Category Archives: italian food

Moroccan-style pasta

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 23.08.14I used to feel like there’s nothing better and quicker to create tiny explosions of taste in a relatively simple dish that cinnamon or cumin. Or both. Then, it was Gino D’Acampo that introduced me to the crackling, satisfying feeling of toasted almonds in a dish, and he did it with his Moroccan – style pasta.

This recipe is very heavily based on Gino’s recipe in his book Fantastico!: Modern Italian Food – I’m saying “based” and not “taken from the book, simply because I have left out the coriander (which I simply cannot stand) and, quite frankly, am liberally seasoning the dish with cinnamon and cumin. One teaspoon is simply never enough. We also used tagliatelle.

We also almost omitted the oil (you will notice we only use about a teaspoon and a half at the beginning) because we are on a diet.

Stop laughing!

Stop!

OK, now that you’re all better, let’s move on.

We also #fooked*, because it had been a while and we had missed it! Those of you who are new to fooking, I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced

About 4-5 tomatoes, diced

Cinnamon and cumin

About 1 cup cooked chickpeas (we cooked ours)

About 100gr flaked almonds

About 250gr tagliatelle

Parsley

 

Preparation

Start by cooking the chickpeas, if they are not already cooked. You know, no salt while they are cooking, then add some at the end and don’t forget the lemon.

Add the onions with some oil in a deep pan and cook them for about five minutes, until soft and slightly brown. Add the diced tomatoes and the spices. Let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes have broken down, their juices are making a nice, thick sauce and the aroma is filling your house.

Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle and, in a small pan, toast the flaked almonds. That’s really easy to do, just put the almonds in a small saucepan over medium heat. Also remember to toss them every once in a while, because they will burn quickly if you don’t.

When your sauce is nice and ready, add the chickpeas and cook for a further five minutes. Or longer if you want. What you are looking for is for all the smells to integrate with the chickpeas. When it’s done, add the tagliatelle and the parsley (keep a little bit to add when you serve) and cook for another a minute.

When it’s done, serve it, add the almonds and some more parsley and serve immediately.

Enjoy it with some cold beer (Mr. S added some feta cheese too, but what else is new!)

As always, let us know what you think!

Grazie Gino!


 

* Cooking with the Foo Fighters


Delicious Onion Pie

onionpieLast week we went to this place on via del Corso in Florence that sells mainly pies. The place is called “Pulia” and sells mainly dishes pugliesi, i.e. from Puglia. Everything was great, but what really stuck with me was the onion pie.

It was actually called “onion pizza”, but looked like a pie, and the dough was focaccia dough, and it’s all very complicated, so I think I may just have to move on to the recipe, because the recipe is actually much simpler than explaining the pie!

 

So, there you have it:

Onion Pie

300gr flour

10gr fresh yeast or 3gr dry yeast

200ml tepid water

5-6 onions (or scallions, or both, I used 5 regular onions and 2 scallions)

2-3 anchovies

a handful of olives (NOT pitted olives, nobody likes pitted olives)

salt, pepper, oil

 

Preparation

Add the yeast in the water and just stir it around with your hand until it dissolves. Add it in the flour and mix it, forming a dough. Add about a tsp of salt, 2 TB oil and work your dough until it is homogeneous and just a tiny little bit sticky. Leave it to double for about an hour.

Meanwhile, and while your dough is rising, preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400F) and chop the onions in thin slices. Add some oil in a pan and add the anchovies. Let them dissolve in the oil and add the onions, with a little salt. Lower the heat to medium-low and let the onions cook for about 20 minutes, until they are nice and soft. Then add the olives and some pepper. Give it a stir and remove it from the fire.

Now your dough must be double in size and your oven warm. Oil a 30cm pan and your hands. Take the dough and divide it in half, making sure that one piece is slightly larger than the other (slightly!). Roll it in a round that fits the bottom of the pan and place it in your pan. Put the onion mix over the dough in the pan and roll the other piece as well. Place it on top of the onions and seal the edges. Brush some oil on the surface and sprinkle some salt and pepper over it. Put it in the oven and let it bake for 30 minutes.

