Monthly Archives: November 2010

Penne ai carciofi – Penne pasta with artichokes (-8 weeks)

Recipe 19: And because i remember my mum and my aunt cooking a very good artichokes pasta, i decided to use one of the artichokes i bought in Portobello, to do the creamy sauce for some penne.

Ingredients for 2 people: one big or 2 little artichokes, lemon, garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper, Parmesan, a bit of milk or cream and 200 gr penne.

Clean the artichokes as written here. Then cut them in pieces and place them in a pan with olive oil and some garlic. I normally take this off once is goldish, but you can leave it if you like garlic. Let it cook for 15-20 minute adding salt, pepper, chopped parsley and some water if needed. Then let it cool down a bit. In the meantime place on the fire some water for the pasta and when boiling, add the penne or any other pasta shape you want.

Take half of them and place them in a blender with some milk or cream and Parmesan. Once the artichokes cream is done, mix it in the pan with the rest of the artichokes and wait for the pasta to be ready.

When the sauce is well mixed with the rest of the artichokes and the pasta is “al dente”, drain it and put it in the pan with a  bit of the cooking water. Mix it well and serve hot with some Parmesan in flakes. Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy che buono, molto meglio del carciofo semplice. Sara’ il latte, il sapore della roba cucinata fresca…non so, ma molto meglio di un qualsiasi sugo pronto al carciofo.

La minestrina di mio papa’ – My father’s minestrina

Recipe 20: This was just the best when i was little and it could not miss in my blog, especially now that here is so cold and you come back home just starving and looking for hot nice food.

This dish it’s a classic house recipe, cooked very often for the kids, and it’s also one of the few dishes my father is able to cook. Because he was the one to take me back from school at lunch time, i think this has been for long my main meal after school… and i have always adore it. So much that i wanted just my father to prepare it because it was for me better of the one my mum could make.

Do you want to know how to prepare it? You will just need a vegetable stock, 70gr of pastina (very little pasta you can find everywhere) for each person and some Parmesan to finish! NOTHING ELSE!

Put on the fire a sauce pan with some water and a vegetable stock. Let the water boil and just add the pastina. Wait for it too cook, and it won’t take long, so try it just after 5 minutes.

When ready, with the help of a spoon , place the pastina in a plate and add the broth until the plate is full. Add some Parmesan cheese, mix and serve also with fresh grated pepper if you like it.

There is basically nothing easiest than this…now you can understand why my father was a real master chef in this, and i can’t forget this recipe!

The same stock can be used also with Cappelletti or Tortellini: we use to cook them in the same way, with a stock in the water and serve it like this! It’s simple and a really nice dish. In Christmas is even a tradition and the man use to put even red wine in it. Trust me … you have to try them.

PS. Mamy sorry oggi papa’ t’ha rubato il posto con la sua mitica minestrina, ma non potevo non metterla nel blog. Credo di averla mangiata cosi tante volte, che non posso fare a meno di parlarne! Ci stava tutta insomma!

Carciofi alla romana – Artichokes in the roman way (-9 weeks)

Recipe 21: When i came back in Italy last week, my mum was already cooking Artichokes. I love them and this is one of the 2 season. In London it’s not so easy to find good artichokes, but i went in Portobello Market hoping to find some of them.

I have to say they were quite big and hairy, but fine…i just wanted to cook some. So here the recipe for the roman and my mum way to cook them: you will just need one big or 2 little artichokes for person, some parsley, garlic in powder i prefer, lemon, olive oil, pepper and salt.

Remove the toughest of the outer leaves. Snip off any sharp leaf tips. Snap the stalk off at the base and remove the tough fibres running into the base where possible. Pull out the central cone of thinner leaves to reveal the inedible fibrous ‘choke’ (this may not be present in smaller baby artichokes). Carefully scrape this out with a teaspoon, leaving the prized heart in place. Then put the artichoke in acidulated water (e.g. water with a good squeeze of lemon juice added) for around half an hour.

Place the garlic cloves or powder in a pan with some olive oil. When they starts to get goldish, take them out and add the artichokes and some finely chopped parsley. You can also put some parsley and garlic clove directly in each artichoke, like my mum uses to do, but i don’t like so much the taste of garlic and i prefer to put some garlic powder on top.

Add some simple water or stock water and leave it cook for about 40 minutes. Add other “brodo” or stock water if needed. Artichokes are cooked when you can easily pull out an inner leaf and the stem is tender. Or you can just insert a fork in the lateral side of the artichoke and feel the consistency of it. If tender, they are ready.

Now just place it on a plate and serve it hot with a bit of their sauce! Enjoy!

PS. Mamy certo non saranno mai i carciofi buoni di Roma, ma almeno ho capito come si fanno! Diciamo che questi erano un po’ troppo grossi, ma il cuore era buonissimo! C’ho fatto anche la pasta!

Cosce di pollo al forno – Easy roasted chicken thighs

Recipe 22: Because i didn’t put so many meat recipes on this blog, i thought about the common dishes my mum uses to prepare at home and this one it’s really an essential one: Roasted chicken thighs.

