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Monfettini squacquerone, pears and cinnamon, from Osteria dei Frati con amore

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To talk about this dish I have to start from afar. I have to tell the story of a woman, me, who was in love with a tavern and its cheeses. Over the years she had grown fond of the owners who had now become friends of hers. Renato Brancaleoni and his daughter Anna taught me a lot while I was at the table in their restaurant, in particular how to understand and know how to taste a cheese.
Then came the moment when Renato and Anna decided to dedicate themselves to other things, new important projects, and decided to leave their place to be managed by others. I overlook my reaction to the news because I am self-conscious but when I found out I was sure that I would hardly return to Osteria dei Frati.
And instead to take charge this place of the heart three people arrived who were absolutely on par with the previous ones, who captivated me with their cuisine, with their competence and above all with the joy of living that only Valentina, Giorgio and Emanuela they can convey me to a plate.
To say that I am fond of him is an understatement, going up to Roncofreddo for me is like hiding in my favorite refuge: smiles, chatter (lots of chatter!), quality products, dishes full of tradition but not only that, Giorgio in the kitchen is for me a “hunter” of old recipes that he transposes into a new guise.
And the idea for this dish is entirely Giorgio's and it helps me better than many words to explain the cuisine ofOsteria dei Fratimonfettini with squacquerone, pears and cinnamon.

But what are the monfettini? I'm a Romagna soup with many different names: manfrigoli, baffucci, gratini, battutini, beaten pasta and dozens of other nicknames, all for a type of traditional, economical “pasta”, the result of the art of making do. Many different names, few basic ingredients: white flour or polenta flour and water, but also eggs in the richer version. A firm dough that is cut into slices and left to dry on the cutting board until just before preparing lunch or dinner. Then each slice is chopped with a knife, a bit like you would parsley. This “chopped” pasta was normally combined with broth, a poor broth made of bones or beans and was enriched with sautéed onion and pork fat or oil.
And here comes Giorgio's creativity in recovering this poor pasta format, treating it like a risotto and seasoning it with local products combining them with cinnamon. I didn't receive the recipe from him, let's say I made it my way but the chef at the Osteria loves to explain where a dish comes from and where the product he uses comes from. As well as Valentina who never abandons you in the dining room, he gets a smile, a word and a laugh from you even if you are sad and if you don't know a dish he tells it to you almost as if it were a fairy tale… in short he enchants you.

Maybe this weekend I'll go up to Roncofreddo, I haven't been to the Osteria table for over a month and I really need to be pampered.
Happy weekend!

Monfettini squacquerone, pears and cinnamon

240 g of spelled flour
2 eggs
1 small white onion
1 not too ripe pear
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
150 g of squacquerone
Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
cinnamon to taste

Prepare the dough by mixing the flour with the eggs for a long time, form a long loaf and cut it into slices. Leave the slices to dry on the cutting board for a few hours. When they have dried, make a “beaten” with the pasta and leave it aside.
Wash the pear and peel it, slice it and cut each slice into cubes.
Bring about half a liter of water to the boil and salt it. Prepare a mince with the onion and fry it in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil. Add the pear cubes, salt and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. When the pear has softened, pour a little boiling water into the sauce and add the monfettini. Stir continuously, as you would with a risotto and add a little boiling water at a time until cooking is complete. With the heat off, add the squacquerone and stir in a little Parmesan.
Distribute the monfettini on the plates and sprinkle each portion with a little cinnamon.

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