Monthly Archives: March 2010

Coming back to Rome: cappuccio, rosette e Happy Hour!

Recipe 88: As you can imagine I’m in Rome in these days. I came back for Easter and of course i’m not cooking much, thanks to my mum, but i’m trying to eat all the stuff i miss the most… so here a little list just to let you know, but i will also add a superquick recipe for a light lunch or dinner.

Let’s start with the breakfast: there are no words to describe this cappuccino(also called Cappuccio in Rome) and this pastries filled with a cream made with almonds and pine nuts! Real paradise in Tornatora!

Then of course lunch time:  a good Rosetta (a bread really typical in Rome), with Mortadella, a particular kind of ham that is impossible to find in London (if you can, try it in a simple white pizza bread!) Or you can eat the Rosetta with Bresaola, Rocket salad and Parmesan. This is a classic light dish we often eat also as a starter, but it’s really a special mix of flavours. As you can see it’s very easy, but the bitter rocket, with the peculiar bresaola taste (and you can find this in London) and the sweet parmesan are just amazing together. Just add a bit of salt, oil, and i really like it with lemon too.

Finally to close the day why don’t go for an happy hour? it’s very important everyone get it: happy hour in Italy doesn’t means they give you 2 drinks for one, but means you buy a drink and you can eat all the stuff is on the buffet. So basically if you are going to do (have?) an happy hour, means you are going to have almost a dinner, or an big aperitif, some drinks and nice finger food. We all love it and i was missing it a lot! Why in England they can not offer food with pints?

This time i took a Spritz (cocktail mainly made with Aperol and Prosecco) with some fresh tuna rice and farro with vegetable, some good focaccia with rosemery, olives and tomatoes and a salad made by radicchio and cabbage. It’s the second time i have cabbage in my plate in these days and i have to say i like it a lot! Maybe i need to start using it more.

PS. Mamy come sai questi giorni sto proprio facendo una cura ricostituente con tutte le cose che mi piacciono e mi mancano di piu’ e come posso non iniziare da un cappuccino e cornetto rigorosamente alla crema? e dopo un pranzetto leggero per poi buttarmi in un aperitivo di questi consistenti. Forse, considerato che tra qualche giorno e’ Pasqua, dovrei stare un po’ piu’ attenta, ma chi resiste? 🙂


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Simple roasted peppers (-43weeks)

Recipe 89: This is one of my mum’s favourite. She just loves roasted peppers and she prepares this dish as a little sunday treat for her. I have to say it’s a simple and very tasty side order, so good to be served with any kind of meat, but also good as a little starter on toast.

You will just need 3-4 peppers, olive oil, salt and capers. Nothing more!

Wash the peppers and put them in the oven on a little grid if you can. I have placed underneath a baking pan with some foil, to collect the juice they will release cooking.

I put the oven at 140 /160 and i left them there for around half an hour. When you will see they are well cooked, you can take them out.

At this point cut them in little slices taking off the center of the peppers. Place them in a bowl with some salt, olive oil and capers and the dish is ready!

Serve it with some toasted bread and enjoy!

PS. Mamy l’altra settimana ho comprato i pepperoni per fare il pollo e ti ho pensata, cosi’ ho deciso di cucinare anche i peperoni arrosto che ti piacciono tanto e che adesso piacciono anche a me! e pensare che da piccola non li soffrivo! comunque l’aggiunta dei capperi e’ proprio la ciliegina sulla torta. Brava mamma!


Chicken with peppers – Pollo con i peperoni

Recipe 90: this is a classic recipe from the big lunch on the 15th of August…yes you understood well. We use to prepare chicken with pepper in summer, but don’t ask me why. I have never understood it! too hot for me.

However i decided to prepare it last week, when i saw some nice peppers in the supermarket and here is the recipe with all the ingredients for 2/3 people: 250gr peppers of any color, 500gr chicken breasts, 1 garlic clove, some green pitted olives, some capers in brine, 2 tomatoes, onion, butter, a bit of liquor like Porto, some basil, sage and bay leaves.

In first place wash the peppers and cut them in little slices taking out the center and the seeds. Put the 2 tomatoes in boiling water and leave them there for a bit. In the meantime put some butter in a pan and add the onion and the garlic cut in little pieces.

