It’s not often that I come across a dish that’s relatively unknown on the Internet – in this case, I mean the English-speaking internet. Until the flood of French Fridays posts today, I could only find a handful of references to this week’s dish in English – there are plenty of recipes for it on French sites. (As an aside, it pleases me that I can read French relatively well, even though no one should ever be subjected to me speaking it.)
They are properly made with Brocciu cheese, but thick ricotta makes a good substitute. The ricotta is mixed with spinach, grated cheese, minced mint or marjoram, an egg, and a very small amount of flour. It’s then formed into quenelles, lightly tossed in a little more flour and set to rest in the fridge or freezer. When it’s time to finish them, they’re gently poached in simmering water, carefully dried, then put in the oven covered with tomato sauce and grated cheese.
It’s the last two steps that caused our crew so much trouble this week, resulting in one of the longest P & Q sections we’ve had in some time. Reading the comments saved me from disaster and also led me to experimenting with cooking them in two different ways.
Many Doristas found their storzapretis disintegrating as they poached, so Adriana tried skipping that step and cooking them in the oven only. She preferred that method and when I tried it, the night I made the storzapretis, I cooked a few that way and stowed the rest in the freezer.
Today, I tried the poaching method and though they kept their shape, I found their texture to be a little too soft for my liking, even after baking them for a bit longer than called for in the recipe. The ones I’d stuck straight into the oven were tender and fluffy, but firm. In future, I’ll skip the poach.
Though these dumplings were a bit time-consuming to make, I will be making them again. They’re worth the effort. And this week’s experience just reinforced my love of this cooking community – we truly help each other along each week.
Find links to the rest of the French Fridays crew’s posts on this week’s recipe here: Storzapretis.