Sea fruits risotto

sea fruits risotto

 

Ingredient list:

  • Carnaroli rice (no more than 120 g for a light and romantic dinner in couple)
  • Mixed sea fruits and shells, as you like, ready to cook (200 g) plus some beautiful ones to garnish
  • Parsley
  • Fish bouillon (you can easily make it with some fish and shrimps’ discard)
  • 1 garlic clove and a half
  • A small piece of onion
  • A glass of white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil, salt and ground black pepper

 

To make the fish bouillon, you can follow the procedure for the beef bouillon. Put fish discard, shrimps’ skins, etc. instead of the beef, and put parsley instead of the Juniper.

 

First, you need to prepare a pot with the boiling bouillon (strained). Then, in a pan make a soffritto with oil, the garlic clove (whole) and the chopped onion, and some leaves of parsley.

Allow the soffritto to brown, then add the rice and stir. Wait some minutes for the rice to roast, add the wine and stir again. When it gets dry, add some bouillon. Keep adding the bouillon, taste and add the salt, until the rice is semi-cooked. Meanwhile, carefully cook the sea fruits to garnish your dish in another pan with oil, garlic and parsley. Add the others sea fruits in the rice pan to cook them with the rice. Wash and chop some parsley leaves. Move the rice away from the fire when is cooked; stir in some ground pepper. You can keep it only a few minutes with a lid before eating it – 2 or 3 (for a S. Valentine’s dinner, I can suggest to move the rice from the flame a bit earlier and suddenly cover it with a lid, so it keeps going on while you are eating the appetizer – about 10 minutes). To serve, arrange the rice in the dishes, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and garnish with the sea fruits.

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Stuffed courgettes

A recipe I love making from June to October, when there are courgettes in the garden and you can pick them fresh just for your recipe, choosing the right size for.

For 16 half-courgettes you need:

8 medium size courgettes

300 g minced beef

1 egg

onion, celery, carrot

parmesan

parsley

nutmeg

butter, salt and pepper

 

Cut the courgettes into half and empty them with a spoon. Now, I prefer to boil them for 1 minute in water – so I’m sure they won’t be raw when they came out from the oven, but this is not necessary.

Grab a pan, put some butter (40 g) and brown into it a mix of 1 medium onion, a carrot and some celery finely chopped. Then add the minced beef and let it to cook for 15 minutes. When cooked, let it to cool down. If you prefer, you can use olive oil instead of butter.

When warm, mix into it the egg, some grated parmesan, some chopped parsley, a bit of nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Now put the courgettes over a baking tray covered with some olive oil and some tablespoons of water. Fill them with the mixture and put into the oven (180° C) for 40 minutes.
Serve quite hot and… bon appétit!

Salmon and cod hearts

Voilà a perfect appetizer for a romantic dinner!

You need:

– Slices of sandwich loaf

– 1 packet smoked salmon

– 1 steak cod

– cheese spread (like Philadelphia)

– parsley

– extra virgin olive oil

– salt and black ground pepper

– lemon

To make the stock:

– parsley

– 1/2 stick celery

– 1/2 carrot

– whole peppercorns

– some cloves

– 1 leaf bay

– a bit of rosemary

– 1/4 onion

– 1 garlic clove

– salt

 

Cod hearts

Prepare a stock with 700 ml of cold water, some parsley, 1/2 stick of celery, 1/2 chopped carrot, 3 whole peppercorns (I use the rose one), 4 cloves, 1 leaf bay, a little bit of rosemary, 1/4 of onion, 1 garlic clove and salt. Put the cod into it and let it boil for 20 minutes, until the cod is cooked. (You can filter the stock and use it to make a seafood risotto as main course, or freeze it for a later use).

Take away the cod from the stock and let it cool down. Meanwhile, toast a bit the slices of bread.

When the cod is quite cool, put it into a blender with some parsley, a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt and ground pepper. Mix it all and taste until it’s right of oil, salt and pepper.

Take the toast and cut them into hearts, using an hearth-shaped cookie cutter. Spread the cod cream over the hearts and cover with another hearth.