Very easy to do also if a bit long, it’s perfect with roasted potatoes or any other vegetable and it’s healthy and perfect for any weekly dinner, just to spice up the daily menu’ routine. The ingredients for 2 people are the following: 4 Chicken thighs, fresh rosmery, a bit of garlic, olive oil, one lemon, salt and papper.

Just put some baking paper in a baking pan. Here you will place the chicken in a way the thighs will have enough space between them. Then add some fresh rosmery, garlic powder, salt and olive oil all around and on top. You can even turn the thighs to make them absorb a bit the oil.

Add just some lemon slice here and there and put it in the oven at a good temperature like 180 – 200 degrees. The chicken will take a bit to get ready and you will need to turn it.

When ready, just serve it with some vegetable from the season and enjoy!

PS. Mamy, semplice buono e sempre imbattibile. Facilissimo, con le fettine di limone acquista proprio un sapore fantastico!

Fiori di zucca fritti – Fried courgettes’ flowers (- 10 weeks)

Recipe 23: This is a recipe that it’s quite difficult to realize in UK, just because it’s almost impossible to find the courgettes’ flowers in here. By the way it’s so typical, so good and i wanted to try to do it so much that i wait a week that i was back in Italy to try it. This as well couldn’t miss on my blog!

Ingredients: buy 2-3 courgette’s flower per person. Probably you can find them in spring in Borought Market also if they will be a bit more expensive than in Italy. Then buy 2 mozzarella cheeses, some anchovies under oil, salt, pepper, some flour and olive oil.

Wash the flowers and let them dry. Cut the mozzarella (my mum had bufalo mozzarella… just amazing) and the anchovies in pieces big enough to enter in the flowers.

Open them a bit, insert the cheese and the anchovies add some salt and pepper and close them as you can. Prepare now the Pastella, a mix of flour and water.

You will need the pastella to cover the flower before to fry them, so i can’t really give you teh quantity of flour and water. Just mix a big quantity and if it’s to liquid you can always add more flour or pass the flower in more flour after (as i did). However thicker it is and more crunchy and crispy are coming the flowers.

Then place them in boiling oil and wait for them to cook, turning them every now and then. When ready and colored, take them off and place them on an absorbing kitchen paper before to serve them still hot!

It will be a success! Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy che te ne pare? alla fine ci sono venuti benino no? Io avrei fatto la pastella piu’ corposa, ma era cosi tanto che no  li mangiavo che tra la mozzarella di bufala ed il fatto che in casa rimangono piu’ leggeri, me li sono proprio goduti!

Fiori di Zucca fritti

Cenci Cake: jam, fruit, amaretti and chocolate

Recipe 24: This is the second cake i cooked last weekend and for how much I’m sure was good the original recipe, i have made some little change, considering also that some of the ingredients are not available in this country.

Here the original ingredients and the ones i used to make a little Cenci cake: a part from the Pasta frolla that you can make following this recipe, buy 2-3 pears or apple, you will need some marsala, but i have add a bit of other liquor i had at home, some apricot jam, 150gr amaretti then i added also the white of one egg and chocolate in powder.

Wash, peel and cut the pears or the apples in pieces. Let them cook a bit on the fire with some water, while in the meantime you will stretch the pasta frolla, and you will create the base of your cake. Place it in a baking pan on some baking paper, make the base really thin and then create some holes with a fork to avoid the pasta to grow up and create bubbles.


Take off the pear from the fire and drain them from their liquid. Mix to this a bit of liquor and in the meantime place one layer of apricot jam directly on the base of the cake and then add on top the pears.

Whip up one white egg with a mixer and add then to this the pear juice with the liquor and some spoon of apricot jam. In reality the recipe was just requiring at this point to mix the apricot jam with some marsala egg flavored, but i thought that this mix could be equally standing for that.

Place the mix on top of the pears and cover with 150gr of smashed amaretti. Finish the cake with a good quantity of chocolate in powder, but you can just put it in the oven like this and once ready cover it with melted dark chocolate. In UK infact the powder chocolate is not so sweet and i think could be better just the melted chocolate to make it more sweet and delicious.

Put it in a pre-hotted oven at 180-200 degree and after 30-40 minutes, place a thootpick in the pasta to check if ready.

Serve it hot and enjoy!

PS. Mamy ti piace questa torta? diciamo che anche a causa della mancanza di ingredienti ho fatto dei piccoli cambi, ma il binomio pere e cioccolato lo dovevo per forza provare. Comunque anche con le mele non deve essere male! Il probelma maggiore qui e’ la cioccolate: in polvere e’ troppo amara. la prossima volta la rifinisco con il cioccolato colato sopra.

Peaches and amaretti charlotte cake (-11 weeks)

Recipe 25: This weekend I decided to cook 2 cakes following the recipes my mum gave me: one was a cake she tried in an Italian hotel, really good but where I did some changes. The other one instead is a real recipe, that sounds really good also if I don’t remember my mum doing it, but probably i missed that dinner.