When it’s done, let it cool and enjoy it. Maybe with some red wine. Or tea. Or coffee. Oh, who am I kidding, just have the pie!

And as always, let me know

onionpie1


Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu

strawberry limoncello tiramisu

I do not have a sweet tooth, but every now and then I get a craving for something decadent. When I do, I make sure it is not the most decadent thing in the world (diet!), but lacks nothing in taste – or appearance.

That’s the category strawberry and limoncello tiramisu falls under. It has the potential to be extremely beautiful and inviting, if you have the transparent glasses to put it in (which I didn’t) and is very tasty – with the refreshing taste of the strawberry sided with the kick of the limoncello and the sweetness and crunchiness of the ladyfingers.

We went to a friendly home last night and the strawberry and limoncello tiramisu was the best thing I could think of, to bring to the party. The sweetness and the freshness, the kick and the crunchiness, the harmonious combinations of all flavors and smells that come together in a glorious party of all senses, and the way it cleanses your mouth and your soul, well, it just feels like the perfect paragon of friendship.

This is even easy to make. It requires no baking (well… tiramisu!) but it does contain eggs, so make sure your eggs are of excellent quality and can be eaten raw.

 

Strawberry and limoncello tiramisu

Makes 4 individual glasses (about 200ml each)

 

Cream

250gr mascarpone cheese (if yours is a bit runny like mine was, use a bit more, but don’t overdo it)

a small espresso cup of limoncello (about 30ml)

30gr powdered sugar

3 egg yolks

 

Limoncello mixture

Zest and juice of one lemon (unwaxed, please, no one likes wax in their tiramisu)

6 TB limoncello

1 to 1- 1/2 TB sugar

About 5 TB water

 

Rest

250gr strawberries

30gr sugar

10 ladyfingers (or more, depending on the shape of your glass)

 

Preparation

First prepare the cream. Beat the egg yolks with the powdered sugar with a hand mixer until creamy. Add the limoncello and keep beating. Start to slowly add the mascarpone, a little at a time. At this point, you can either use the hand mixer or an eggbeater. I tried the hand mixer but was afraid it was beating it way too much, so I used the eggbeater instead. You know your mixture (and mixer) better.

If your mixture is runny, add a little more mascarpone. I had to add about 70-80gr more, because the mascarpone we bought was watery. Don’t add too much, though, the taste will change.

Put your cream in the fridge and let it cool. As it cools, it will also firm.

Now prepare the limoncello mixture. Add everything in a bowl and mix it together. Put that in the fridge as well. Easy, right?

🙂

Now chop the strawberries in small pieces, add the sugar and some lemon juice if you have any left from the lemon you squeezed for the limoncello mixture, and set it aside.

When you are ready to put everything together, take all of your bowls and plates, the ladyfingers, and start:

Cut one ladyfinger in half and immerse it in the limoncello mixture BRIEFLY. When I say “briefly” I literally mean for less than a second. Not figuratively, literally. It touches the liquid and out it goes. Then at the bottom of your glass.

Next comes a layer of cream.

Then a layer of strawberries.

Then another layer of cream.

Then take another ladyfinger, cut it in half and do exactly what you did with the first one. Put it over the cream layer.

Then add another cream layer.

Then add some decoration, maybe half a strawberry or a few strawberry pieces.

 

Your sweet indulgence is ready, for you and your friends to enjoy.

Let me know what you thought!

 

 


Pandoro

pandoroIt’s been a while since I wrote here, and that’s mainly because I’ve been crazy busy. Too crazy busy to even cook something right – No, OK, that’s a lie. I’ve been too crazy busy to photograph or take a video, but I’ve still been cooking like a crazy person.

That said, Christmas is just around the corner, and I couldn’t possibly not post a Pandoro recipe here. I haven’t made one yet, because – please don’t get mad – I still don’t have the right pan for it. That probably won’t stop me, so tomorrow morning I will go out and buy me a very deep cake pan and I’ll try my luck in there. That would be too late for you, though, and one Christmas without Pandoro is one Christmas gone forever.

