Here are some of Alessia’s recipes that you may try at the cooking classes.
Ingredients (for 4 persons)
- 3 eggplants
- 1 kg of peppers
- 4 carrots
- 1 onion
- 4 stalks of celery with leaves
- 10 green olives
- basil and mint
- 1/2 glass of vinegar
- 1/2 glass of granulated sugar
- 1.5 l oil for frying
Wash and cube vegetables. Don’t forget to use the leaves and not just the stalk of celery, because the scent comes from the leaves. If you rub the leaves in your hand you will see what I mean!
Deep-fry the ingredients individually. This is the secret for an excellent caponata; it takes a lot of time, but it is worth it.
Put the fried vegetables in a pan, together with green olives, and bring them to boiling point.
Add sugar to caramelize, salt (after sugar because otherwise our vegetable dish would become too watery), then pour the vinegar.
Cook for a few more minutes, then pour it into a casserole dish. As soon as the caponata has cooled down, cut some basil leaves using a ceramic knife or your hands to avoid oxidation, and mix.
The sweet-and-sour caponata should be served cold.
If you want to preserve caponata in jars, sterilize them and pour it into the jars. Then put the jars into a microwave and bring to boiling point. Close the jars, turn them upside down and let them cool.
Ingredients (for 4 persons)
- 1 kg of sugar per kg of pulp
- 3 whole lemons per kg of quinces
Phase one: wash and half the quinces and put them in a large pot. Cover them with water and add lemons, cut in half. Cook at medium heat until the quinces have softened.
Phase two: when the quinces are cooked, peel them and remove the core.
Note: You may use the quince liquid to make quince syrup, which is very good to add flavour to cakes. Filter it through a linen cloth, pour it into a graduated container and add as much sugar as the liquid quantity; put it back on the stove and once the sugar has melted and the liquid has become a jelly, it is ready. Put your syrup in bottles or jars, close them and boil them for 20 minutes. It is very good to make jellies or to soak sponge cake.
Phase three: blend the quinces or pass them through a strainer. If you have cooked a lot of quinces you may use a mixer, otherwise you can use a strainer. Make sure you do not fill the container too much, otherwise the mixer will not be able to blend properly.
Phase four: weigh the pulp and add sugar (1 kg of sugar per kg of fruit).
Phase five: if the pulp is very thick and you want your jam to be spreadable, you may add a glass of water while cooking the quinces.
Phase six: cook at low heat and keep mixing. When it drops in flakes off the wooden spoon, after at least 20 minutes, it will be ready.
Phase seven: pour the hot cotognata into slightly moistened terracotta moulds. Leave it out in the sun for 2 days, then turn it out and leave it out in the sun for another 2-3 days, stirring it.
Recommendation: there are many flies in autumn, so do not forget to cover your cotognata with a mosquito net. Once it is dry and ready, you can preserve your cotognata in glass jars or air-tight containers for a long time.