At this point cut the chicken in pieces and prepare the mix of herbs: put some basil, sage and bay leaves on a kitchen board and chop them finely, then add the pitted green olives in pieces and 2 spoons of capers. The smell will be amazing!

Now take the tomatoes form the fire, drain them and take off the skin, cut them in half, remove the seeds and cut them in slices to add to the peppers.

When the onion and garlic will become goldish, add the chicken breasts cut in pieces and let them cook a bit. Their color will change and just when all the pan will start to get dry, add some Porto liquor and they will soon get colored and really tasty.

Finally add to the chicken the peppers, the tomatoes, the mix of herbs and a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, but i also suggest you to move everything in a sauce pan to make all the ingredients cook quicker and to create also a nice sauce.

When the peppers will be mild and well cooked, the dish will be ready and you can serve it hot in a plate.

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy questa ricetta e’ spaziale…ci siamo leccate i baffi. Altro che il solito pollo con i peperoni a ferragosto. Questo con le olive i capperi e questo misto di erbe e’ veramente insuperabile! Considera che Nat non ha la passione dei capperi e delle olive, ma quando ha assaggiato questo mix ne e’ rimasta affascinata! DELIZIOSO!

Milky spinach!

Recipe 91: Today i will give you the chance to bring some new life in your dinner vegetable portion…the classic one and sometime only a day! Here is a super simple recipe my mum use to cook for me when i was little. It was the only way to let me eat vegetable and especially spinach!… I have always prefered Olivia to Popeye (Braccio di ferro in italian)!

Ingredients: just some frozen or fresh spinach, milk, butter, raisins and pine nuts if you like them.

I was just speaking about frozen spinach because to boil them and have a good quantity after, you need to use kilos of spinach. Instead if you find the frozen ones, you can just put them in teh water and the dish will be good anyway.

Another little problem is that in England no one sell frozen spinach and i have never understood why! Why you can have frozen peas, broccoli, potatoes, carrots but not spinach?

However i will tell you a secret: try to look for them in some 24hours managed by indian…they seems to be the only clever people to use frozen spinach to cook and they saved my recipes!

By the way just put some of them in some boiling and salty water and let them cook. In another pan put some butter and when the spinach are ready, drain them and put them in it.

Mix everything and add some more butter if you think you need. Then add some milk and some other salt and pepper if necessary. Leave them absorb the milk and the butter and serve in a plate with some Parmesan, raisins and pine nuts if you like them.

Buon appetito!

PS. Ciao Mamy e chi se li scorda i tuoi spinaci con il latte? semplici e buonissimi per cambiare un po’ la routine serale. Noi li abbiamo cucinati senza uva passa e pinoli perche’ a me piacciono piu’ al naturale, ma penso che il connubio non sia male. Non sai che delirio per trovare gli spinaci surgelati…, ma alla fine ce l’ho fatta!

Tortellini cream, ham and peas: product testing 3 Dolce vita event (-44 weeks)

Recipe 92: to finish with the products from the Dolce Vita event, i will propose you a classic recipe my mum used to cook often and that i love with all myself… and it’s really easy too.

For this dish for two people i used: Ricotta and spinach tortellini 250gr (kindly offered by Giovanni Rana, sponsor of the event), 100 gr of single cream, 50gr ham, 100 gr of frozen peas, half onion, some butter, Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Put some butter in a pan with half of an onion chopped in little pieces. Let this cook and in the meantime defrost the peas in some boiling water and salt. When these are tender put them in the pan with the onion and the ham cut in little pieces.

At this point you can put the tortellini in some boiling water with salt and after just a minute they will be ready. Now I have also to admit that this brand is the one i normally use here like in Italy, if  I can’t find them fresh. The pasta is quite thick and this allows you to cook them without have mash tortellini, and the filling it’s really tasty.

In the meantime pour the single cream in the pan with the peas and the ham, and leave it until gets thick. Drain the tortellini and put them in the pan and mix it all.

When they have absorbed all the sauce, place the tortellini, peas and ham in a plate and add some Parmesan.

The dish is ready! Enjoy!

PS. Mamy ti ricordi questa ricetta??? quanto mi piace! L’ho riproposta con questi tortellini, anche se forse con quelli al prosciutto viene meglio! E come vedi fortunatamente abbiamo anche qui il buon Giovanni Rana che ci salva la cena!

