When I lived in London there were several favourite Italian restaurants that I would frequent from time to time. Â There is something particular about entering such an establishment, the clamour and enthusiasm, the noise and bustle, the smell of herbs and garlic cooking that fills the air. Â Following the greeting and seating a proper treat awaits you. Â The grissini – slender, crunchy breadsticks all the better for gouging through the butter. Â Not as filling as the proffered focaccia but the perfect nibble with a glass of wine whilst perusing the menu. Â I love them and so do my family so we make our own.
Now I can’t pretend that dining in my kitchen offers quite the same experience. Â Different certainly but just as much fun I would hope. Â These grissini however are definitely up to those of nostalgic, rose or should that be frascati touched memory. Â Crispy, savoury and in this case taken to new heights with the addition of chopped rosemary. Â I serve these before and alongside lunch or dinner, take them on picnics and they are much in demand for packed lunches. Â Very delicious and moreish to eat and so easy to make. Â The rolling out takes me back to the days of plasticine and playdoh and is repetitive and relaxing, in a black clad Italian Mama sort of way. Â Think Sophia Loren….
Grissini with Rosemary
Children love making these which is always a help and last week, rather than making the traditional stick shapes, my daughter fashioned each dough snake into an initial to place in each diners place at the table. Â It looked charming and went down a storm.
250g plain flour
250g strong white bread flour
7g sachet yeast
7g fine salt
300ml lukewarm water
25ml olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
Preheat the oven to 200. Â Put both the flours, yeast and fine salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, turn it on and then add the water and oil until it comes together in a ball (you may need a drop more water). Â Leave it kneading away in the machine for 10 minutes, adding the chopped rosemary for the last minute so it is evenly mixed through the dough. Â Pinch off pieces the size of a large cherry and roll these out until about a foot long and pencil thin on a non-floured table or surface. Â Gently and with fingers splayed seems the best way to do this. Â Put them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 15 minutes. Â After this time they should be golden brown and crispy, leave to cool on a wire rack and then store in an air tight container. Â Makes around 40 grissini but if you get bored whilst rolling these out the dough will sit happily in the fridge for a day until you feel like making some more. Â Â I’d say they last for a week but I’ve never had any hang around for more than a day or two.
Finally, they make a fabulous present to take if you are going to friends for supper.