Risotto all’affumicata

Risotto all'affumicata

The full and delicious taste of this risotto will undoubtedly warm your heart and soul. In this recipe the smoked pancetta is combined with another smoked item, Provola affumicata cheese from Southern Italy’s Campania region. Smoking is actually a process to preserve, flavor and cook food by exposing it to smoke from wood or other burning or smouldering materials. Different types of meat, like pancetta, and fish are the most common smoked foods, although cheese and vegetables can be smoked, too. Smokehouse temperatures for cold smoking are typically between 20-30 C/68-86 F. Cold smoking can be simply used as a flavor enhancer because the food is smoked just long enough to give it some flavor, and the foods are still cooked, either by baking, grilling, roasting, or sautéing, before eating.

Ingredients:

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

100 gr/ 3.5 oz smoked pancetta, in cubes

2.5 dl/ 1 cup risotto rice

1 liter/ 4 cups vegetable stock

80 gr/ 3 oz smoked Provola affumicata cheese, thinly sliced

250 gr/ 9 oz champignon mushrooms, sliced

salt and peper to taste

Risotto all'affumicata

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Saute the smoked pancetta, onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes golden. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the grains become glassy. Little by little, pour some vegetable stock into the pan. Keep stirring. After about 15 minutes the risotto rice is cooked al dente. Add the sliced smoked cheese and mix well.

Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms lightly in a pan until they release their juices. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the risotto rice without cooking it any further with the mushrooms. Serve each plate immediately with a pinch of ground black pepper.

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Farfalle fave, pancetta e pomodorini

Farfalle fave, pancetta e pomodorini

Simplicity is central to the Tuscan cuisine and fancy sauces aren’t needed because Tuscans use pure, strong flavors and the freshest ingredients. Many dishes have peasant origins, and ingredients like legumes, bread, cheese, vegetables, mushrooms and fresh fruit are commonly used. Different types of beans, like fava beans that are featured in this recipe, have long been a big part of the diet as well. Tuscany is also the most famous wine zone in Italy, producing wines like Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Chianti and Chianti Classico, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This particular recipe is an everyday pasta dish that is fast and easy to make. Pancetta provides you with something the chew, and the cherry tomatoes are a fresh addition bringing some color into the mix. Pecorino Romano cheese  is used instead of Parmigiano.

Ingredients: 

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

140 gr/ 5 oz smoked pancetta

2 small cans of broad  a.k.a. fava beans

5 dl/ 2 cups vegetable stock

farfalle pasta

250 gr/ 9 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

salt an pepper to taste

freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

fresh thyme

Farfalle fave, pancetta e pomodorini

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion until it becomes golden. Add the pancetta cubes and continue frying for a few minutes. Add the fava beans and the vegetable stock and let the sauce simmer for 10-15  minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain.

Once the fava beans have softened and the liquid has been reduced, add the tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer for a minute or two, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the sauce with the cooked and drained pasta. Garnish each plate with fresh thyme and freshly ground Pecorino Romano.

Pasta carbonara primavera

Pasta carbonara primavera

Guanciale is Italian cured pork cheek or jowl. The name is derived from guancia, which is Italian for cheek. To make guanciale, you rub pork cheeks with salt, sugar, and spices (typically ground black pepper and thyme or fennel and sometimes garlic) and cure it for three weeks. Because it’s largely fat, guanciale has a more seductive pork flavor and delicate texture than other pork products, such as pancetta, which is a common substitute. Guanciale is traditionally used in dishes like pasta carbonara and all’amatriciana. It is a delicacy of central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio, and not necessarily readily available in other regions. Here, green and crunchy peas have been added to the typical carbonara flavor. Although the addition of vegetables is not in common in Italy, they are often used elsewhere.

Ingredients:

100 gr guanciale, diced

penne pasta

2 egg yolks, beaten

freshly grated Parmigiano

freshly grated Pecorino Romano

salt and pepper

Instructions:

In a pan without any oil, fry the sliced guanciale on a low heat. Once the pieces have browned, add the peas and cook for further 5-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with a lot of black pepper, then add the mix of parmigiano and pecorino cheese. The consistency of the mixture should be paste like.

