Beef bouillon

beef bouillon

 

This is the only italian bouillon recipe that my family has ever done. My grandmother taught it to my mother, my mother taught it to me, and I simply love it. And of course I’ll teach to my (future) children.

Just a few actions:

–         Fill a pot with cold water.

–         Put the meat in the pot. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, celery, carrot, peppercorns (I think black pepper has a too decisive taste, I prefer to use pink pepper, or green), cloves and 2 Juniper berries. The quantities you can see in the picture are for a small bouillon. Do not add salt.

–         Switch on the gas and allow it boil over a gently heath for a  minimum of 1 hour.

–         Allow the meat to cool down in the water (it will take back 10% of the water it lost in the cooking process).

That’s it.

You can eat the meat with sauces: the green sauce that I’m going to post, mayo, ketchup, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, tartare sauce, kebab sauce.

But what I really love, what I really want to eat, is the bouillon. Strain it from the vegetables and the spices and use it to make a perfect risotto; or simply cook into it a small pasta variety and serve this soup with a generous quantity of grated Parmesan.

A simple dish for a winter supper that won’t never, never delude me. Enjoy.

2LC: Porcini mushrooms and pumpkin macaroni

So happy to take part to 2 Little Chefettes challenge this month!! 😀

For this fabulous dish of macaroni, you will need (2 serves):

170 g macaroni

30-40 g dried porcini mushrooms

350 g pumpkin

1 garlic clove

half onion

1 teaspoon of home-made meat stock cube (click here for the recipe)

half glass of white wine

100 g single cream

1 sachet of saffron

1 piece of hot pepper

a bit of parsley

extra virgin olive oil and salt

Make the mushrooms to soften up in a cup of hot water. Wash, peel and cut the pumpkin in little pieces. In a little pan brown the chopped onion, the garlic clove (unpeeled but crushed a bit), the piece of hot pepper and the stock cube. Add the pumpkin, pour the wine, add salt and let cook. Crush the pumpkin with a fork, to make the sauce homogeneous, and if it needs more water for cooking, add the mushrooms water. When the pumpkin is cooked, add the mushrooms, roughly chopped, cook some minutes more and put out the heath. Then add the cream and the saffron, and throw away the garlic clove.

In the meantime, cook the macaroni.

Mix the sauce with the macaroni and serve with some parsley leaves and grated parmesan.

As we say in Italy… buon appetito!

Spaghetti alla carbonara

 

The traditional italian recipe of carbonara pasta from Italy.. because travelling abroad I’ve seen a lot of confusion about it 🙂

For 3 people, you will need:

300 g of spaghetti

2 eggs

100-150 g of chopped into cubes pancetta (sweet or smoked, it’s up to your taste)

ground pepper, ground nutmeg, salt

That’s all!

Put a big pot with salty water over the flame and let it boil to cook the spaghetti. Meanwhile, whisk 2 eggs in a bowl and add salt, pepper and nutmeg. In a little pan, cook the pancetta. Put the spaghetti into the pot, cook it “al dente”. When cooked , strain and, suddenly, put them in a pan with the eggs and the pancetta, strained from its fat. Mix over the flame, and when the eggs are cooked, move away. Serve immediately. Advice: test with grated parmesan, as we do almost everyday with our pasta 🙂

Enjoy!

Sardines Pasta – Pasta con le sarde

Voilà a famous Sicilian recipe!

These are the ingredients for 2 people:

– 150 g of spaghetti

– 150 gr of fresh sardines

– 40 g of fennel (to be clear, I mean Foeniculum vulgare)

– 1 sachet of saffron 

– a handful of pine nuts

– onion, garlic

– extra virgin olive oil, salt.

I start washing the fennel and boiling it in salty water for 5 minutes. It’s very important to keep the cooking water because I’ll cook the spaghetti into it! (I have to be careful here: I can easily forget it and throw away the water 😦 )

I chop the fennel, then I clean and wash the sardines (It’s a horrible job for me, so I usually try to find someone doing this for me, or I ask the fish monger for it). I brown the sardines in a frying pan with some oil, a little bit of chopped onion and 1 garlic clove. After 4 minutes, I join the fennel and some tablespoons of the cooking water, the saffron sachet, salt and, last of all, the pine nuts roughly chopped.

I cook the spaghetti in the cooking water of the fennel (and I add some more salt), I strain them and I mix them with the sauce.

Tasty, aromatic and healthy! What could be better? 😉

Pizza del cavolo – Cabbage Pizza

Today here in Piedmont it hardly rains and it’s quite chilly…. I’d like to eat this pizza.

I found this recipe in an italian food program, years ago. There was a big man, a fantastic baker from Rome, that really loves all kind of bread/focaccia/pizza and similar doughs. He’s so nice and he loves to eat! Next time in Rome, I’ll surely go to his pizzeria.

This is a different pizza. But fantastic. Very tasty and satisfying.You need: flour, brewer’s yeast, extra virgin olive oil, salt. Garlic, hot pepper. And some type of cabbage: cauliflower, broccoli, and other cabbage you choose (in all, 4 type it’s the ideal).

