week, I received my Permesso di Soggiorno!! If you don’t know what it is, it’s like the Italian Green Card, which I applied for within 8 days of entering the country after getting married to Sante (way back in September). After 7 1/2 months, two separate applications, countless phone calls, �30 in gas, and five days of work off for standing in line and doing paperwork, IT IS MINE. My precious…..mio tesoro.
Here in Milan, it feels like a heat wave has hit us. Many of my colleagues have sleeveless shirts on, with the trusty jacket nearby in case Nature’s laughing at us all. Of course, I’d love to take it a step further and bust out the flip-flops but that would definitely cause some stares. If this were Southern Cal, we’d be seeing some bikini tops under these sleeveless shirts.
Next weekend are the elections, and S, whose residency hasn’t yet been fully changed up north, will go down south to vote. I’m sure he’ll pick up a few melezane alla parmigiana as well – his mother’s an excellent cook!
So, back to my torta rustica which it’s not, really, but it’s the closest approximation in Italian cooking. Somewhere between a quiche and…something else.
1 roll Sfoglia or phyllo dough
200g. fresh ricotta
100g. fresh spinach, chopped
300g. sliced mushrooms
Really quite simple. I laid the sfoglia down to create the “crust” of the dish. I used a small dish…like a 8×10 or a special size here. You could also create a “roll” instead of a full dish like I did, but I had too much filling and not enough dough (really need to make one giant roll in that case). I had some extra dough, so I cut the sides off, and saved it to make the “latticework” you see above. I made some little shapes because
I sauteed the sliced mushrooms (chopped is ok, too, but I like the bigger pieces) and added some spices – you can add pepper, peperoncino (hot pepper), garlic, onions, etc. I set them aside .
Then I cooked the bacon, which I was able to find at both Esselunga and Bennet. I like my bacon really crispy, so I cooked it well and then set it aside on some paper towels to absorb some of the grease.
After I chopped the fresh spinach, I mixed the egg, spinach and ricotta together. I added a pinch of salt but you really don’t need it since the bacon is salty. I added some pepper, but that’s just the pepper lover in me.
Then I smeared the ricotta mixture on the base of the Sfoglia, then layered the mushrooms on top. I sprinkled the crumbled bacon on top, and then laid the strips of leftover dough in a criss-cross fashion. I cooked it for about 20 minutes, but it’s really dependant on your oven, the Sfoglia can burn very easily. I had to keep rotating mine since it’s hotter in the back of my oven.
So easy, and the husband was impressed. Ok, so he’s not that hard to impress, but I usually judge if it’s good by how many “buono” or “ottimo”‘s come out of his mouth. This got about 3 ottimos.