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Mushroom Pie

  • ½ lb short pastry
  • lb mushrooms
  • 3 oz butter
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup bechamel
  • 1 ¾ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • onion
  • garlic
  • pepper
Butter a metal oven-dish with wavy edges of about 8 inches in diameter; line with the sheet of dough to a thickness of about 0,2 inch, prick all over, cover with some thin white paper, fill with dried peas, and put into a moderate oven. Remove after 15-20 minutes (it should be barely colored), remove the peas and the sheet of paper, leaving the crust in the oven-dish. Brush with beaten egg and leave in the oven doorway for a couple of minutes to dry the pastry. After this procedure, the crust may be filled. Cut the mushrooms into thick slices, sauté them in the butter for some seconds, add the chopped mixture of onion and garlic, mix, and as soon as the mixture is lightly golden, douse with Marsala wine. Allow to evaporate and reduce the mixture. At this point, pour in the cream, season with salt and pepper, continue cooking over high heat for 5 minutes, taking care to mix often, and then mix in the light béchamel. Cook for some seconds, then fill the crust with this mixture, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan and melted butter. Put into a hot oven. Serve when the surface has become nicely golden.
 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Two cheeses

Per 4 servings:

  • ¾ lb ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz Provolone cheese
  • 3 ½ oz ham
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • frying oil
  • salt and pepper

FOR PASTA

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ oz lard
  • egg
  • 1 lemon
  • salt
Prepare the filling by mixing together the ricotta, egg yolks, prosciutto and cubed provolone in a bowl. Add chopped parsley, salt and a pinch of pepper. Mix well, until smooth. On a cutting board, form a well with the flour. Add the eggs, lard, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Mix together with a fork, and then knead by hand for 15 minutes until you have a smooth, firm dough. Stretch our the dough, making a thin sheet. Place balls of filling across half of the dough. Make sure that they are not too close together. Cover with the other half of the sheet of dough and press down around each ball to seal. Cut out the “fritters” using a round pasta-cutter. Fry in boiling oil, then place on paper towels to drain. Serve hot. (My personal variation is adding some smoked ham….a touch of taste more spicy)…
 
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Posted by on August 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Leek? Yes, better than onions….

INGREDIENTS (per 4 servings)
  • ¾ lb reginette pasta
  • ¾ lb prosciutto cotto (cooked ham), cut into 2 slices
  • 2 leeks
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup bechamel
  • 1 ½ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
PREPARATION:

Clean the leeks by removing the green part.
Cut them in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/10-inch strips.
Then, cut the ham into ½-inch cubes. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a fairly large pan and saute the leeks for a minute.
Add the diced ham and fry for 3 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour the wine and let evaporate over high heat for 3 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is smooth.

Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente: reserve a cup of cooking water.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce pan. Also add a couple tbsp of cooking water.
Cook over medium heat: add the beschamel, stirring for a few moments, and finally add the Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serve hot.

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Tuna for summer

Serving 4:

  • ¾ lb spaghetti
  • lb fresh tuna fillets
  • salt to taste
  • 2 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Fry the fresh tuna fish in olive oil until it becomes golden, then drain it and salt it. Prepare a tomato sauce and when it is cooked to perfection, add the fried tuna cut into small pieces, along with a generous helping of chopped parsley. Cook together for 10 minutes, over a low heat, and then dress the spaghetti taking care to put on every plate some sauce and tuna fish.

To make it more “siclian style” you can add on top of each plate some chopeed pistacchio….

FOOD HISTORY

Tuna is one of the most characteristic fish of the Mediterranean. Fished for thousands of years, the methods for catching the fish have developed over the centuries. The traditional “tonnara”, of tuna hunting with large nets, has been repaced with museums, restaurants and tourist attractions.
In Sicily, however, there are still two tuna hunts near Trapani: one in Bonagia and the other in Favignana.
Here, you can witness the “mattanza”,  the ancient passage of the large from the Atlantic to the Mediteranean at the end of spring.
Over 300 kilos of fish are caught in the large nets attached to boats with out motors. The chief, or “rais”, sings ancient Sicilian songs, giving the fishermen his orders. Leftover from an archaic world, the tuna hunts are almost impossible to understand. They are a combination of tradition and superstition, a fight for survival and desire for wealth. A tragic, one-of-a-kind show.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Spring salad

Per 8 servings:

  • ½ lb potatoes, boiled
  • ½ lb lentils
  • ½ lb chickpeas
  • 1 spring cabbage
  • mustard
  • white wine vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt
  • ground pepper

Preparation: Thinly slice the cabbage. Wash and dry well. Place on a serving dish. Rinse the chickpeas and lentils of their soaking liquid. Drain beans well and place them on top of the cabbage. Peal and cube the boiled potatoes, then toss with the rest of the salad. Puree at high speed, 1 tbsp white wine, 1 tsp mustard, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup oil. Pour the emulsified sauce on the salad and finish with a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Millefoglie

Millefoglie is the Italian version of the French pastry Mille-feuille, which means “thousand leaves”. Millefoglie is a layered cake that can be filled with a number of delicious treats in several ways.

