Parmigiano flan, pumpkin sauce, broccoli, and balsamic vinegar of Modena IGP

Today’s culinary journey presented by Apicius culinary students and faculty features Tuscany’s neighbor to the north: Emilia-Romagna!

This delicate yet flavorful dish highlights some of the best ingredients that the region offers in a symphony of taste that’s savory with a hint of sweetness.
   

Béchamel prep

120 gr white roux
1 liter fresh milk
10 fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks into a golden color without becoming brown. Add the fresh milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and the fresh thyme. Lower the heat and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Flan prep

350 gr of the previously prepared béchamel
150 gr     Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
egg whites from 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Combine the béchamel and parmigiano reggiano. Add salt and nutmeg to taste. Whip the egg whites and gently fold into the mixture. Butter individual ramekins and pour in the mixture. Bake for 10 to max 15 minutes.

Pumpkin sauce prep

1 kg pumpkin, deseeded
300 gr leeks, thinly sliced
Vegetable stock as needed
10-20 gr fresh ginger
1 bay leaf

Cut the pumpkin into wedges and bake at 160° C with 30% humidity for 25 minutes. Meanwhile sweat the leeks in olive oil and butter without browning them. Remove the rind from the pumpkin, chop the pulp into a small dice, and add to the leeks. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat without adding moisture. Add salt. Add stock to cover and the bayleaf, continue cooking until soft. Puree with a blender adding olive oil and balancing the natural sweetness with grated ginger. The resulting puree must be very smooth. Strain and salt to taste.

Broccoli prep (for garnish)

100g of broccoli

Chop the broccoli into small pieces and steam cook for 5 minutes. Make sure they’ve become soft by testing them with a fork, but not too overcooked. Set aside and add salt and olive oil to taste. 

Plating the dish

Add first the pumpkin sauce at the base of the dish, then place a flan on top of the sauce. Place broccoli around the flan and add a few drops of balsamic vinegar to finish. Buon appetito, or as they say in the Emilian dialect, “bon aptît!”