Semolina and Goat Cheese Dumpling
The robust flavors of the Italian countryside are featured in these filled dumplings, which are topped with a tomato-mushroom ragout and garnished with grilled fennel.
- Roasted Tomatoes
- Plum (Roma) Tomatoes - 6
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs - 2 teaspoons, chopped
- Fresh basil - 2 teaspoons, chopped
- Fresh Mild Goat Cheese - 4, at room temperature
- Sour Cream - 2 tablespoons
- Fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Fresh Rosemary - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Fresh Sage leaves - 1/2 tablespoon, minced
- Water - 3 cups
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Fine Semolina Flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Parmesan cheese - 1/4 cup, freshly grated
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- All-Purpose Flour - about 1/2 cup
- Portobello Ragout
- Olive Oil - 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Portobello Mushrooms - 1-1/2 to 2 pounds, stemmed and sliced 1/2-inch thick, or a combination of wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, shiitakes, hedgehogs, and black trumpet
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Onion - 1/2 cup, chopped
- Garlic Cloves - 2 large, thinly sliced
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup, or more if necessary
- Roasted Tomatoes - (above)
- Fennel bulb - 1 large
- Olive oil - for coating
- Watercress - 1 bunch
- Fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs - 2 tablespoons, minced
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese - 2 tablespoons
To make the roasted tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 180 F. Core and cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and squeeze out most of the seeds. Place the tomatoes in a small bowl and add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. On an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, place the tomatoes skin-side down, and bake for 2-1/2 hours, or until slightly dried but still soft. Remove the tomatoes and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Chop the tomatoes in 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the fresh herbs. Refrigerate the tomatoes if not using them immediately.
To make the dumplings: In a bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cheese and sour cream with the herbs until smooth, 1 minute. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to blend the flavors and firm the cheese.
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil, add the salt, then slowly add the semolina, whisking constantly. When the semolina has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, add the Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of butter, and stir briskly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Let sit about 5 minutes until cool enough to handle, or hold in a warm place if not finishing immediately.
Lightly dust a work surface with some of the flour and spoon out 2 generous tablespoonfuls of the semolina mixture onto the work surface. Press the dough into a disc approximately 1/4 inch thick. Hold the dough in the palm of one hand and place 1 generous teaspoonful of the goat cheese mixture in the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half and pinch the edges to seal. Press and roll the dumpling in your hand to shape it into a small log shape with flat ends, being sure the filling is sealed securely in the center. Place the completed dumpling on a baking sheet.
Repeat to use the remaining dumpling mixture and chill the dumplings until ready to finish and serve.
To make the portobello ragout: In a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the sliced mushrooms, and saute until they are browned, 2 to 3 minutes. If using a variety of mushrooms, cook the heaviest first and gradually add the lighter varieties, cooking until all are lightly browned. If the pan becomes crowded, remove some of the mushrooms and continue to sauté the remainder in batches until all of them are lightly browned. Return all of the mushrooms to the pan to proceed.
Sprinkle the mushrooms with the salt. Add the butter to the pan, then the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes, adding 2 tablespoons olive oil if necessary. Add the wine, then the roasted tomatoes. Lower the heat and maintain the mixture at a simmer while proceeding with the recipe, and adding more wine if necessary to keep the mushrooms moist.
To prepare the fennel: Prepare a grill, or preheat a broiler. Trim the fennel bulb and cut it into 6 wedges. In a large saucepan of lightly salted water over high heat, blanch the fennel until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the fennel and place it in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain and pat dry. Lightly rub the fennel with olive oil and grill or broil until browned and completely tender. Set aside and keep warm.
To cook the dumplings: Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a large sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until the foam subsides. Add some of the dumplings and cook, rolling them around the pan, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not crowd the pan. Repeat until all of the dumplings are browned. Place the browned dumplings into the oven until warmed through, 8 to 10 minutes.
To serve: Spoon some of the mushroom ragout with its juices into each of 6 wide soup plates. Place 1 piece of grilled fennel and a small bouquet of watercress around the edge. Place two dumplings into the center of each place. Lightly sprinkle each serving with minced parsley and Parmesan cheese.