About a month ago I visited a friend in Italy. When I was there we went to a birthday cocktail party and they served, among other finger food, some delicious cheese and pancetta sformatini. They were served warm but when I went for seconds they were at room temperature and still tasted delicious. I made a mental note to try them at home as I had a recipe for basil sformatino. So why not add some peas and mint right?
Sformatino is a baked soufflé type of pudding which is bake in a bain-marie in the oven. Beating the whole eggs together aerates the mixture just enough to give it a little rise but the rest of the ingredients hold the mixture together so you still get a beautiful pudding without the disappointment of a soufflé gone wrong.
The good side of this is that you can make them ahead and they will always look good!
These puddings can also be served as a side with roast meats for example.
Cooking the puddings in a bain-marie adds moisture to them so it's well worth the extra trouble, but you can bake them without the bain-marie. —Maria Teresa Jorge
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 mint leaves
1 pinch of rock salt
In a small food processor, process the mint leaves with a pinch of rock salt (for grip). Add the vinegar and a little olive oil and process again. Finally add the remaining olive oil in a stream to get a thick vinaigrette. Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 325º.
With a pastry brush, butter individual ramequins or muffin tins - when buttering the sides bring the pastry brush in an upward motion - this will help the rising of the puddings.
Blanch the peas in salted water for 5 minutes. When done put in cold water to stop the cooking.
Sautée the bacon in the olive oil until crunchy. Remove the bacon from the pan and put on paper towel to dry.
Cook the onion in the same pan (don't throw away the fat from the bacon) until translucent. Add the peas and toss with a pinch of sugar and allow the sugar to dissolve and caramelize a little. Remove from heat and cool.
Keep 3 tbsp of whole cooked peas for later use.
In the food processor add the peas and onion mixture, mint, basil and half the cream and process until very smooth. Add the eggs and the rest of the cream and process again. Now add the parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg and process. Put the mixture in a bowl and add the whole peas and the sautéed bacon and mix by hand. Adjust the seasoning.
Fill the ramequins or muffin tins to 3/4 and put them in a tray. Fill to 3/4 with boiling water and cook (in a bain-marie) for 30 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Allow to cool on a cooling racket. With the tip of a knife go round the edges of the ramequin of muffin tin and gently push inside to help unmold.
Put each sformatino on a plate and drizzle some vinaigrette around and serve.