Recipes from The Art of Traditional Italian by Lucio Galletto

A berry tart is a great summer dish for a picnic or large gathering.
A berry tart is a great summer dish for a picnic or large gathering. 

Baked quail

Serves 4

When I was growing up in Italy, my cousin, Adriano, who lived next door with my Uncle Tunin and Auntie Fortuna, used to bring us gifts of quail or other small birds during the hunting season. This is the way my mother used to cook them – it is simple and quick to prepare, but really tasty.

Pancetta wrapped around the quail keeps them moist.
Pancetta wrapped around the quail keeps them moist. 

Quail meat is delicate and very lean, sweet and not gamey or strong at all. The birds benefit from having pancetta wrapped around them to keep the meat moist and some strong herbs like rosemary and sage to flavour the potatoes. Of course you can simply roast the quails without the potatoes and serve them instead with soft polenta and perhaps silverbeet or bitter greens sautéed in olive oil and finished with red wine vinegar.

8 quail

8 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly squashed

Lucio Galletto has gathered together some tempting Italian treats.
Lucio Galletto has gathered together some tempting Italian treats. 

1 pork and fennel sausage, skin removed

12 sprigs rosemary

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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 80 g pancetta, sliced

125 ml extra virgin olive oil

6 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

6 sprigs sage

60 g butter, cubed

 175 ml dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Wash the quail well under cold running water and dry them thoroughly. Into each cavity place a garlic clove, some sausage meat, a sprig of rosemary and some sea salt and pepper. Wrap each quail with 2 or 3 slices of pancetta. Pour enough olive oil into a roasting tin to cover the base, then add the quail. Scatter the potato around the quail and season with salt and pepper. Tear up the remaining rosemary and the sage, and scatter around. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and top with the cubes of butter.

Roast the quail for 10 minutes, then sprinkle over the wine and roast for a further 30 minutes. Serve hot, with finger bowls.

Berry and mascarpone tart

Makes 1 24cm tart

This beautiful summer tart is perfect for large gatherings and picnics.  I have suggested topping the tart with mixed summer berries, but it works well with most fruits, particularly figs if you are making it in autumn.

This recipe makes enough pastry for two tarts, because one is never enough – and you can freeze the other portion of pastry for several months, ready for the next time you have guests.

1 egg

1 egg yolk

80 g caster sugar

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

finely grated zest of 1 orange

1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped

30 ml Cointreau

500 g mascarpone

fresh berries, to serve

Sweet  pastry:

500 g plain flour, sifted

170 g pure icing sugar, sifted

250 g chilled butter, chopped

3 eggs

For the pastry, mix together the flour and icing sugar in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture has a sandy consistency. Add 2 of the eggs and use a flat-bladed knife to mix lightly, until combined. Press together to form a dough, then divide in half. Shape each half into a ball and cover in plastic film. Place one in the fridge to rest for 1 hour, and freeze the other one for later.

Spray a 24 cm loose-based fluted tart tin with cooking oil. Place the chilled pastry on a floured surface and roll out to a very thin circle, about 4 cm larger in diameter than the tart tin. Line the tin with the pastry, pressing  it gently into the sides. Pinch the excess pastry 1 cm above the rim of the tart tin, then place in the fridge for 1 hour to rest.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Line the pastry shell with baking paper, fill with baking beads, uncooked rice or dried beans and blind bake for 25–30 minutes until golden brown. Take out of the oven and remove the paper and weights. Beat the remaining egg and lightly brush over the pastry shell to seal the surface, then return to the oven for a few minutes to cook the egg. Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, trim any excess pastry with a sharp knife. Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C.

To make the filling, use a balloon whisk to beat the egg, egg yolk, sugar, lemon and orange zest, vanilla seeds and Cointreau in a large bowl until just combined. Add the mascarpone and whisk until combined. Fill the cooled pastry shell with the mascarpone mixture to about three-quarters full. Bake for 1 hour or until the surface looks set when you give the tart a gentle shake. Arrange the berries on top. Enjoy!

The Art of Traditional Italian, by Lucio Galletto. (Lantern, $59.95.)