Easter Eats – Simone Conti

This easy to prepare yet delicious dish, can be served as a starter or by itself making a great healthy meal this Easter. The saltines of the chorizo and the creaminess of the chickpeas will create a delicious contrast, the small egg noodles and the stock will add proteins and nutrients. If you are vegetarian you can use tofu or seitan instead of chorizo.

Garlic, Chorizo and Chickpeas Broth with Egg Noodles – Serves 6-8

12 Cloves garlic, peeled and halved
80 ml extra virgin olive oil
200g chorizo sausage
2 large red onion diced
1 tbsp rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp oregano
600g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 lemon, finely grated zest and juice
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1 egg
2 tsp cold water
2 pinches salt
1 tsp olive oil

1. Cook the garlic in oil in a very small frying pan over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Peel any casing from chorizo and slice half into thin disks. Fry discs in the same oil that you cooked the garlic in, until cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cut remaining chorizo into small cubes.
2. Transfer oil to a deep saucepan. Add onions, diced chorizo, rosemary, oregano and fry until they begin to caramelise. Add the garlic cooked earlier, the chickpeas, bay leaves, lemon zest and the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Now for our homemade noodles, start by beating together egg, water and salt. Heat a 15cm (6 in) non-stick frying pan and brash with 1 tsp of olive oil.
4. Drizzle in egg mixture so it covers the base of the pan. Cook over a moderate heat until just set. Tip onto a chopping board, roll up and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) thick slices. Unroll each slice into the homemade egg noodles.
5. Taste the broth to check seasoning and add to taste, stir in the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with egg noodles and chorizo disks on top. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Rioja Reserva (Spain)

I’m sure most of our readers have their favourite family recipe for Easter, but if this year you feel like trying something different, this is a great dish, easy to prepare. We are going to use one of my favourite sauces: the Salsa Verde. It’s a very traditional sauce, from the north of Italy, specially from the Piedmont area. It is usually served with the traditional Bollito which is a selection of boiled cuts of meat. The Salsa Verde literally translate to ‘green sauce’ and it is a mix of herbs and anchovies with a touch of spice. In this recipe we will enhance the flavour of the lamb and at the same time we will bring freshness to the dish by cutting the fattiness. Lamb rump is very underrated, but when marinated it has a wonderful flavour and is surprisingly tender. We will start by preparing our Salsa Verde so the flavours can blend and infuse when we cook the lamb and the vegetables.

Lamb Rump Whit Salsa Verde – Serves 4

100ml of extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp of chopped rosemary
2 Rump of lamb, with fat on, about 500g each
For the Roast Vegetable
2 ripe onion squash
12 Jerusalem artichokes
6 carrots
25ml of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp of chopped thyme
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Salsa Verde
100g flat leaf parsley leaves
50g wild rockets
30g mint leaves
25 picked marjoram leaves
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 anchovy fillets
2 tbsp of capers
1/2 garlic clove
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Chop the herbs finely and transfer to a bowl. Immediately cover with the olive oil so the herbs don’t turn brown.
2. Pound the anchovies, capers and garlic together using a pestle and a mortar or an immersion to make a paste.
3. Mix in the herbs (with the oil) and add Dijon mustard. Season with salt and black pepper. We will use the Salsa Verde for the lamb but if you want to make some extra sauce, it can be kept in a covered jar in the fridge for 5-6 days. Put a layer of olive oil on the surface of the salsa to prevent it from discolouring. It can be used for fish, chicken, or even in an open sandwich.
4. Now back to our lamb rump, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice and rosemary in a bowl. Add the lamb rumps and turn to coat with this marinade, rubbing it in well. Set aside to marinate for 1 hour.
5. Prepare the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 190c. Peel the onion squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Cut the squash in to 3cm wedges. Peel the artichoke and cut in to quarters. Cut the peeled carrots length ways in half.
6. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, add all the vegetable and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain, then tip into a bowl. Add the olive oil, thyme and garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Toss so all the vegetable pieces are coated with the seasoned oil. Spread out the vegetables in a ovenproof dish, cover with foil and roast for about 20 minutes until tender. Remove the foil and return to the oven to brown for 5 minutes.
7. While the vegetables are roasting, cook the lamb. Pat it dry with kitchen paper to remove any excess marinade, then season the lamb with salt and black pepper. Heat an ovenproof frying pan and, when very hot sear the lamb rumps on all sides. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking, if you like your lamb pink keep it cooking for 5-7. minutes, if you prefer well done then keep it cooking for 13-16 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.
8. Slice the lamb lengthways into four pieces for each rump. Serve on the roasted vegetables, with a good spoon of Salsa Verde on top.

Recommended Wine: Primitivo Apulia (Italy)

This dessert is pure heaven for all the meringue lovers. To make it super easy we will focus mainly on the meringue. The ice cream and the sponge cake can be purchased. This detail is giving account to when restrictions ease to allow us to have guests for dinner again, the last thing we want is to spend hours preparing the pudding! But if you have an ice cream machine and you want to make the sponge cake please go ahead and I’m sure it will taste even better!

Baked Alaska – Serves 4

400g caster sugar
100ml water
40g glucose
200g egg white
1 large piece of sponge cake (1.5cm thick)
1 tub of vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Boil the sugar, water and glucose to a soft ball. Semi-whip the egg whites and add the sugar ball, then whip on a slower speed till cool and our meringue is done – how easy was that?
3. Now let’s start to get our Alaska assembled, what we will use is an ovenproof dish. Place the sponge cake into the bottom of the dish, add 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, then top with the meringue mix.
4. Bake in the oven for approx. 5 minutes then serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recommended Wine: Asti sparkling sweet wine (Italy)

Happy Easter to you all! – Simone Conti

Enjoying these recipes? You can read more of Simone’s meals HERE.

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