Bring a taste of Tuscany to the table with these Florentine pancakes
Traditionally, fine white ‘00’ flour is used for the pancakes but we like to use nutty flavoured buckwheat, which, despite its name, has no connection to wheat.
It is related to the rhubarb family, is very nutritious and contains no gluten. This recipe makes slightly more pancakes than you need, to allow for a few mishaps!
For the pancake batter:
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 150g buckwheat flour
• 550-600ml milk
• extra-virgin olive oil or lard, for frying
For the filling:
• 250g cooked, squeezed and finely chopped spinach
• 250g ricotta
• 25g grated parmesan
• 1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
• freshly ground black pepper
• 400g Homemade tomato sauce or Fresh tomato passata
• 500g Béchamel sauce
• 25g grated parmesan
1 To make the pancake batter, whisk the egg, salt and flour together in a large bowl, then gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until you have a very smooth batter the consistency of single cream.
2 Let it stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or longer in the fridge – overnight is fine).
3 Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing the ingredients together in a bowl and adding seasoning to taste.
4 While you fry the pancakes, leave a whisk in the bowl, as you need to stir the mixture thoroughly each time you add some batter to the pan.
5 Wipe a little oil in a 25 cm non-stick frying pan using a halved potato on a fork or a piece of paper towel. Pour in 75 ml of batter with a ladle or small measuring jug, swirling it around the pan to coat the base evenly.
6 Fry the pancake over a medium–high heat for 2–3 minutes, flipping it over when one side is lightly browned to cook the other. Transfer it to a plate.
7 Fry the rest of the batter in the same way, stacking the pancakes on the plate as you make them. While you are frying the pancakes, preheat the oven to 180°C.
8 To serve, spoon half of the tomato sauce or passata and half of the béchamel onto the base of an ovenproof dish. Spread each pancake with 3 heaped tablespoons of the ricotta and spinach filling, covering half the pancake then rolling it up.
9 Lay the pancakes in the dish. Top with the remaining tomato sauce or passata, followed by the béchamel.
10 Scatter over the Parmesan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese has started to brown on top.
Recipe courtesy of Katie & Giancarlo Caldesi, extracted from Tuscany