Meanwhile, cook the penne al dente in a pot of salted boiling water.

While the pasta is boiling, take one or two spoonfuls of the cooking water and add them to the egg yolk mix. Whisk until the mixture becomes creamy.

Add the cooked pasta into the guanciale and peas mixture, then turn the flame off and add the creamy egg yolks. Mix well and serve.  Sprinkle some parmigiano and pecorino on each plate.

Pasta carbonara primavera

Risi e bisi

Risi e bisi

In its heyday, the powerful maritime state of Venice had contacts with both the inland and diverse and faraway counties and cultures. Therefore the culinary tradition of the city is full of outside influences. Baccalà (dried salted cod) is of Baltic origin, and various spices, black pepper in particular, were very important imports from Asia. The roots of risi e bisi (rice with peas) are in the Arabic world. Soon after its introduction, rice became an integral part of the local cuisine. No one really knows if this dish is a risotto or a soup – the jury is still out on that. But it is, nonetheless, an excellent and nutritious dish to be had especially when fresh peas are in season. This particular recipe interprets risi e bisi more as a risotto, and it is prepared with ham blocks and white rice. Parmigiano gives it a finishing touch.

Ingredients: 

white rice

olive oil

3 shallots, sliced

250 gr/ 8 2/3 oz peas

100 gr/ 3.5 oz ham blocks

salt and pepper to taste

freshly grated Parmigiano

Risi e bisi

Instructions: 

Cook the rice in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain and set aside, but keep it warm.

Heat olive oil in pan and saute the shallots lightly until they soften. Add the ham blocks and the peas and cook further for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the rice together with the peas and ham and the freshly grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Cannelloni

Cannelloni

Cannelloni  – large tubes stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese and baked in a tomato or cream sauce – is one of the most iconic Italian recipes. Originally from the Emilia Romagna region, this dish is prepared all over Italy and beyond. This particular recipe with minced beef, chicken and pork is one of the most traditional ways to prepare this delicate and delicious first course meal, but there are endless variation options. Cannelloni can be prepared for example with spinach and ricotta, or with more adventurous fillings, like shrimp and cream. You can also prepare it in advance, and just pop it into the oven when you’re ready to eat. Cannelloni can be stored in the fridge, sealed in an airtight container, for about 2-3 days. Serve cannelloni with a refreshing salad, and make sure you enjoy the taste of every single bite – it tastes like summer’s first peach.

Ingredients:

Filling:

2 Italian pork sausages, casing removed

1 chicken fillet

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parma ham

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parmigiano

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste

200 gr/ 7 oz minced beef

1 egg

Pasta:

300 gr/ 10.5 oz flour

3 large eggs

(alternatively, ready-made cannelloni)

Béchamel sauce:

5 dl/ 2 cups fresh milk

40 gr/ 1 1/3 butter

30 gr/ 1 oz flour

freshly ground nutmeg

salt to taste

25 gr/ 2/3 oz grated Parmigiano

Tomato sauce: 

olive oil

salt to taste

fresh basil leaves

300 gr/ 10.5 oz passata di pomodoro

On top:

Parmigiano

Cannelloni

Instructions: 

Start with the pasta. Put the flour in a large bowl, make a hole in the middle where you place the eggs. Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, saute the onion until it becomes golden and add the minced beef, sausage, Parma ham and the minced chicken. Continue frying for a few minutes, stir occasionally, and season with salt and pepper. If the pieces are too big, you can grind them in a mixer or a food processor. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool down before adding the eggs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Knead with your hands. At this point the mixture should be fairly dry.

Prepare the tomato sauce by heating olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and the passata di pomodoro. Cook for ca. 10-15 minutes over medium heat, then take the pan from the heat and add the fresh basil leaves. Prepare the Béchamel sauce.

Cut the already prepared pasta sheet into 10 rectangular sheets. Boil the sheets in salted water for about 3-4 minutes, and drain. Let them rest on a clean cloth.

