Love Like An Italian – Focaccia with Pesto
The countdown to the end of the year has begun as we step into Naughty November. As everyone gears up to prepare their bucket list, I sit right here to create an ingredient list to take you round the world one dish at a time.
First Stop – ITALY!!
Looking back to my culinary expedition, I have had a fair exposure to Italian Cuisine. The art of making pasta is something on my wish list. The idea of making the pasta and the sauce from the scratch is exciting in itself, but that can wait. This time lets make the simplest of breads you can bake at home – FOCACCIA. It’s an Italian bread loaf usually stuffed with olives, herbs and garlic. The toppings you can think of are endless. Trust me, you need to know the feeling of eating bread that has been freshly baked out of the oven. Especially flavorful bread like Focaccia, it's LOVE AT FIRST BITE.
For the dough –
500 gms refined flour (maida)
2 tbsp of semolina (rawa)
320 ml warm water
25 gms of active dry yeast
50 ml of olive oil
Black Pitted Olives, Sundried Tomatoes, Slices of Garlic and Fresh Rosemary for the topping of the Focaccia.
A pinch of salt
In a small bowl, add yeast, ½ cup of luke warm water, a pinch of sugar. Stir well and cover. Leave aside till the yeast starts to froth.
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the flour and semolina with a good pinch of salt. Add the olive oil to the warm water.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the yeast and start mixing with a fork. Gradually keep adding water and oil mixture to the flour, till it forms into a ball.
Tip the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 mins till its soft, springy and smooth in texture.
Place the dough in a lightly floured mixing bowl in a warm place and leave it to rise for 45 mins, until its double in size.
Pre heat the oven to 200° C.
Place the risen dough in an oiled baking tray (12” x 8”) and sprinkle with a little salt. Grease your fingers with a little oilive oil and spread out the dough to the edges of the tray.
Press the olives and sundried tomatoes on the surface, do not press them in entirely. Scatter thin slices of garlic and rosemary leaves and season with salt and black pepper.
Drizzle it with olive oil and bake it for 30 mins until golden and cooked through.
Turn it over on a board and cut a slice and enjoy.
NO WORDS CAN DESCRIBE THE FIRST BITE OF FRESHLY BAKED BREAD.
Take this divine moment of foodgasm and level up by spreading some pesto on it.
PESTO – a bunch of basil leaves + 4 cloves of garlic + 1 tbsp pinenuts + 2 tbsp of crushed parmesan cheese + 50 ml olive oil. Grind it into a thick paste.
This pesto can be stored in the fridge for upto a week.
Wake up that Gourmand in you and twist that pesto too, try it out with arugula+mint or coriander + cashewnuts and go nuts. You can apply this on the Focaccia before baking as well. Go Bezerk! And add 3 different toppings to your Focaccia or use it to make a Panini, don’t be afraid to explore! Bon Appétit!
P.S. Food enthusiasts, if you wish to get a taste of the behind the scenes action of the LiveInStyle.com dishes and more, you can follow me on Instagram. Enjoy!
Article and Images: Harsh Dixit
Four Seasons Chenin Blanc pairs best with appetizers especially Focaccia. It's enjoyed best at 8°-10° C.
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