A while ago, I was talking to a friend about a woman he had met. Apparently during the course of their date, she had pulled out a vial of something mysterious and said that she had the secret of sex appeal in the vial. The tiny vial contained drops of an intoxicating fragrance that would assuredly make anyone within olfactory range instantly lustful.
I think it was even the fact that she thought so hard about it and went to so much trouble to invent it that turned him on. I asked him what he thought of her and he declared her "insanely sexy." I told him that if I could invent something frivolous, it would be either something to give anyone sex appeal or help people lose weight or cure baldness.
Another thing that is sexy? Italian food. It's vibrant, full of colour and flavour and bold and flirtatious. Even the act of eating spaghetti causes us to purse our lips together as if blowing someone a kiss. There are milky white mozzarella balls and passsionate red sauces. One of my favourite fiery items at the moment is nduja. It is a spicy Calabrian sausage in a spreadable form-scarlet red in shade and unapologetically spicy. Many delis and butchers are now stocking it and you can buy it in a sausage form and add it to pasta or top pizza with it or just eat it on toasted bread.
I took my cue from the latter and most common way of eating it. Needing to make Mr NQN some bread rolls for lunch, I decided to make some rosetta shaped rolls filled with nduja. You can make these rolls by folding over the dough and once it baked, it expands and resemble a rose to help create a hollow inside. More commonly nowadays they use stamps to get a decorate effect on top. I didn't have a rosetta stamp so I set about making the stamp markings with a knife and an apple corer for the circle and also tried the folding over method to see which I liked best. I liked the folding method as it allowed me to fill them with nduja. Plain is good too and you can serve the plain ones warm with a pot of Nutella or your favourite sweet or savoury spread. It was a day of experimentation on the photography end too as I played with my favourite 30mm Sigma prime lens.
Rosetta rolls are usually quite hollow on the inside and crusty on the outside and getting the hollow is quite difficult if you don't have a steam oven (which I don't have). So these are not as hollow or crusty also because Mr NQN doesn't like crusty, hollow bread preferring soft, dense bread. And if you fill these with nduja well then all the better as everything is better with nduja or a lick of Nutella at the end. I found it hard to stop at just one of these rolls, the spicy, flavoursome sausage filling the whole roll with a burst of flavour at every mouthful.
So tell me Dear Reader, what or whom do you find sexy or alluring? And which cuisine is the sexiest to you and why?
![Italian Rosetta Rolls (http://images.notquitenigella.com/images/italian-rosetta-rolls-with-nduja-nutella/a-rosetta-roll-4-1-1.jpg)
Italian Rosetta Style Rolls (With Nduja & Nutella)
Makes 10 small rosetta rolls
1/4 cup lukewarm or blood temperature water
2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
2.5 cups plain/all purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 - 3/4 cup water
1 cup nduja (if you are filling with this or you can make these rolls plain)
You can also use a spray mist bottle to spray some water on the rolls to create steam.
Step 1 - In a small bowl, add the water and sugar and then sprinkle the yeast on the surface. Cover with cling film and allow to rest for 10 minutes so that the yeast activates and bubbles.
Step 2 - In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour and salt-set aside. Once the yeast mixture has become bubbly add the olive oil to it and add this to the flour mixture along with the water-the exact amount depends on the flour so don't let it get too wet and add it watching it come together. Knead by hand until it becomes elastic or use a dough hook and knead it for 4 minutes until elastic.
Step 3 - Shape into a ball and oil the bowl and place back in the bowl lightly oiling the dough ball on top too. Cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place for 1-2 hours or ideally overnight on the countertop at room temperature until at least doubled in size. If you don't have a warm place, I find it helpful to put the large bowl in another bowl of warm to hot water to encourage the dough to rise.
Step 4 - When risen, punch the dough down and knead lightly. Roll out the dough into a 1.5 cms thickness onto a clean, floured surface and cut out rounds using a round cookie cutter. It is a fairly soft, pliable dough so you should be able to roll and re-roll this at least one or two times more. Place some parchment on a large baking tray. If you are doing the fold over style, save some extra dough for the centre piece. I made two types of rosetta rolls, one filled with nduja and one plain that would be served with Nutella. If you are making the markings on top method it is very easy. Just use a sharp knife, cut in fairly deeply (but not right through) and for the centre circle, I just used an apple corer and you can also use an icing tip.
Fill with nduja
Fold over one part aiming for the centre
Then overlap another
Then keep folding and overlapping until finished
Step 5 - To make the folded over filled rosetta, roll out the round til thinner and about 10 cms/4 inches wide and then spread some nduja on it (warm it first as it can be hard to spread otherwise). Keeping the centre of the disc in mind, pick up one part of the dough and fold it over so that it reaches the centre. Fold over the dough until the centre filling is closed up and use a little square or round of dough on top as the centre of the flower. Allow to rest for 30 minutes in a warm place and preheat oven to 230C/446F. Place in the oven and spray lightly with water to create steam and bake for 5 minutes and then turn down the oven heat to 180C/350F and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.