Both of these cakes have a pasta frolla base, so I decided to try both in 2 little versions, just hoping one of the 2 was coming out good.

The ingredients for a little peaches Charlotte cake are for the pasta frolla: 150 gr. flour– 75 gr. butter – 75 gr. sugar – 1 egg yolk – a pinch of salt. For the filling:   100 gr. amaretti  – 75 gr. grated almonds – 2 eggs – 2 spoons of sugar – 2spoons of milk, 300/400 gr peaches in syrup.

Start preparing the pasta frolla following these instructions. Then place it in the fridge for half an hour and in the meantime prepare the baking pan. You can place some butter and flour in it, or just some baking paper as in the picture, to avoid the cake to stick.

Then stretch the pasta and create a circle that will be the base of the cake. Have to be really thin. Place it in the pan and create some holes all around with a fork to let the air goes out while cooking in the oven.

Put the crashed amaretti in the cake with the grated almonds too. Then add the peaches’ slices.

In another container mix 2 egg yolks with the sugar, the milk and the 2 egg whites wiped up. Pour all this mix on the peaches and place  the cake in the oven already hot, at around 180 degree for 45 minutes.

When the top will become a bit dark, take out the cake and try with a toothpick if the pasta is cooked. If this will come up dry the cake it’s ready.

Then serve it hot also with some icing sugar on top if you like.

PS. Mamy nonostante non abbia mai provato la tua, a me la mia versione e’ piaciuta molto! L’amaretto con le pesche mordite e le mandorle sta benissimo!

Pasta alla Boscaiola – Pasta with sausages and mushrooms

Recipe 26: It’s a long time I wanted to cook this recipe but I needed to wait for the cold season considering that the dish is a bit heavy but really tasty. It’s also very easy, as the majority of pasta dishes and I think is really indicated for english people, considering the good bangers they have here.

The ingredients for this pasta for 4 people are: 250gr mushroom, 350 gr pasta, 200 gr sausages, some parsley, oil, garlic cloves,  170 gr single cream, Parmesan and a glass of white wine.

Cook some garlic cloves in some butter and when they get goldish, add the mushrooms in slices, the rosemary, same salt and pepper, and parsley. Let it cook and when dry add the white wine.

Open the sausages long the side and take off the skin. Divide them in little pieces and add them to the pan. Let it cook with some more salt and pepper.
In the meantime cook the pasta and when everything is almost ready, add the cream to the pan and let it get thick.

Drain the pasta, keep some water in a side just in case the sauce is too thick for the quantity of pasta and toss the spaghetti with the sauce in the pan.
When ready serve with Parmesan or Pecorino cheese if you like and a bit of fresh parsley!

PS. Mamy questo si che e’ un bel piatto consistente! ma che buono! Io che tento di usare la panna il meno possibile, devo dire che su questa pasta ci sta veramente bene! poi l’ho cucinato in quella che era qui la settimana della salciccia, percio’ molto in tema!

Profiterole … and nothing else to add.

Recipe 27: As a dessert for my guest in the Halloween night i couldn’t resist to make the Profiterole, but starting from the puffs. Yes i did them too and was easy except for the cooking time that wasn’t exactly enough. However now i will tell you how to do them in the right way.

Ingredients for around 30 puffs: 250ml of water, 100gr of butter, half a little spoon of salt, one spoon of sugar, 150 of flour, 4 eggs.

Place on the fire the water , the butter, the salt and the sugar and bring to boil. At this point take the pan out of the fire and add the flour all in once. Put the pan back on the fire and mix with a wooden spoon until it get thick and starts to create a ball.

Now put it in a place to cool down for some minutes and then add one egg at time  mixing until absorbed.

Finally it will become a bit more creamy and you will need to let it rest for around 30 minutes.

Then pass the mix in a piping bag and  create your puffs placing them on a baking paper and leaving enough space between one and the other. They will grow so they need to have their space. Put them in a preheated oven for 30 minute at 150 degree.Never open the oven if you don’t want them to collapse. Check them from outside and see when you think they are big and colored enough. When ready, turn off the oven but leave it in there for around 5 minutes with the oven door slightly open.

Waiting for them to get dry, prepare the cream to put inside, following the recipe here. Place it in the piping bag  used before and be ready to fill them one by one.

The last touch it will be the chocolate. Take 200 gr of dark chocolate in tablet and put that in a little pan, inside a bigger pan with hot water in it and on fire ( a bagno maria). In this way the chocolate will melt without stick to the pan or burn.

Just pour it on the puffs disposed in a pyramid and serve !  For Halloween i also added some orange sugar sprinkles…but we couldn’t resist to try it and i don’t have pictures now 😦

However if you really want to make it perfect, just add some whipped cream here and there and… Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy che te ne pare di questo profiterole…t’ho quasi superato cucinando anche i puffs eh? Peccato che avrei dovuto farli crescere un po’ di piu’ tenendoli nel forno qualche altro minuto, ma alla fine non mi posso lamentare!