Cyberchef Special: Rossini at the Ritz
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The Menu
Stuffed Rigatoni "Tanti Affetti"
(serves 4)


6 Rigatoni per serving (prepare 30)
200g Mushrooms
200g cooked Ham
100g uncooked Foie gras (if unavailable use cooked)
The Yolks of 3 hard-boiled eggs
20g Truffles
5 large ripe Tomatoes
1 small Onion finely chopped
1 clove Garlic crushed
Thyme, Laurel leaf
20g Parmesan
20cls Olive oil
10g Butter
Salt, Pepper

Preparation of the Rigatoni

Bring to the boil 3 litres of salted water with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the rigatoni for 8 to 10 minutes - remove just before they are 'al dente'. (Prepare a few extra for testing during preparation and in case some burst when stuffing). Strain under warm water, then under cold to stop the cooking process. Sponge off with kitchen paper and set aside, but do not let dry out.

Preparation of the Stuffing

Finely dice the mushrooms, truffles, ham and foie gras. Powder the egg yolks by forcing them through a sieve. Sauté the mushrooms in the butter, then add the foie gras, truffles and ham. Allow to cook gently for about 5 minutes. (If you are using cooked foie gras, finely dice and add last to the other ingredients). Withdraw from heat, check the seasoning and bind with the egg yolks to obtain a fine stuffing.

Preparation of the Sauce and Garnish

Plunge each tomato into boiling water for a few seconds and peel. Cut in four and remove the seeds and any hard pieces. Use three tomatoes to prepare a light sauce, by allowing them to sweat for a few minutes with the chopped onion, crushed garlic, thyme, laurel, pepper and salt in a little butter. Sieve and keep warm. Cut the remaining tomatoes into thin strips and soften them a few minutes in warm olive oil.

Final preparation

Using a bag and nozzle, fill the rigatoni with the stuffing, then place them in a steamer for about 5 minutes to complete the cooking of the pasta. Garnish the base of an ovenware dish (or small individual dishes) with the warm tomato strips and cover with the rigatoni. Pour over the tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan. Place under the grill for a few moments and serve immediately.

This was one of Rossini's favourite dishes. The delicate texture of the pasta is a perfect back-drop for this extraordinary stuffing, enhancing the flavour of each main ingredient, yet bringing them all together in a subtle harmony you might expect from a great composer.

Friends of his reported that he was always in the best of moods when he began preparing the stuffing. (He in fact used large calibre Neapolitan macaroni for this dish, although we found rigatoni work equally well and are easier to handle for large numbers). When the macaroni were ready, he would stuff them using a large silver syringe for which he was famous - he was frequently portrayed brandishing it by cartoonists of the day! The pasta was then returned to the steamer "with all the delicate care one would take to place a new-born babe in its cradle".

During the final touch to preparation - under the grill - the Maestro could be overheard gleefully reciting verses from Dante's eager anticipation!


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