Spaghetti crema pomodoro e funghi

Spaghetti crema pomodoro e funghi

Mushrooms are a healthy addition to any diet, because they are low in calories and fat, high in fiber, and contain high amounts of potassium. Any gardener interested in growing their own food can grow them indoors, where the temperature and light conditions can be easily managed. For best results, follow these 5 steps. 1) Choose what kind of mushroom you would like to grow. The easiest are oyster mushroom, champignon, and shiitake. Each mushroom type has its own nutritional needs, but the growing methods are similar. 2) Buy mushroom spawn which is used to facilitate growth. 3) Make sure the growing medium is warm, because the heat encourages the growth. 4) After about 3 weeks, you need to place the mushrooms in a dark and cool environment, like a basement or an unheated room. Keep the soil moist by spritzing it with water and covering it with a damp cloth. 5) Harvest. In about 3 weeks, you should see small mushrooms appearing. Clean the mushrooms properly before cooking.

Ingredients: 

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced

250 gr/ 1/2 pound mushrooms

a handful of sun-dried mushrooms

500 gr/ 17 2/3 oz passata di pomodoro

1 dl/ 0.4 cup cream

salt and black pepper to taste

fresh basil

freshly grated Parmigiano

Penne or some other pasta of your choice

Spaghetti crema pomodoro e funghi

Instructions: 

Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion becomes golden. Add the mushrooms and keep frying until they release their juices. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and mix well.  Pour the passata di pomodoro in the sauce and reduce the heat.  Let it simmer for ca. 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the cream, but don’t let the sauce boil any further. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta without rinsing it and mix with the sauce. Add the basil leaves and sprinkle with Parmigiano.

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Pesce spada e menta

Pesce spada e menta

Mint is a grossly misunderstood spice. We are used to having it in toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash, or even in chocolate candies, but actually it is a bright and sweetly refreshing spice with a subtle presence. As a culinary herb, it goes well together with basil and parsley, and oftentimes Italians use it in combination with both. Like in this recipe, mint’s coolness can be used to cut the intensity of a rich sauce and to sweetly compliment the acidity of the tomatoes. In Italy mint grows everywhere, wild and untamed, but it is also heavily planted to prevent erosion. Next to flowers and vines it is used decoratively, too. If you are inspired to use mint in cooking, you can try for example panzanella (tomato and bread salad). Alternatively you can enjoy some mint after dinner by tossing it together with frutti di bosco (forest fruit).

Ingredients: 

2 eggplants, cut into cubes

olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

300 gr cherry tomatoes, halved

400 gr swordfish, cut into 1 inch cubes

salt and pepper to taste

casareccia or other pasta corta of your choice

a handful of mint leaves

Pesce spada e menta

Instructions:

Cut the eggplants into cubes and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on them. Set them aside for 1 hour. To remove the sea salt, shake the cubes gently. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant cubes thoroughly over a medium heat for ca. 10-15 minutes. Set them aside and let them dry on a paper towel.

In a separate pan, saute the minced garlic and add the halved cherry tomatoes into the mix. Cook for a few minutes and then add the already fried eggplant, and the swordfish cubes. Continue frying for another 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and mix it right away with the sauce and serve immediately. Garnish each plate with fresh mint leaves. Any leftovers can be enjoyed cold the next day.

Spaghetti ai frutti di mare

Spaghetti ai frutti di mare

Spaghetti ai frutti di mare (Spaghetti with Fruit of the Sea) is one of the dishes that is known all over Italy, but the best versions can be had on the coastal regions, where fresh seafood is readily available. Nothing beats locally sourced seafood that has been prepared with the reddest tomatoes of the season, and is offered to you with a glass of beautiful white wine. Fast and easy to prepare, the pasta sauce simmers in its own juices, some white wine and fresh tomatoes. You only need to cook spaghetti, sprinkle some parsley on top, and you will have a night to remember. This is a proven success story.

Ingredients:

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

olive oil

500 gr/ 1 lb seafood mix (mussels, shrimp etc.)

1.5 dl/ 2/3 cup dry white wine

5 tomatoes, sliced

fresh flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper to taste

spaghetti or spaghettini

Spaghetti ai frutti di mareInstructions: 

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the minced garlic. Fry for a moment without burning the garlic cloves and add the seafood mix. Lower the heat and add the sliced tomatoes and the dry white wine. Let the sauce simmer on a low heat until it thickens. Season with fresh flat leaf parsley, and salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and mix it thoroughly with the sauce. Garnish each plate with some parsley and serve immediately.

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.

