1.29.2014

Ratatoille

  • When I was in France I made sure to buy the best vegetables I could find!
    Ratatoille is a classic French recipe. Is easy, inexpensive to make and very healthy. You can eat as an antipasto, only dish or as a side dish for any kind of meat. I enjoy eating the Ratatoille in summer days with a good piece of pugliese bread and a nice glass of wine. Ratatoille is very well paired with red wines, but is also great with a rose or a light red such as Bardolino. The only hard thing about this dish, is doing the dishes. French recipes tend to use a lot of pans. That's one difference between Italian and French cooking. Italian cook for ten people and use one pan, the French cook for one person and use ten pans!
    • 2 eggplants, cut into cubes
      4 tomatoes, diced
      5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
      ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
      1/3 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh basil
      ¾ cup loosely packed, chopped flat-leaf parsley
      2 white onions, thinly sliced
      3 red or yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
      3 zucchini, cut in cubes
      1/3 cup dry white wine
      Salt & Pepper


      In a large saucepan, cook the tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, basil, and parsley, uncovered, over medium heat.
      In a large skillet, sauté the onions and bell peppers in a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned vegetables to the tomato mixture.

      In another frying pan, sautè the eggplants.
      In another one the Zucchini. 
      When all the vegetables are brown (better if is crispy), transfer all to the tomato mixture, put the fire on high and add the wine and cook for 5 minutes. After that add the herbs, salt & pepper.









1.28.2014

Cantucci - Biscotti

· 4 cups of Flour (Extra if needed)
· 1 teaspoon of Orange zest
· 1 teaspoon of Honey
· 2 cups of Almonds 
· 2 ¼ cup of  Sugar
· 1/2 cup of butter, melted
· 6 eggs (4 eggs and one yolk for the 
dough and an egg to brush the cookies)
· 1 tea spoon baking soda or 2 tea spoon baking power
· 1 pinch of fine salt

1.
Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F;

2. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and toast them for a few minutes;

3. Sift the flour and baking powder or baking soda 
ogether and set aside;

4. In a large bowl mix the four whole eggs, egg yolk, salt, orange zest, honey and sugar (whisk until mixture is puffed and fluffy);

5. Add melted butter, mix well, then pour the flour sifted with baking powder and mix everything well. Add almonds.

6. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead it with your hands until you have ball. Divide it into two or three parts of equal size, depending on the desired size of the corners. Get two or three long loaves about 30 centimeters and transfer to a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

7. Brush the dough with slightly beaten egg and bake 20 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and cool.

9. Slice to get cookies of about 1-1.5 cm. Place them back on the cookie sheet and bake at 170˚C/350˚F 10-15 minutes.

10. Let them cool before serving. They can be stored several months in a tin box.



1.23.2014

Arancini Siciliani

                                          Arancini Siciliani

Ingredients for the rice:

1 finely chopped onion
 1 finely chopped garlic clove

Olive oil
Saffron (about one gram depending of the quality)
500g Arborio rice
100g of Pecorino, Grana or Parmiggiano greated
3 egg yolk
1.2 litter of vegetable/chicken or meat stock
30g of butter
Two bay leaves
Salt & Pepper to taste

Ingredients for the filling:

200g of minced meat (can be beef, pork or veal)
½ chopped onion
80g of peas
40g of tomato paste
25g of butter
1 cup of red wine
1 Scamorza cutted in cubes
Chopper parsley
Salt & Pepper to taste

Extra ingredients:

Eggs
Breadcrumbs
Sunflower oil or you can use ½ olive oil ½ sunflower oil to fry
 

Method

Rice:

Fry the onions and garlic; add the rice and hot stock (about 1.2 liters).
Add the saffron, bay leaves and more water if necessary.  When the rice is cooked, turn the heat off and add the cheese, butter and the egg yolks.  Mix very well to

make sure the rice is a sticky consistency.                                     

Meat:

Fry the onion with olive oil and butter, then add the meat, when the meat is brown add the wine.  After the wine reduces add the tomato paste diluted in one cup of water.  Add salt, pepper and parsley and let cook until the water evaporates for at least 20 minutes.

While you cook the meat, in another pan, fry the peas with olive oil.  Add the peas with the meat when the meat is cooked.

With the rice not to hot, make the Arancini like the picture bellow, then breaded the arancini with eggs and breadcrumbs two times.

Fry the Arancini in sunflower oil until is golden and crispy.











1.14.2014

Pane tricolore


1 cup of white beer
1 table spoon of fresh bread yeast
 2 table spoon of sugar
1 table spoon of salt
3 to 4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 table spoon of spicy paprika
2 table spoons of pesto

Step 1:
In a big bowl add the yeast and sugar. Let the sugar to dissolve the fresh yeast.  
Add the beer, the flour and the salt.


Step 2:
Getting it together
Mix until it's stodgy, then you can be more aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Flour your hands and pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour. (Certain flours need a little more or less water/beer, so feel free to adjust.)

Step 3: kneading!
This is where you get stuck in. With a bit of elbow grease, simply push, fold, slap and roll the dough around, over and over, for 4 or 5 minutes until you have a silky and elastic dough. When you have an elastic texture add the olive oil divide the dough in three pieces and in two of the pieces add the paprika and the pesto, then gently and make the baguettes.

Step 4: Breeding
Breed the bread and let rise for about two hours!

Step 5: cooking your bread
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Don't slam the door or you'll lose the air that you need. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. You can tell if it's cooked by tapping its bottom – if it sounds hollow it's done, if it doesn't then pop it back in for a little longer. Once cooked, place on a rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.