Put some of the filling into the center of each pasta sheet, then roll them shut. Place the rolls into a baking dish and pour some tomato sauce over. Once you have filled all the rolls, pour the Béchamel sauce over, then add a few tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce. Finish by sprinkling Parmigiano. Bake the cannelloni in the oven, preheated to 180C/355F, for about 40 minutes. Let the cannelloni rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Cannelloni

Ragù (Pasta bolognese)

Ragù (Pasta bolognese)

Pasta bolognese – or simply just ragù, like it is known in Italy – is a complex sauce which involves a variety of cooking techniques. There is plenty of room for creative interpretation, and it seems that every cook has their very own version. Common sources of differences include which meats to use (beef, pork or veal) and what form of tomato – and how much – is employed (fresh, canned or paste). Cooking liquids can also differ from broth to tomato juices, or from wine to milk. The simmering time of the sauce can also vary from one hour to five. The earliest documented ragù recipe hails from the Bologna region, and the first printed version appeared in 1891. Traditionally the Bolognese sauce is served with broad and flat pasta shapes, like tagliatelle or pappardelle, and sometimes with penne or rigatoni.

Ingredients: 

2 onions, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 celery sticks, finely chopped

500 gr/ 1 lb minced beef and pork

2 Italian sausages, casing removed

salt and pepper to taste

a pinch of chili powder

a pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated

250 ml/ 1 cup red wine

750 ml/ 3 1/3 cups (biological) passata di pomodoro

tagliatelle, pappardelle, or pasta of your choice

freshly ground Parmesan cheese

Ragù (Pasta bolognese)Instructions: 

Saute the finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery together with the minced garlic in a pan for about 10 minutes. Add the minced meat and the sausages and continue frying. Season with salt and pepper, and chili powder and freshly ground nutmeg and pour the red wine. Let the wine evaporate before adding the passata di pomodoro. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer on a very low heat for about 3 hours. Don’t forget to stir the sauce every 5 minutes, or when needed. Serve with tagliatelle or pappardelle, or some other pasta of your choice. Sprinkle freshly ground Parmesan cheese on top.

Paella

Paella

Paella, a rice dish similar to risotto, originates from Valencia on the Spanish east coast. Contrary to a popular belief, it is not a Spanish national dish, but rather a Valancian fare deeply rooted in its regional culture. There are three different types of paella: paella valenciana with rice, chicken, rabbit and beans, paella de marisco with rice and seafood without green vegetables, and paella mixta with a combination of meat and sea food together with a variety of vegetables. Paella’s popularity spread in the 20th century and the dish acquired influences from other food cultures outside Spain. Now a mixed paella can include a wide variety of ingredients, such as meat, sausage, seafood, vegetables and seasonings. The mixed paella and its numerous variations remains very popular all over the world, although in Valencia, only the Valencian and the sea food paella are considered authentic. This particular paella mixes the grill taste of the chicken drumsticks with the refined sea food taste and the yummy vegetables. If you have leftovers, serve them cold the next day. Paella’s taste doesn’t improve by reheating it.

PaellaIngredients:

4-6 chicken drumsticks

125 gr/ 4.5 oz bacon

olive oil for frying

3 dl/ 1 1/3 risotto rice

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

5 dl/2 cups chicken stock

3-5 tomatoes

white pepper

paprika powder

3-4 bay leaves

1 red bell pepper

200 gr/ 7 oz peas

140 gr/ 5 oz large cooked and peeled shrimp

200 gr/ 7 oz mussels

freshly ground lemon pepper

fresh lemon, in slices

Instructions: 

Fry the chicken drumsticks slowly in oil and bacon. Add the risotto rice and continue frying until the rice grains become glassy. Add the sliced onion and minced garlic, mix well, and continue frying until the onion softens. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer on a low heat and season with white pepper, paprika powder, and bay leaves. Once the chicken is cooked through, and the rice is cooked al dente, add the bell pepper and the peas, and at the end the already cooked shrimp and the mussels. Check the taste and garnish with slices of fresh lemon. Serve immediately.

Paella