Pandoro is one of Christmas’ Most Wanted dishes in Italian houses. In Italy, it’s origins are from Veneto (in the north) but in reality it comes from Austria, and more particularly Vienna. It has been completely integrated in the Italian tradition and is now a must-have. So much so, that an Italian acquaintance that’s spending Christmas in Greece almost had a heart attack when she realized we have no Pandoro and rushed to call her mom to make sure she would get one.

It is similar to Panettone minus all the dried fruit and raisins and it is shaped as an 8-point star and dusted with vanilla-sugar in a way that it is made to resemble the tops of the Italian Alps in the winter. So lyrical, right?

It is decadent and buttery and it can be devoured with gelato, cream, or the day after Christmas, while you’re sitting by the fireplace in your thick socks, drinking milk and resting your eyes. Or in your bed, with coffee, reading your favorite Neil Gaiman. Or whatever you’re reading, no pressure!

So, you see, I could not, in clear conscience, not post a Pandoro recipe, AGAIN. Instead, I’m bringing you something I’ve never done before: the recipe I intend to try out, before trying it out.

In all fairness, GialloZafferano is a very dependable cooking page, I trust them and I can safely say that the recipe will work perfectly. If something changes (which it won’t), I will post it here.

Till then, here is their Pandoro recipe, translated (not word for word) in English, for your pleasure and enjoyment. Keep in mind that this is NOT an easy recipe, but it is not extremely difficult either. And it takes two days, so get cooking! And it’s totally worth it.

PandoroStampo

This is the pan you will need to make a Pandoro

What you’ll need:

18gr Beer yeast

450gr Strong Flour

125gr plus 1 Tb sugar

3 whole eggs and 1 yolk

The beans of 1 vanilla pod

1 tsp salt

170gr butter

60ml plus 3 Tb milk

What you’ll need to do:

We start by preparing the first dough: In a small bowl mix 15gr of the bear yeast in 60ml lukewarm milk, add one Tb sugar, the egg yolk, 50 gr flour and mix everything well. Cover this first mixture and let double in size (about an hour).

When double in size, dissolve 3 gr of beer yeast in 3 Tb milk and add to the mix, add 100 gr sugar, the egg, mix everything and put this mixture in a bowl with 200 gr of flour. Knead using your hands or a wooden spoon. Then add 30gr of butter in room temperature and knead till everything is one and you have a smooth mixture. Cover and let double in size in room temperature (not cold, not very hot, not humid, it should take about an hour).

Proceed with the second dough: Unite 200gr of flour, two eggs, 25gr sugar, salt, the vanilla seeds and mix. Flatten the dough, fold it on itself and put it in a butter greased bowl and let double in size. Leave the dough in the fridge, to rest for 8 to twelve hours.

Note: whenever you leave something in the fridge, cover it with plastic or place it in a plastic food bag, so it does not absorb smells from other foods. Unless the fridge is empty (which never happens in Greece or Italy, we will always have tomatoes or cheeses in our fridge, no matter what)

pandorook_seq7

Taken from the GialloZafferano recipe, not my photos

When that time has passed, turn the dough on the table and roll it with a pin making a square. Put 140gr of softened butter in the center, bring the four corners to the center so as to make a square pack and cover the butter. Make sure you close the edges of your dough very well, so that the butter won’t escape.

pandorook_seq8

Taken from the GialloZafferano recipe, not my photos

Roll it well with the pin, fold it in three (bring the bottom to the middle and cover it with the top, like a letter) and let rest for 15-20 minutes in the fridge.

Take it out of the fridge, roll it again, and let it rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes more. Again, take it out of the fridge, roll it one more time, bring the edges to the center as before and make a ball, turning the edges to the inside. When you have formed the ball, grease your hands with butter and roll the ball on the table, leaving it with the butter and making it more round.

Grease the Pandoro form (20 cm high, capacity of 3lt) with butter, put the dough in the form, cover and let rise until it comes out of the top of the form. Place a small bowl of water on the lower part of the oven and bake the Pandoro in a preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, then lower the heat at 160 and let it bake for another 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When ready, remove from the oven and let it cool down. Sprinkle with vanilla scented confectioners sugar and enjoy in any way you like!

Happy holidays everyone!


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