Chefs Riccardo and Gabriele Ioanna prepare exquisite meals at their restaurant inside their hotel Ri.Ga’. Riccardo’s worldwide culinary experience and five-star chef ratings make his kitchen a marvel in Biccari. His brother’s pizza receives praise that some chefs could only dream. We selected two recipes to try at home, until you can plan your trip to Biccari and visit the brothers at Ri.Ga’.
White Lasagna with Mushrooms and Zucchini
For the Lasagna
- 16 oz lasagna sheets
- 6 oz mozzarella, shredded
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
- 5 oz wild mushrooms sliced
- 14 oz Cremini mushrooms chopped
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tbsp red wine
- 1 zucchini cubed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- black pepper
For the Bechemel Sauce
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 4 cups milk, warmed
- black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
To make the bechemel sauce: In a large pan melt the butter over a medium flame being careful not to burn it. Add the flour and whisk until it becomes a thick paste. After a few seconds, add the warm milk and keep whisking until the milk begins to boil. Turn the flame to low and slowly keep whisking until the flour has completely melted and the sauce starts to thicken. When the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large pan, drizzle some olive oil and add the garlic, thyme and the mushrooms. Sauté over a medium flame for 8-10 minutes, until browned. Add the red wine and allow it to evaporate, then season with salt, nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary and cook until the mushrooms are soft. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool down.
In the same pan, drizzle some olive oil and add the zucchini. Sauté for a few minutes, then season with salt and black pepper and add some water to the pan. Cook until the zucchini becomes translucent. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool down.
To assemble the lasagna, pour two tablespoons of the bechemel sauce on the bottom of a square baking dish with high borders. Add a layer of lasagna sheets, another even layer of white sauce, then spread around the vegetables and top with some of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat for 4 layers. On the top layer, add some more mozzarella and finish with a layer of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F for about 40-45 minutes.
Venison Osso Buco
- 4 pounds whole venison shanks
- coarse salt
- black pepper (freshly ground)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
- 2 medium stalks celery (finely chopped)
- 2 large cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 3/4 cup red wine (preferably burgundy/pinot noir or zinfandel)
- 2 lb fresh diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ lb potatoes, small
- 4 cups beef broth (homemade)
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Season the venison shanks with coarse salt and several grinds of freshly ground pepper. On the stovetop, add the butter and olive oil and heat a large heavy pot over a medium-high flame. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the venison shanks two at a time and brown them on all sides. Transfer the browned shanks to a platter.
Reduce the flame to medium and sauté the chopped onion until golden brown, adding a little more olive oil if necessary. Add the chopped carrot and celery and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute. Stir in the red wine and deglaze the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes, rosemary and thyme to the pot. Return the browned shanks to the pot along with any juices that have accumulated on the platter.
Cover the pot and braise in the oven until venison is tender. After about two hours, remove from the oven to give each of the potatoes a little mashing to allow them to absorb the sauce. If the venison has not become tender, just keep cooking, it should take about three hours.
When the osso buco is tender, remove the shanks from the pot to a warm platter. Put the pot on the stovetop over a high flame and bring the pan juices to a boil. Allow them to reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl to make a simple gremolata. Place the osso buco on a serving platter, topped with sauce and several sprinkles of the gremolata.