Category Archives: one-dish meal

The mexican food challenge: andale!

Who knows me knows as well that I have some crush on whatever is mexican: food, music, traditions …

Some weeks ago I was then invited to a mexican cooking class in the Waitrose cookery school: Mexican food, the cookery school I wanted to visit since ages… That was an appointment I couldn’t miss!

Gently offered by Discovery ( the brand of mexican products) and by Benito’s Hat a little Mexican chain in London, I had one of the most funniest nights in months. They welcome us with an amazing margarita cocktail and then the chef teach us 2 nice mexican dishes, tasty but also easy to prepare and that I can’t wait to cook them again!

The first was Jicama salad, a fresh starter made off cocumber, lime lemons, peanuts, parmesan cheese and this Jicama, a vegetable similar to a potato. The recipe is something to surprise anyone. The second dish was  king prawns tacos with a spicy sauce made with Discovery Chipotle Paste, that was just gorgeous and that solves lots of my problem with mexican food.

Do you know what happened next??? We had the chance to use the kitchen and have a little mexican cooking competition between bloggers: I loved it! I recreate the dishes plus some little variations. I made chicken, sesame and spinach tacos with the Discovery tortillas, and then prawn tortillas with the magic chipote sauce (1 little spoon of this and 2 big spoon of mayonnaise).

But the great thing was to use all that great kitchen stuff without thinking about washing or cleaning! It’s really a privilege and they have really everything! It was really a great experience! So thanks to Discovery, Benito’s Hat, the girls who invited me and Waitrose for the space!

Ps. of course I didn’t win the competition considering there were so many great food blogger, but here is my favourite recipe: Colin from Shizzling who cooked a fantastic green mole!

Ricetta Calve: Rotolo di frittata tonnata

PROMO 1: Oggi mi sono inventata una ricetta e dato che e’ stata un successo, e’ rapida, economica e puo’ essere usato in vari contesti (finger food, pic nic, pranzo veloce, light dinner, antipasto etc) ho pensato di aggiungerlo tra le mie ricette come una ricetta numero zero. Come in ogni vacanza che si rispetti gli ultimi giorni si tenta di usare gli avanzi in frigo, da svuotare prima della partenza. Cosa c’era nel mio?

Un sacco di pomodori (sempre utili in estate) 3 uova una scatoletta di tonno, un po’ di maionese Calve’ residua ed un po’ di formaggio. Ed ecco che mi sono inventata il rotolo di frittata tonnata!

Ho aperto il tonno, l’ho scolato e messo in un piatto con la maionese Calve’ rimasta e un po’ di sale. Da un’altra parte ho sbattuto le uova con il formaggio rimasto grattato e con un po’ di sale.

Ho cotto la frittata e nel mentre o svuotato I pomodori dal centro acquoso e li ho tagliati a pezzettini piccoli e aggiunti al tonno. Quando la frittata si e’ cotta l’ho lasciata raffreddare e poi l’ho ricorperta di un bello strato di tonno, mayonese e pomodori.

Ho creato il rotolo e poi ho fissato degli stuzzicadenti per delimitare le fette e mantenerle intatte.

Ho tagliato le fette e le ho servire con uan bella insalatina fresca.

Che ve ne pare? Io vi posso dire che era buonissimo questo rotolo ☺ e ho fatto la felicita’ di mia mamma svuotandole il frigo!

Minestrone soup

Recipe 1: Considering I’m arrived at the end of my challenge, I needed to have a light recipe just to try to reach my target ( ok it’s impossible but why not try) and so the last recipe it’s minestrone. That’s something I always use to eat when my mum does it because is something hot, fullfilling and healty. With a bit of parmesan on top then is delicious!

I love also the blended version also called in french ‘potage’. That’s my favourite! It’s always good to have some of it in the fridge and take it out when you don’t really know what to eat.

The ingredients my mum uses for 3 people are:  a little piece of celery, 2 carrots, 2 courgettes, half onion, a quarter of cabbage, 1 potato, some parsley, a garlic clove, 150 gr beans 130gr chopped tomatoes, 1 stock and water.

The process is a bit long but easy: place some olive oil in a pan and hot it up. Then add the finely chopped onion, garlic cloves and parsley. When the onion starts to become goldish, add the peeled tomatoes sauce and the beans already drained by the water.

Mix it all and let it cook. In the meantime cut the cabbage in thin slices and then in half again. Add it to the saucepan and pour a good quantity of water. Mix all the ingredients every now and then to avoid them to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Wash and cut in cubes the courgettes, the carrots and the potato, and then add them too to the pan. Let it cook for around 20-30 minutes and then have a try to know if it’s missing some salt, pepper or anything else.
When the Borlotti are cooked, add the pasta if you want: the right pasta shape for this dish are little tubs but quite thick.

Let the pasta cook in the same pan with the soup so the starch released will give taste and thickness to the minestrone. When ready, serve it hot with some grated Parmesan, parsley or simply olive oil if you like it.

