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Real food: 14/01/10

Freezing weather sends most people in search of winter-warming food -- stews, pies, bakes, etc. But I find myself looking for food to remind me of warmer places.

This is a good time of year to home-dry tomatoes. Simply quarter them and remove the seeds. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and dry in the oven at 150C/Gas 2 for 60 minutes.

The recipe, right, is one I found in Ursula Ferrigno's book Italy Sea to Sky. Feel free to add some dried tomatoes before topping with the Parmesan.

Mozzarella in Pasta Frolla

To make the pastry, place 200g of Italian 00 flour (or strong flour), 120g of butter, 4 tbs iced water and a pinch of salt in a food processor, and blend 'til the dough forms a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for an hour.

Roll out the pastry in a rectangle measuring 16in by 8in. Cut into six equal-sized pieces and chill in the fridge for a further 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Bake the pastry pieces on baking trays in the oven for 15-20 minutes 'til brown and remove to cool. Turn the oven up to 230C/Gas 8.

Slice 400g of mozzarella (buffalo or cow) and cover each cooked pastry square. Slice two medium potatoes very thinly (if you like you can blanch the slices in boiling water for two minutes to ensure they cook through). Layer the potato slices on top of the mozzarella along with thin slices of two garlic cloves, fresh thyme or rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Grate 100g Parmesan over each slice.

Bake in the hot oven for ten minutes 'til golden and bubbling.


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