Pasta verde

Pasta verde

Sometimes it’s good to get creative! This refreshingly different pasta recipe features a new vegetable, broccolini, which is a hybrid of broccoli and kai-lan a.k.a. Chinese broccoli. It is similar to broccoli although it has smaller florets and long, thin stalks. The taste of this newcomer – developed in Japan in 1993 – is similar to broccoli and asparagus. And you definitely can’t complain about its nutritional values, because it is high in vitamin C and also contains vitamin A, calcium, folate, and iron. The second creative aspect of this dish is the recipe for the pesto. This Ligurian delight is traditionally made with basil, garlic, pine nuts with olive oil and Parmigiano. This time around the basil gets replaced with the strong taste of the rocket. At the end you will have a pasta plate that awakens your palate to a whole new world of endless possibilities.

Ingredients:

40 gr/ 1 2/3 oz rocket

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

50 gr/ 1 2/3 oz Parmigiano, freshly grated

salt (optional)

olive oil

2-3 tbsp pine nuts

130 gr/ 4.5 oz pancetta, in cubes (optional)

400 gr/ 14 oz broccolini

black pepper to taste

penne rigate

Instructions:

Pesto di rucola: Mix the rocket, garlic, Parmigiano, the pine  nuts and olive oil in a blender. If needed, add salt. The end result should be creamy and smooth. The pesto can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

The pasta: Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the pancetta cubes and fry them over a low heat. Add the rinsed broccolini and continue frying for ca. 4-6 minutes until the broccolini has softened a bit. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Mix the pesto with the pasta, and arrange the pancetta cubes and the broccolini on them. Sprinkle some black pepper and serve immediately.

Pasta verde

Penne alla Norma

Penne alla Norma

“Pure Goddess, whose silver covers these sacred ancient plants, we turn to your lovely face unclouded and without veil…”

As the story goes, Nino Martoglio, a famous Sicilian poet, writer and theater producer was enjoying this typically Sicilian pasta dish, and he was so enamored by the wonderful taste that he exclaimed: “this pasta is a Norma”, referring to the opera by a fellow Sicilian Vincenzo Bellini and its titular character, Norma. The word Norma was synonymous with perfection, and the nickname stuck. It is safe to say that Nino Martoglio had not exaggerated the qualities of this dish, it is remarkably fresh and fine –  a true Norma…

“Temper, oh Goddess, the hardening of you ardent spirits temper your bold zeal, scatter peace across the earth thou make reign in the sky…” 

(lyrics to Norma’s aria Casta diva)

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized eggplants, sliced

sea salt

olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3-5 Roma tomatoes, sliced

handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded

salt and pepper to taste

60 gr/ 2 oz ricotta salata

penne (or spaghetti)

Instructions: 

Slice the eggplants and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on all the slices. Set them aside for 1 hour. To remove the sea salt, gently shake the slices.

Prepare the pasta sauce by sauteeing onion and garlic in a pan. Once the onion has softened, add the sliced tomato and continue frying for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the eggplant slices in a separate pan. Mix the fried eggplant slices with the tomato sauce, and season with salt and pepper and fresh basil leaves. Cook the sauce down and check the taste. Cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with boiling salted water. Serve with ricotta salata, if not readily available, substitute it with Parmesan cheese.

Penne alla Norma

Mezzi rigatoni con crema di ceci

Mezzi rigatoni con crema di ceci

Tuscans love chickpeas, ceci, so much so that in the coastal areas of Livorno and Pisa a chickpea flour cake has been named boldly as ‘gold of Pisa’. But this protein bomb is a good source of zinc and folate and can assist in lowering of cholesterol in the bloodstream. It is also one of the earliest cultivated pods, and in the Middle East they have found remains that were 7500 years old. By the Bronze Age chickpeas were already known in Italy. The ancient Romans found some good use for them and roasted them as a snack or cooked them into a broth. This creamy pasta dish mixes the subtle characteristic taste of the chickpeas with tomato and fresh rosemary. You get the best results by serving it with short hollow pasta.

Ingredients: 

2 cans (à 265 gr/9 1/3 oz) chickpeas

olive oil for frying

1 onion, sliced

3-5 garlic cloves, minced

120 gr/4 1/3 oz bacon, sliced (optional)

1 can peeled tomatoes

fresh rosemary, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

mezzi rigatoni or other hollow pasta

Mezzi rigatoni con crema di ceci

Puree 1 can of chickpeas in a blender or a food processor until smooth. Set aside. Saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the bacon slices and continue frying. Add the pureed chickpeas and mix well with the onion and garlic, then add the peeled tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and fresh rosemary. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add water if necessary. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente in a pot filled with salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and mix it with the chickpea sauce. Garnish each plate with fresh rosemary and serve immediately.