In Italy, ricotta is a staple ingredient. Italians are as likely to have ricotta in their fridge as they are to have flour in the cupboard. Sadly, in England the Ricotta isn't up to the standard of the Italian, mainly because it isn't fresh. It even varies across Italy, when I was in Bari (which is in the south of Italy) the ricotta there was pure heaven - so good that you could eat it all by itself.
However, moving away from ricotta and back to the subject in hand (I will expand on the many wondered things you can make with ricotta later). One of my favourite things to buy in a Panetteria, are these round biscuits with Nutella (or jam inside - but why would you have jam if there was chocolate on offer!), and now that we had the Nutella in the fridge it was a good excuse to make my own. These biscuits are buttery and crumbly and utterly divine. I have also had these biscuits in a pastry cup shape filled with Nutella and then sprinkled with roasted hazelnuts. I had these one weekend in a little cafe in Monterosso (one of the Cinque Terre villages). Here's a picture of it. Yes, I've had some first to check it was good enough to be worthy of a photograph of course and not because I just couldn't wait to eat it!
BISCOTTI SABLE CON NUTELLA
Makes 9 biscuits
For the Biscotti Sable:
250g plain flour
150g castor sugar
2 tablespoons of milk
3 egg yolks
A pinch of salt
For the middle:
About 200g of Nutella
1) To make the biscotti sable put all the ingredients into a food processor (put the flour in first as this helps to stop the wet ingredients sticking to the bottom and flour spraying everywhere). Whizz on a low speed until all the ingredients are combined and it comes together as a dough.
2) Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the freezer for 15 minuites to chill it. This will help stop the cookies spreading when they are put in the oven.
3) Roll the dough out on a floured surface, to about a cm thick and cut out 5 cm circles.
4) Place on a lined baking tray. Cut 2 cm holes out of the middle of half of the biscuits (these are to go on top). Place in the fridge again as the dough will have warmed up as you cut out the cookies, for 5 - 10 minuites. This is a good time to turn the oven (200C) on and let it heat up while the cookies are in the fridge.
5) Put the cookies into the oven and cook for about 5 minuites. When the biscuits start to turn a golden colour, they are done. By removing them this early from the oven, it means that they will still be crumblely when you bite into them. Cool.
6) When they are cooled, spread Nutella on the biscuits without the holes in them. Make sure you go right to the edges so he filling can be seen when the biscuits are stuck together. Then place the biscuits with hole on top. Using a teaspoon fill the hole in the the biscuits with Nutella. Enjoy !