INGREDIENTS per 4 servings

  • 1 lb puff pastry
  • oz confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ stick vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ oz sugar
  • oz all-purpose flour
  • 4 ½ oz whipping cream
  • oz confectioners sugar
  • 12 strawberries

GARNISH

  • 4 strawberries
  • confectioners sugar to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet and gently roll it out into a 12 inch piece with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Place it into a large buttered baking sheet, and prick it all over with a fork. Trim any overhang of the pastry with a knife. Cut each sheet into rectangular pieces measuring 3 x 1.5 inches. Sprinkle them with sugar and then bake in a heated oven at 350° F until the pastry is puffed and golden (approx 15 minutes). Let it cool on the racks.

TO PREPARE THE CHANTILLY CREAM:

Boil the milk being careful to not burn it.
Whisk the egg yolk and sugar, add the flour and continue to mix. Pour in part of the hot milk in order to obtain a smooth cream. Add the vanilla stick, allowing it to aromatize the mixture and add the remaining milk very slowly. Cook over moderate heat and keep mixing until it is thickened. Let it cool quickly. Whip the cream and add it to the Chantilly Cream.

On the serving plate, spread part of the cooled pastry cream mixture over one puff pastry cake base.  Make a second layer, repeating the previous step.

Cover it with a third puff pastry cake. Decorate the top and the plate with cubed strawberries, and powdered sugar (or you can put strawberries on top of each layer too).

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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March – part two

A while ago, I found an old photo of me and one of my aunts, too early taken from us. I shared the photo on the WhatsApp group of the “cousins”, and to some it was new ….thus the idea of getting together one day to share family photos and stories. The occasion presented itself the saturday before Easter, and my cousin S invited us for lunch……Three were missing, one living in the US and two being abroad for a short vacation…We had really a great time, sharing memories….adjusting memories…. sharing a meal and so much love….just us, no children, no partners, just the inner circle of us….

God….I’m blessed!

Easter morning, a walk through the streets of Fontanellato, but the Street Food Festival didn’t met our expectations for a different Easter lunch…..

so instead we called a aunt who previously announced she would have been thrilled if we were going to lunch……..glad we did!

Full, we had to digest all that, so we rejoined daughter and bf, to explore the area around….A nice surprise was the old, deserted Church of San Carlo, dating back from early 1700, but very sadly almost completly ruined…..and in spite of our search, not too much was available to learn more about it….

but all the magic was there………..such a waste!

Then we drove to the near village of Roccabianca. The Rossi Castle was open and for free………

This imposing stronghold was built between 1450 and 1465 by Pier Maria Rossi as a gift for his beloved Bianca Pellegrini. Originally surrounded by a moat, it has a rectangular structure with two bastions and a high central tower and despite the damages of time, it still preserves its forceful appearance. On the ravelin, it displays the coat of arms of the Rangoni and Pallavicino families that took possession of the castle after the collapse of the Rossi family.

 

 

The interiors once boasted a cycle of frescoes depicting the Life of Griselda, inspired by the 100th novella of Boccaccio’s Decameron. Little remains today of it: the walls and vault of the room, together with the Pier Maria Rossi astrological cycle attributed to Nicolò da Varallo and his school have been detached and reassembled in the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Thanks to long restoration works due to the last owner, cavalier Mario Scaltriti, the castle has been recently reopened to the public.

Tastings of typical products of the Road of Culatello and free tastings of local homemade liquors are also available by prebooking as well as (for children) the marvellous world of Fairy tales.

Easter Monday, up in the hills, we met with a couple of friends in another little village around a castle, Torrechiara.

It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been there, the charm is still there…..and I guess it will ever be…

Last time I entered the little church at the foot of the castle, was for our friends’ wedding, 31 years ago….I didn’t remember it at all….

Back to our friends home/farm (he produces and sells olive trees and olive oil along with some fruits plants), just above the castle, where we had dinner together….

So April, bring it on….will you live up to March?

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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