First step, you should have the pizza dough. I suggest different solutions:

a. to make it by hand

b. to let your breadmaker make it for you (if you have one)

c. to buy the dough at the bakery

d. to buy it at the supermarket.

Mine it’s b.

Second step: boil the cabbages in water and cook each variety in different frying pans with extra virgin olive oil, some garlic, a bit of hot pepper and salt. At the end, throw away garlic and hot pepper (if you can find them).

Stretch the dough and spread the different cabbages over it. Then, roll up your creation. Now, you can slice the roll and put the slices over an oven dish covered with baking paper. Cook in the oven at 180° C for 20-25 minutes.

Fabulous! Healthy, balanced, vegetarian, and not at all the usual boiled cabbage!

Home-made tagliatelle with asparagus and raw ham

Yesterday we had a guest for dinner, our friend Ilenia, so I decided to make a real dinner: hors d’oeuvre, main course, dessert. I cooked, Francesco stretched the tagliatelle pastry and the other Francesco, our  flat mate, did the washing up. A true teamwork!

Home-made tagliatelle are the best: they are good taste, with organic flour and fresh eggs and they contains a lot of love!

For them, I used 300 g of white flour, 3 eggs, a little bit of salt and 1/2 glass of water. I mixed all these ingredients and I kneaded the pastry. Then I let it rest for 1 hour. After that time, my boyfriend stretched it until 1 mm thick, and he cut it in bands of 1 cm large and 10 cm long.

Meanwhile, I cut the asparagus (I used 10 big, fresh and organic asparagus) : I trow away the bottoms and I laid aside the tops, I cut the high parts in little sticks and the remaining parts in normal bits. I cooked them in a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/4 of chopped onion.

I cooked the pasta for 3-4 minutes in a large pot with boiling water, salt and 2 tablespoons of oil (to avoid the pasta bands to stick together).

In the same time I cut the sliced raw ham in little bands.

I strained the pasta, I put it in a glass salad bowl ad I added the asparagus and the ham, and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. I served with grated parmesan.

Delicious!

Lasagna

Good morning!

Today I’d like to share here one of the most famous italian dishes in the world: the well-known lasagna.

Mine is a traditional italian recipe, and I like to think that is the best. However, each to his own taste. 🙂

To make lasagna you have to follow 4 steps: first, you make a Bolognese sauce (we call it ragù), then you make a béchamel. You cook your pasta, and finally you can assemble your fantastic creation.

Step 1: the Bolognese sauce.

You will need:

– 300 g minced beef

– 3 cloves of garlic

– 1 little branch of fresh rosemary

– 1,5 stick of celery

– 1 big carrots

– 1 glass of red wine (the best is a full taste italian wine)

– 2 tins of peeled tomatoes

– extra virgin olive oil

You start putting 3 tablespoons of oil, the rosemary and the crushed garlic cloves in a big frying pan. Then you light the fire under the pan. When the oil is hot, you put the minced beef and let it browns. After that, you put the carrot and the celery very finely chopped. You ix and after 5 minutes add the red wine.

This is the base of Bolognese, and the difference between a tomato meat sauce and the famous Bolognese: rosemary, garlic, celery, and carrot (and no onions!!).

You now have to add the 2 tins of tomato. Crush them, add the salt and let the sauce cooking. Usually I take away the sauce from the fire when it’s still a bit liquid.

Step 2: the béchamel.

You will need:

– 70 g of white flour

– 70 g of butter (salted or unsalted)

– 400 ml of milk and 300 ml of water. Yes, I make a mix between béchamel and sauce blanche – lasagna is already quite a rich dish. You can put all milk or all wather, if you like.

– Ground pepper, nutmeg and salt.

Warm up the milk mixed with the water. In a pot, melt the butter and mix the flour with it. Then, keeping mixing, add the liquid inch by inch. Cook for some minutes and take away when the sauce is still a bit liquid. To finish it, add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Step 3: the pasta. 

The best of course is to have a home-made pasta. You can make it mixing 300 g of white flour, 3 eggs, salt and warm water. You knead the pastry and you stretch it to make some pieces in the dimension of a DVD cover. You should have the pasta machine – or a rolling-pin and very good muscles because the pieces can’t be more thick than 1 mm.

Second choice: to buy the pasta. In Italy you can find the fresh lasagna pastry in the supermarkets’ fridge, but the dried lasagna pasta you can certainly find in all over the world is alright.

However the pastry, I always pre-cook it for some minutes in a large pot filled of boiling water, with 2 tablespoon of olive oil and some salt.

Step 4: to assemble the lasagna.

Take an oven dish and put some oil, a little dipper of béchamel and a little dipper of Bolognese. Spread it onto the bottom. Now you can put your first pasta coating, and cover it with béchamel and Bolognese. Repeat until you finish the ingredients. To the top, put a generous quantity of béchamel and Bolognese and grated parmesan.

You can finally put your lasagna in the oven!!! (180° C for 30-40 minutes) until the top starts to become brown.

Eat it hot and… bon apetit!