PS. Mamy il minestrone m’e’ venuto benissimo un po’ piu’ denso e meno verde del tuo, sospetto per la verza che era bella grossa e l’ho usata tutta… ah che bello finalmente posso fare anche io il minestrone qui!!! Come sono contenta!

Minestra d’orzo perlato – Pearl barley soup

Recipe 35: The autumn is definitely here so last night i decided to make this soup my mum used to cook often in the winter. I love the pearl barley because it’s lighter but much more consistent than the rice and with a very particular taste and “texture”. When you cook the barley in fact it seems letting out some sort of amid that make the soup even more saucy and creamy.

However, if you have never try it before, just cook this recipe and you will understand what I’m speaking about. The ingredients for 2 people are: 100-120 gr of pearl barley, 1 big potato, 1 celery, 1 carrot, 1 little onion or shallot, some olive oil, a little chili, rosemary and nutmeg if you like it, 70 gr pancetta or speck if you can find it, 50-100gr kidney beans in spring water, 2 vegetable stocks, some mushrooms and some Parmesan or Pecorino cheese.

Considering the ingredients, i have also chosen this dish to participate to “in the bag” food blog event organized by the blog “A slice of cherry pie‘. I hope they will include me in the round-up!

To cook the barley i suggest you to follow the instruction on the product, because i think everyone is slightly different. To cook mine i had to place it in a sauce pan and cover it with cold water. Let it boil and just after drain it and pass it under cold water. Then you need to place it again in the sauce pan, again covered with cold water and wait 1 hour and 1/4 to have it ready. Yes, it’s a bit long but it’s worth it.

As soon as was starting this second part of the cooking process i added 2 vegetable stocks.

In the meantime that the barley is cooking, clean and cut in little pieces the carrot, the celery, the onion, the potato, some mushrooms and the chili. Put everything in a pan with a bit of boiling olive oil and let it cook. When almost ready, add also the pancetta and the rosemary. Of course if you want a vegetarian version you can also avoid the pancetta and I’m sure the taste will be amazing anyway.

If the water of the barley will reduce a lot, add some other but i suggest a bit worm to don’t stop the cooking process. Around half an hour before the end of the cooking timing, add the mixed vegetable and pancetta to the barley and mix it all. Add at this point some nutmeg too and some more warm water.

Let cook everything for at least 20 minute (the carrots and the potatoes take a bit long to get soft) and then try the soup. Adjust the taste with some salt if needed and add now also some kidney beans. The ones sold in spring water don’t need to boil and are ready to be eaten, so just add them at the end.

When the barley has absorbed all the water, becoming a thick and creamy soup, just add some grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, in the pan. Mix a bit and serve it hot!

Buon appetito!

PS. Mamy questa devi provare a fartela pure te. Sono infatti convinta che la tua era senza pancetta o speck, ma avendo un po’ di avanzi nel frigo, ho mischiato tutto e l’unione di tutti questi sapori ci sta benissimo! A Nathalie avevo servita una bella porzione e se l’e’ spazzolata! Poi sai che l’orzo ha veramente pochissime calorie? Buonissimo!

Suppli di Nonna “Zia Pina” – Unforgettable!

Recipe 37: This is a very sad day for me. Today it’s exactly one month that one of my favourite person in my family left us all. She was just great, with her personality, with her hard mind and massive humor, she was clever, strong… let’s say just special and really unique! She was Zia Pina, as everyone use to call her like if it was a real name, and in our family she was also the master of the suppli. Every party and big occasion wasn’t the same without her suppli!

Thanks God i could have her recipe, that for me is almost gold, and i have cooked them today in her memory! Also if it’s not directly ones of my mum’s, this is the official suppli recipe in our family. Nothing to compare with the ones she used to make, but i can tell you they were amazing. I will miss her, but i will always think about her especially cooking her delicious dish!

Ingredients for around 20 suppli: 250 gr rice, 1 mozzarella (125gr), 2 eggs, some grated parmesan cheese, 2 vegetable stock, olive oil and seeds oil to fry, bread crumb. In the rice you will need some RAGU’ SAUCE for which you will need: 100gr of mince beef, 250-300gr passata of tomatoes, 1 carrot, 1 celery, parsley, onion, salt, pepper.

Start preparing the ragu’ following this recipe but the right dosis of ingredients for the suppli are above (the sauce needs to be a bit lighter) and let it cook at low fire for 30minute/1 hour.


Then prepare the rice. There are 2 systems. You can put the rice in a saucepan with lots of water and 2 vegetable cubes for some minutes. When boil, start to try the rice until cooked and then drain it. Add the ragu and some Parmesan and  let it cool down.
Or you can put some rice in a sauce pan let it toast for a bit add some white wine and when evaporated start to had some boilong water previously prepared with the 2 vegetable stocks. Keep on adding water and wait for it to evaporate. When the rice seems almost ready add the ragu’ and finish to cook. When ready place it in a low and big recipient and wait for it to cool down. You can even place it in the fridge.