Grissini

         1 packet active dried yeast or one cube of fresh yeast
            1 tsp sugar
            1 1/2 cups warm water
            4 cups plain flour
            1/4 cup Olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh Basil
            1/4 cup Parmiggiano, grated
                        2 tsp salt
 Place the yeast, sugar and water together in a bowl and set aside 
till frothy - takes approx 5-8min. Then sift the flour and salt into a 
bowl and stir in the yeast mixture along with olive oil.
 Knead well into a pliable dough.
Roll it out on a floured surface and knead for 10min. It should be soft 
and elastic.
 Roll out into a circle and fill in the center with chopped Basil and Parmesan. Can add some minced garlic too.
 Bring the ends up, close the filling and knead well till the filling is well incorporated all over the dough. Place in a well oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. It will double in size.
 Now take the dough into 12 pieces. If you want it very thin, then it will yeild approx 25 pieces. Now roll each of the pieces into a long stick about 12 inches long. Place on a greased baking sheet and top it off with more Parmiggiano.
 Bake for 15-20min or until golden in a preheated Oven to 400F.

 
 
           

Ravioli with dill filled with olives and lemon sauce


Dill dough:
3 eggs
1 table spoon of dried dill
300g/0.66 pounds of 00 flour (cake flour)


Using a fork begging mixing in the egg with the flour and dill.  Once egg has been mixed in enough, begin using your hands to work the dough.  Continues until reaches a smooth consistency, adding a light dust of flour if necessary.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap to protect from drying.  For best results, let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes.

Olive filling for ravioli

100g/0.22 pounds of black olives paste
100g/0.22 pounds of ricotta
Salt & Pepper (if necessary)

Mix the ingredients in a bowl.

Lemon Sauce

1 cup of heavy cream (panna)
3 Tbls of olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 juicy lemon
1 lemon zested  
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, sauté the onions until lightly browned.  Add the cream (Panna), the lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste.  If the sauce is too thick, add small spoons of the water from the pasta that is cooking.  Add the al dente pasta to the sauce and sauté for a minute.  The pasta is ready to be served.    

1.08.2014

Calzone

Calzone

Easy Calzones make for a fun lunch or dinner. A calzone is like a stuffed pizza pocket, filled with all the classic toppings – meat, cheese, and your choice of sauce wrapped in Pizza Dough.

Prep a handful of these to have on hand throughout the week. The Calsone reheat really well and are perfect for packing work or school lunch. You can also make a big quantity and freeze them.


Ingredients for the dough:

2 cups 0 flour (bread flour)
1 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon of fine salt
1 cube of fresh yeast
1 tbsp of sugar
5 tbsp olive oil
1 cup of warm water


Recipe:
1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast with the sugar by adding the two together and mixing a little with a fork.  Add the warm water, salt and then the flour.  Begin mixing with your hands very well and transfer to a tabletop to continue mixing and working the dough. 

2. Kneed the dough and sprinkle with flour when it sticks to your hands or as needed for texture.  Open the dough and make some holes with your fingertips, add the olive oil to the dough and continue to mix.  Now put back into a clean bowl and allow the dough to “proof” or rise.  Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel or some kind of cover and place in a neutral temperature area (not in a drafty area).  The yeast will begin to raise the dough.

3. After about one hour, remove dough and cut into portions desired.  With your hands, gently make balls with the dough (using flower generously) and allow them to rise for another 30-60 minutes.

4. Now with dry hands, make the disks with your hands and try to keep uniformity in dough thickness as you open the dough for the pizza.


5. Make your Calzones with what ever you would like inside. Below there is some suggestions.
Bake for about 20 minutes.

Here is the list of the flavors you can use on your Calzone.

MARGHERITA – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil
MARINARA – Tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, extra virgin olive oil
CAPRICCIOSA – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, olives, mushrooms, artichokes, and/or whatever the chef desires
QUATTRO STAGIONI –Tomato Sauce, mozzarella, ham, olives, mushrooms, artichokes.
PROSCIUTTO CRUDO – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto
PROSCIUTTO COTTO – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham
BRESAOLA/PROSCIUTTO, RUCOLA e GRANA – Tomato sauce, bresaola/prosciutto, rocket, shaved Grana Padano
DIAVOLA – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, hot salami
FUNGHI – Tomato sauce,  mozzarella, fresh mushrooms
QUATTRO FORMAGGI – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, Grana Padano, gorgonzola, ricotta/taleggio/fontina/provolone
SALSICCIA – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, Italian sausage
TONNO e CIPOLLA – Tomato sauce, mozzarella, tuna and onion
GORGONZOLA e SPECK/PROSCIUTTO – Tomato sauce, Italian mozzarella, speck/prosciutto, gorgonzola

1.07.2014

Risotto with Porcini and Mascarpone

     
  • 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 cups of beef/chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice (I prefer Vialone Nano for this dish)
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh thyme leaves or rosemar
  • Balsamic reduction to decorate
  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 1. Combine one cup wine and mushrooms; let stand 5 minutes or until soft;

    2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat saute the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes. Add wine with the porcini, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes);

    3. Combine the rice;

    4. Add 3 cups of the broth to the rice; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

    5. Add one cup of wine, then if needs to cook more the rice 1/2 cup of stock at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 17 minutes total). When the rice is cooked, take out of heat and let rest for five minutes;

    6. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, mascarpone, parsley, salt, and pepper; stir gently just until the cheese melts.

    Top each serving with 1 tea spoon of mascarpone and parsley leaves, if desired.
  • Frying the shallots and garlic





  • Drinking the left over wine!



    When the rice starts to turn white, be careful with adding to much stock!

    Adding the Mascarpone!

    Classic and delicious!


    Buon Appetito!