It was a long week with Roman's first virus and all of the extra care that went into getting through several long nights with a fever. He's fully recovered and seems to have bounced back even stronger than before. I can now return to the kitchen for short periods while he plays happily with his dad. For this and other reasons, I'm jumping for joy! I discovered a new dish that is sure to become a regular at our dinner table. It's called a sformato and it's like a cross between a soufflé and a vegetable fritatta, but it has no eggs although your taste buds won't believe it! It's made with chickpea flour, so for a vegetarian dish, there's plenty of protein in there. Served along side a salad, it makes a lovely lunch, brunch or light dinner. This new discovery put me in a seriously good mood. Food, and voracious 13 month olds can do that for me.
The Italian word sformato means un-molded. There are sweet versions (obviously not using chickpea flour) or savory, with whatever vegetable combination you like, or what's on hand. The method is simple. I'm delighted to have discovered chickpea flour, which apparently is used a lot in Indian cooking. I searched around on the web some and found lots of interesting uses for this flour, like chickpea flour crepes. It's always fun to discover new ingredients and bring new tastes to the table.
My version of sformato uses red onion, butternut squash and chard, all organic and in-season. I just happened to have these nice fall vegetables in my fridge and I love how the three colors and tastes compliment each other. Someone else just couldn't resist, and dug right in!
Sformato with butternut squash and chard
I found an italian recipe on a cooking forum online, translated it and then adapted it using my own combination of vegetables. Thus, the recipe uses liters and grams. I have a kitchen scale, which I love for measuring flour when baking. It's so much more accurate than the American method of using cups. If there is one kitchen item I recommend, it's a scale.
1/2 a butternut squash
1/2 red onion
4 leaves of chard leaves or other green leafy vegetable
1 liter of water (4 cups)
1 cube of organic salt-free vegetable broth
200 grams chickpea flour (this is equal to 1.6 cups)
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt if needed (I didn't use any because the parmesan is salty enough for me)
Cube the red onion, squash and finely chop the chard. Sauté the onion and the squash for several minutes (it will take just a few minutes since the pieces are so small), then add the chard, cover and cook for about 4 minutes, until the chard is wilted.
Bring one liter of water to the boil and dissolve the bouillon cube. When it boils, turn off the heat and using a whisk, add the chickpea flour a little at a time, whisking constantly so that it does not clump. Stir for about 2 minutes. Add the cheese and then combine this with the vegetables.
Oil or butter a pan (I used a lasagna pan) and spread the mixture evenly, bake for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let the sformato cool before cutting into squares and serving. Can be served room temperature, or warm.
As he says, "miam, miam!"