Cream puffs

The cream puff is a small casing, soft, puffy, and golden (empty inside) that you can fill with sweet and savory creams. In Italian is called bignè, tesrm that derives from the French "beignet" which, in turn, comes from a Celtic word meaning "swelling". It is prepared with a special pasta, in French called «choux». This can be baked in the oven (in this case you will get the cream puffs to be stuffed, also called bignole), or it can be mixed with other ingredients (pieces of vegetables or shellfish) and fried in a pan. Again it will look like a swollen and golden pancake.

Here is how to prepare the pastry, based on flour, water, butter, and eggs which, to give a satisfactory result, must be worked following precise rules and respecting the doses:

1 Fill a quarter of a saucepan with water and with 3 ounces of butter; the liquid is brought to a boil, then the container is removed from the heat for a moment and a pinch of salt is added.

2 Add 4 ounces of sifted flour into the water, all at once, and mix vigorously immediately. The container is then put back on low heat.

3 Continuing to stir until all the lumps are perfectly dissolved, the mixture is cooked until it forms a ball that must be detached from the sides of the container making a slight sizzle as if frying.

4 It rises from the heat and allows the dough to cool down. 3 large eggs are added to the cold mixture, one at a time, incorporating them carefully and not adding the next one if the previous one is not amalgamated. You can also use the electric whisk which will give a greater lightness to the mixture.

5 Grease a plate and arrange on it piles of compound well-spaced (triple the volume during cooking) and cook at 370°F for about 15 minutes.

6 When cooked, the puffs should be golden, puffy and empty inside. Once cold they can be stuffed and glazed.

Linguine with Clam and Tomato Sauce

This clam sauce features fresh tomatoes for added sweetness. It's best with small clams like littlenecks, or what the Italians call vongole veraci. If you can't find fresh clams, use bottled.

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