Salmon hearts

Cut other bread hearts, spread them with the cheese spread. With the same cookie cutter, cut some smoked salmon hearths. I used 2-3 slices one upon the others to cut the hearts. Put the salmon hearts over the bread and cheese hearts. Put over them some drops of lemon juice, if you like.

 

Dispose the hearts in a plate and serve it. Perfect with a glass of Spumante!

 

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? 😉

Pears and amaretti biscuits’ tart

I tried this recipe and I suddenly fell in love with. I love amaretti biscuits!

My grandfather did as well, so my grandmother still buys them despite he isn’t with us any more. So sweet ❤ 🙂

This is a simple tart. Of course, you can choose to buy the pastry and make it in 15 minutes… but I suggest to make it, the result is completely different, it’s well worthwhile!

To make the pastry I use:

– 250 g of white flour

– 125 g of butter

– 70 g of cane sugar (quite white)

– 2 yolks

– 1/4 dl of water (–> a little bit of water)

– 1 organic lemon

– salt

I mix a little bit of salt, the sugar and the grated peel of 1/2 lemon with the flour. I add the butter (softened) in pieces, the yolks and the water. I quickly knead the pastry and I put it into the fridge for half an hour.

It’s now time to make the top. I use:

– 4 pears (I post the picture because I don’t know how this variety is called in english. In italian these are “abbot pear”, an ironic way to call them because of their shape, that looks like a woman’s thigh). 

– 1 little glass of liqueur (Amaretto liqueur will be the ideal)

– 20-30 amaretti biscuits (it’s up to their height). Do you know they are done with bitter almonds, that are the peach seeds (yes, the little almonds into the peach stones)?!

– dark chocolate

I cut the pears in thin slices and I cover them with the liqueur.  I crumble the biscuits into the blend and I mix them with the juice that the pears do when I add the liqueur.

It’s time to put the pastry in the tart mould (with butter and flour or baking paper). I put the amaretti over the pastry, well spread; I cover them with all the pears’ slices. Then I put at the top some dark chocolate, roughly chopped. I put into the oven for at least 30-40 minutes (170° C).

The result is very nice and… very very tasty!

Quinoa balls with smoked provola and red peppers’ sauce

I found this recipe in a natural food’s magazine and I decided to make it. Quite weird, usually I read food magazines and, even if I find some interesting recipes, I forget them and the recipes.

I should firstly spend some words for the main ingredients.

Quinoa: do you know what it is? It’s a plant from south America, of the spinach’s family. We eat its seeds, and they look like couscous. It’s an important food for vegetarians because these little seeds contain all the essential amino acids in a good balance, like the meat. 

Provola, o scamorza: it’s a typical cheese of south Italy. It can be a smoked cheese. I think you can find it in the big supermarkets, among the italian cheeses (or you can use another one).

These are the ingredients for 3-4 people:

– 2 red peppers

– 150 g of quinoa

– 3 slices of stale bread

– milk

– 3 eggs

– 80 g of smoked provola/scamorza

– 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan

– 1 tomato

– 1/2 onion and 1 garlic clove

– breadcrumbs

– herbs: parsley, basil, marjoram

– ground pepper, hot pepper, salt, nutmeg, olive oil

I start with the red peppers’ sauce. I put 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the chopped onion, the garlic clove with its peel (in Italy we say “garlic with the shirt”) and some basil in a frying pan. After some minutes under a low flame, I add the sliced peppers and a little bit of hot pepper (without seeds) and I cook with a quite high flame. After 10 minutes I add the  sliced tomato (without peel and seeds). I let cook with a cover. I add salt and pepper, then I throw away the garlic and I blend it all.

I start to make the balls: I soak the bread into some milk. I boil the quinoa (I always read the instructions over the box). I crumble the soaked bread in a bowl and I add the cooked quinoa, chopped parsley basil and marjoram, the parmesan, the egg, nutmeg, salt and ground pepper. I add breadcrumbs to reach the good thickness to make balls with my hands. I make the balls and I put some provola cubes in each ball. I put the balls in a beaten eggs and in the breadcrumbs, then I fry them.

I serve them over the red peppers’ cream and some provola cubes.

To complete the meal, I serve a spring salad.

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!