It’s difficult to give an exact English translation of a sformato but my best attempt would be a dense, soufflé-like, baked ricotta mousse. Not very pithy I know, but vaguely accurate. Some versions of sformata have a béchamel sauce as their base but I prefer the ricotta/parmesan model. You could make smaller ones (and feed 6-8) –in dariole moulds or ramekins, in which case cook them for 18-20 minutes. If you’re serving vegetarians you can leave out the anchovies. The sformata are very filling so I would serve them as a light main course.
- For the roasted cherry tomato vinaigrette
- 540g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, washed and de-stalked
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- For the sformata
- 70g finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for oiling
- 800g courgettes, topped and tailed and finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 250g ricotta
- 8 sprigs tarragon, leaves only
- 3 anchovy fillets (in oil), drained
- 3 large eggs
- Heat the oven to 170˚c, fan oven 150˚c, mark 3. Put the tomatoes in an ovenproof tin and drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast for 1 hour. Leave the tomatoes to cool then put in a liquidiser with the remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour into a jug. If you like you can pass the vinaigrette through a sieve to remove any tomato pips but a good liquidiser doesn’t leave much solid matter. You can make this well in advance, in which case chill the vinaigrette until an hour before you want to eat.
- Grease and base-line 4 x 250ml dariole moulds (or ramekins) and dust the insides with 20g of the grated parmesan. Heat the oven to 180˚c, fan oven 160˚c, mark 4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry half the courgettes for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly for even cooking. Lift the courgettes out of the frying pan and drain on kitchen paper. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the rest of the courgettes for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 10 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool. When the courgettes are cold squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Put the courgettes in a food processor with the remaining sformata ingredients (remembering the 50g parmesan) and season with salt and ground black pepper. Blend until smooth. Spoon into the prepared moulds. Place the moulds in a bain marie (a roasting tin filled with about 2-3 cm boiling water) and bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly puffed up and firm to the touch. Leave for 5 minutes before turning out onto serving plates. Serve with the vinaigrette and some rocket leaves.