Joe Trivelli Recipes for Crostini, Gnocchi, Pork with Figs, and Chocolate Amaretto Cake | Food

D.The ad used to criticize us children when we said that we “love” certain foods, as it sounded jarring to their Italian ears. Love was reserved for people. But it is with true love that my father tends to some 100 tuscan olive trees and makes the olive oil that our whole family eats all year round. She also delivers three special olive oil bottles to our house for the kids with printed labels that say something like: “This bottle of olive oil is made for the sole enjoyment of my grandson…” Elsa says she just clicks (his words) with everything. She even food that she doesn’t like, like broccoli. She is not wrong.

My brother and his sons helped with this year’s harvest and quickly sent us some first bottles of the thick green oil. Typical tasting notes are cut grass, raw artichokes and a spicy finish in the throat that can take your breath away. All the recipes here lend themselves to being drenched with this, but what I add is a little more black pepper or a pinch of dried chili if I don’t have it on hand.

Cooking with this oil for a few months makes me feel happier and I feel blessed that this food culture found me. All my shirts pay the price of my oversaturation. Right now, I’m happily smeared with the stuff.

crostini misti

A Selection of Toast Covered is my antipasto of choice and is an absolute must in the fall. The bean smush is a favorite of my sister-in-law, who could scoop it out of a skillet and do without the bread altogether. Chianti may be the most appropriate wine for chicken livers, but use any; the sweet wine is particularly good, a hint of crudo at the end freshens things up. It serves 4

sourdough bread 8 slices

For the chicken liver crostino:
Red onion ½
Garlic 1 toothbare
sage leaves 5
salty capers 1 tablespoon
chicken livers 250g
olive oil
anchovy fillets
4
chianti or other red wine 350ml
Salt

For the other crostini:
cannellini beans 100 gramssoaked overnight in cold water
Garlic 6 nailsbare
bay leaves Some
Salt
olive oil
fennel
1 bulb
lemon juice of 1
hard cheese finely grated
kale cabbage ¼

For the chicken liver topping, finely dice the onion and mince the garlic and sage. Rinse the capers. Clean the livers of any connective tissue.

Put the onion and garlic to sweat 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 8 minutes over low heat until soft. Add the anchovies, capers and sage and cook for a few more minutes. Now add the livers, raise the heat to medium and cook, turning when they start to change colour. At this point, add about 300ml of the wine, and continue cooking, over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until most of the wine has dried and the livers are firm and well cooked. This should be around 10 minutes.

At this point, turn off the heat and, using a spoon, remove the livers to a clean cutting board, not wasting any of the sauce that surrounds them. Mince the livers by hand or use a food processor (this saves a lot of mess, but be careful not to over-process the livers so they are totally smooth – some texture is welcome). Return them to the pan and turn the heat back on. Stir to combine and after 1 minute add the rest of the wine and another 3 tablespoons Of olive oil. Taste and season, and set aside while you prepare everything else.

Bring the beans to a boil with 4 of garlic cloves and bay leaves from the cold. Once it boils, bring to a simmer and cook until soft; you can overcook them for this without worry. It should take around 50 minutes, but this can vary. Top up the water level as needed. Once cooked, drain almost all the water, season with salt and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to crush. If they are adamant, you can use a potato masher.

Slice the fennel as thin as you can, using a mandolin, processor, or your sharpest, most resourceful knife. Season with lemon, a pinch of salt, grated cheese and 2 tablespoons Of olive oil.

Tear the cabbage leaves and wash. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil with a clove of garlic. Let the garlic boil for 5 minutes before adding the cabbage and boiling for another 7 minutes, until completely soft.

When serving, check that everything is lukewarm, toast the bread, cut it into small pieces and lightly rub with the last clove of garlic and cover each slice individually. Top lightly with the fennel, then use tongs or a spoon to lift the cabbage, still wet, onto the bread to soften with a drop of the cabbage water. Then top the rest with warm livers and cannellini respectively. Add plenty of olive oil and serve immediately.

Gnocchi al cavolo nero

Square visions: gnocchi al cavolo nero.
Square visions: gnocchi al cavolo nero. Photo: Romas Foord/The Observer

The long cooking of the cavolo is essential. Lose the ribs and the flat (non-moving) underside of the leaves. It serves two

Garlic 3 nailsbare
cavolo nero 2 buncheson 600g
egg 1
Parmesan 100 grams grated, plus extra for sprinkling
flour 60g
olive oil
Salt

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil with the garlic inside. Boil the cavolo nero for 10-15 minutes. Remove with a skimmer to a colander. You can save the pot of water to cook the gnocchi later, instead of wasting it.

Once cool enough, gently squeeze the cavolo nero and chop it as finely as you can. Transfer to a large bowl and then add the beaten egg and cheese. Sift over three-fourths of the flour and mix briskly with your fingers. If it seems stiff enough to hold its shape, continue, otherwise use the rest of the flour.

Form parallelepiped pieces about 2 cm square between wet fingers. Place on a large floured plate or board, until just before ready to eat.

To cook, bring a large, deep pot of salted water to a boil, then boil the gnocchi for 5 minutes in a large pot. Remove with a slotted spoon directly to the serving plate, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Grilled pork with figs

Juicy cuts: grilled pork with figs.
Juicy cuts: grilled pork with figs. Photo: Romas Foord/The Observer

A double thick pork chop is enough to 2 people – of course you can use the regular thinners and cut down on the cooking time. It serves 4

pork loin chops 2, cut about 5 cm thick
salt and pepper
dried figs
8
fennel seeds 24
rosemary, sage and thyme sprigs
lemon
1
olive oil

Season the chops well with salt and set aside. Soak the figs in a cup of boiling water with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 180C/gas mark 4.

Poke a hole in each fig and place it inside. 3 fennel seeds, a sprig of rosemary, a pinch of salt and a strip of lemon peel. Place on a square of parchment paper, spray with oil, shake with water and bake for 8 minutes.

To cook the pork, gather the herbs. Heat a grill pan on the stove. Drizzle a little oil over the pork and sear for 4-5 minutes until golden. Add half of the herbs; flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add the rest of the herbs. Remove from heat, drizzle more oil, squeeze the juice from the lemon, add it to the pan with the figs and bake for 7 minutes.

Remove and let rest before slicing and serving with extra-crude olive oil or a very good grind of black pepper.

Chocolate cake with amaretto

Treat yourself: chocolate and amaretto cake.
Treat yourself: chocolate and amaretto cake. Photo: Romas Foord/The Observer

This is a sultry, decadent cake with a whisper of ganache on top, one that seems to hold its moisture and even get better with time. It serves 8

flour 150g
ground almonds 150g
baking powder 2 level teaspoonful
olive oil 285gplus extra to grease
sugar 190g
Salt a pinch
eggs 3
lemon enthusiasm of ½
cocoa 30g
vanilla 1 tablespoon
amaretto 50mlmore a little more

For the ganache:
dark chocolate 90g
olive oil 10g

Heat oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Place a circle of greaseproof paper in a 20cm cake pan and grease with oil. Mix the flour, almonds and baking powder. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the olive oil, sugar, salt, and eggs for 3 minutes until thick. Gently mix the lemon zest and cocoa. Then add the flour and almond mixture and then the vanilla and amaretto. Pour into the sponge cake pan and bake for 35 minutes. Turn to a shelf.

For the ganache, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Place a small bowl with the broken chocolate and olive oil over it and turn off the heat. When melted, drizzle an extra shot of amaretto over the cake before pouring in the ganache.

Joe Trivelli is Assistant Executive Chef at the River Café in West London.

Food design by Henrietta Clancy

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