Linguine pesto and prawns – product testing 2 Dolce vita event

Recipe 93: From the Dolce Vita event and Foodinthecity, i have the pleasure today to present you some new real high quality and truly original italian products: the pasta from Pastificio dei campi and the organic products from Sommariva.

I found this pasta really special: so traditional in the taste and in the consistency, but so innovative for the packaging and the blog they run. A real discovery! The Pesto from Sommariva instead is Bio and made with the best ingredients from Liguria, where the recipe comes from.

With these genuine products i could have done a simple pasta with pesto, sure of an amazing result, but to make it a bit special i decided to add some prawns, so… here are Linguine Pesto e Gamberetti.

The ingredients i used for 2 people are: 250 gr. of Linguine di Gargnano – Pastificio dei Campi (you can find them in Harvey Nicholson too), 150 gr. of peeled prowns, 100 gr. of Pesto Genovese Bio Sommariva, 1 red chili, a clove of  garlic, fresh parsley, Parmesan, olive oil, 25gr butter, a glass of white wine and salt.

Put some olive oil in a pan with a crashed clove of garlic and a sliced chili. Add some parsley leaves, prawns, let them cook a bit and then add some butter to let the prawns get a bit colored.

In the meantime put the linguine in some boiling water, add some salt and let them cook for around 8 minutes.

You will need to add some white wine to the prawn because they will be quite dry and the wine will give them a little twist in the taste.

At this point open the pesto, breath and prepare yourself to enjoy this plate! 🙂 if you will try a little spoon of the sauce, you will really taste the pine nuts and the basil. Fantastic! Put some of this in the plates where you will serve the pasta and add some hot water to make it less dense and easier to be absorbed by the pasta.

When the pasta is almost cooked, drain it and pass it in the pan with the prawns. Mix until the sauce is absorbed and then place it in the final plates.

Mix again the linguini until all the pesto is well absorbed and all the pasta has the same color.

Add some Parmesan and Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy non si che buoni questi prodotti: le linguine le fanno a Gragnano, mentre il pesto Biologico viene direttamente dalla Liguria. Li ho trovati alla Dolce Vita e ne sono rimasta entusiasta. Poi con i gamebretti insaporiti dal prezzemolo, peperoncino e una spruzzata di vino bianco, le linguine al pesto hanno fatto una riuscita fantastica!

The Italian Aperitif: product testing Dolce vita event

I will open my new “Product testing” category writing about some of the elements to prepare a good italian aperitif… that i miss sooo much.

At the Dolce Vita Event there were really too many things i could have bought, but here i have some selection: cheeses, olives and a drink of course.

Between the big variety of cheeses presented in the event i choose some Gorgonzola made with goat cheese, some Robbiola, some Toma from Piemonte, another very strong and tasty cheese similar to Pecorino and finally some Parmesan. It can never miss.

Here i need to thanks Lemons and Co, for their amazing Nero D’avola Cream that made the meal even richer and tastier. Lemon and Co, provides quality sicilian products like jam and sauces (i tried the olives and almonds one… very very good) and this innovative cream made from this quality of red wine grapes very characteristic in the island. It’s perfect with hard seasoned cheeses.

Then i need to admit it: i love olives and when i saw the Sapori D’Italia stand i couldn’t resist and i bought some marinated green pitted olives called Boscaiola (very big), and some marinated mixed vegetables called Antipasto!  They are a family-run business with shops here in UK and i was really happy to find all these traditional products there.

Unfortunately the only thing that was missing in the event, was a nice stand with Italian bread… i miss the Rosette and the Casareccio bread sooo much!Let’s see if someone will bring it in the next edition. I also hope in some Mortadella… please!

And to close the aperitif i have to mention another traditional protagonist of my italian Aperitivi in the local square: Il Bellini.

When i saw this little nice bottle between all the wines and liquor stands, it was emotion! Ok it’s not fresh made but do you know what it means to look for fresh white peaches with some taste here in London???

Produced by Canella, they have also a really nice blog.

So WELCOME to the Bellini Cocktail and good Aperitivo to everyone!

PS. Mamy questi sono alcuni dei prodotti che ho trovato all’evento di cui ti dicevo. Alcuni li abbiamo comprati ed altri mi sono stati regalati per testarli. Non sai che piattini con tutte queste delizie!