I came across this dish in Calabria, Southern Italy, while I was training at the Italian Culinary Institute there. Semolina flour is used extensively in Calabrian cooking. In fact, they make a rather simple pasta using nothing but fine semolina and water. This dish is, of course, more elaborate and yet the flavours are simple and there’s a lovely play of textures.
- 250 gm semolina
- 100 gm spinach, blanched
- 30 gm processed cheese, grated
- 30 gm Parmesan, grated
- 20 gm walnuts
- 10 gm butter
- 5 gm salt
- 3 gm black pepper, crushed
- 1 l water
- 200 ml double cream
- 20 ml vegetable oil
- 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
- In a pot, boil water with salt. Slowly whisk in the semolina, ensuring no lumps are formed.
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until it leaves the sides of the pan.
- Stir in the blanched spinach and processed cheese.
- Pour into a greased tray and allow it to set.
- Heat oil and butter in a pan. Sauté the red and yellow peppers until they are soft. You can add blanched asparagus tips, if you like.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the semolina is set, cut it into squares.
- Heat a pan and grease generously with a mix of oil and butter. Brown the semolina squares until heated through.
- Warm the cream and stir in the Parmesan. Toast the walnuts.
- Spread out the bell pepper mix on half the semolina squares and place the remaining squares on top of the layered squares to make a sandwich.
- Serve with the Parmesan cream sauce and toasted walnuts.