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!

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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? 😉

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.

Bulgur salad

These days in the city flats are already too hot – don’t want to think about July. So it’s time for summer food: low-fat, low spicy, cold and rich in raw vegetables food.

On Thursday I made this dish: it’s a bulgur salad with tomatoes, black olives and asparagus.

I boiled the bulgur in salty water (1,5/2 espresso cups for each person), I strained it and cooled with cold running water.

I put it in a salad bowl and I added 1 big tomato sliced in little pieces, some olive cut in half, 2 asparagus very finely cut, 4 chopped fresh mint leaves, some chopped parsley and basil. I dressed with salt, extra virgin olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon.   (Thanks to Lizzie, my english host, for the idea of bulgur salad with lemon juice.. first time I saw it was weird for me, but I have to admit it’s brilliant!).

It was fantastic and truly refreshing!