Sformato of porcini
“I am a big fan of soft sformati, which are a kind of Italian custard made with a béchamel (white) sauce. Almost any vegetable can be turned into a sformato: mushrooms, zucchini, capsicum, eggplant – you name it. They are vegetarian and can be served cold as a starter or as a main course accompaniment. They save my life whenever vegetarians are in for dinner. Porcini are Italian dried mushrooms. They are expensive, but you only need to use a few. You could also use porcini oil, which has some merit if not allowed to get too old and oxidised. A few drops can increase flavour.”
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, finely chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g beef mince
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Large pinch ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons SPLENDA® Granular
Soak the porcini mushrooms in twice their volume of warm water for about 10 minutes to reconstitute them. Squeeze dry and combine with the cultivated mushrooms.
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms. Cook until the liquid has reduced and then purée in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Mix the mushrooms with the béchamel sauce, egg and parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and pour into 6 lightly greased plastic dariole moulds (which are available from many supermarkets) or ceramic soufflé ramekins.
Fold a tea towel and place in the bottom of a deep baking tray. Arrange the dariole moulds in the tray and pour in enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of the moulds.
Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until set. The sformato should be fairly firm to the touch.