When cold add 2 whole eggs, some grated Parmesan cheese, and the mozzarella in pieces and mix it all.
Now prepare a plate with some bread crumbs and prepare the balls of rice. I prefer them quite little but they can also be a bit longer if you want. Pass them in the bread crumbs and leave them on a plate.
Put some seeds oil in a sauce pan not to big and let it boil. This oil is more adeguate to fry because lighter, but when needed (after having fried few suppli) you will need to add some more oil and you can mix it with the normal extra virgin one. When ready place the rice ball in it and let them become goldish then turn them and when all crunchy and colored, take them out. Place them on a plate with some kitchen paper to absorb the oil.
After few minute you can serve it! If they are still quite warm, opening them  the mozzarella will create some delicious filaments that let us call this dish “suppli al telefono” or at the phone. This is normally a starter or served with some vegetable it’s a perfect one dish meal.

Buon appetito!

Ps. Mamy hai visto che sono riuscita a fare I suppli di zia Pina in tempo per l’anniversario? Era il mio piccolo pensiero per lei anche da me che sono cosi lontana! Ci tenevo proprio tanto! Sono venuti buonissimi, niente a che vedere con quelli che compri… ma i suoi erano imbattibili!

Pears and cheese salad – Insalata di pere e formaggio (-17 weeks)

Recipe 38: It’s definitely autumn… at least in London and i started to see lots of new products in the supermarkets: the ones i prefer the most for this season are the juicy and super sweet pears and the walnuts. I couldn’t resist to buy them right now and i thought about this recipe that i really like. Sweet and salty mix are just the best!

Ingredients for 2 people: You will need some rocket…a little bag is enough, 1 pear quite big, some pecorino, some walnuts, oil, balsamic vinegar and i like also a bit of honey on it!

So it’s very easy: just wash the rucola and place it on a plate, take off the skin of one pear, cut it in little pieces or slices, add some crushed walnuts and some salty cheese like the pecorino. I prefer it in pieces or slices but not grated for the salad.

Then mix in a bawl some oil (2-3 spoons) and some balsamic vinegar (this depends by the taste). If you like the honey you can try to add a bit now in the mix or just at the end on top. I didn’t add any salt… i prefer to taste the salt of the cheese.

And to end this quick post, i leave you here a famous said we use in italy: “Al contadino non far sapere quant’e’ buono il cacio con le pere” that means literally “Don’t say to the farmer how much is good the cacio with the pears”… don’t ask me why! However because the cacio here is something very hard to find i thought the pecorino was a good substitute as well!

ENJOY!

PS. So che tu in verita’ non sei proprio un’amante di questi sapori cosi differenti, ma mi sembra piacesse anche a te il formaggio con il miele. Questa e’ la mia scusa per avere un piatto in cui poter accostare questi sapori… senza danneggiare troppo i kili persi!

Pomodori ripieni – Rice filled tomatoes

Recipe 42: This recipe is something i needed to cook now, before was too late. The rice filled tomatoes it’s another classic summery dish and i wasn’t really a big fun of it, until i tried them again this time. I have to say i did them REALLY well! I was impressed. My mum of course used to do them often because it’s a one dish meal and for the summer it’s really practical and easy.

The ingredients are : the biggest tomatoes you can find and i would consider at least 2 per person (i’m sorry but here in London the tomatoes are all quite little), one spoon rice for tomatoes, some salt, basil, flat leaves parsley, pepper and olive oil.

Wash the tomatoes and cut the top of them. Take off the interior and place it in a bowl. Then cut the pulp and mix it with parsley and basil finely chopped. Add some salt, pepper and the spoon of rice you will need for all the tomatoes. Mix it well and fullfill the tomatoes.

At this point, try to add in each of them some of the liquid from the tomatoes you put in a side at the beginning… but don’t add the seeds. Turn on the oven at around 180 degrees and place the tomatoes on a baking pan with baking paper or oil to don’t make stick to the pan. The rice will need this sauce to cook!

Let them in the oven for at least 20 minutes and then try some rice to see if it’s ready. Probably it will be still hard, so add other tomato sauce you have in a side and maybe a bit more oil.  Put them again in the oven until ready!

Serve it hot or at a warm temperature. They are good also cold from the fridge but i prefer them a bit warm. Enjoy!

PS. Mamma con tutto il prezzemolo, basilico, sale e pepe che c’ho messo, sono venuti troppo buoni! ed io che non ne andavo pazza per niente penso che li cucinero’ piu’ spesso…o forse e’ solo il fatto che non li mangio da una vita!

Italian chicken salad!

Recipe 43: Here in UK the chicken salad is prepared in a different way and it’s also a very typical dish. It’s called Chicken Ceasar salad and it’s made with salad, chicken, Parmesan and croutons. I have to admit that i really like this version too, but everyone needs to know that in Italy it doesn’t exist!

The chicken salad we do it’s made of : chicken (i use normally one breast for 2 people), any type of salad, 3 spoons of mayonnaise, and some cheese and 1 carrot if you like it.

Boil a chicken breast in hot water until well cooked. In the meantime wash cut place some salad in a big bowl. Then pass the chicken in cold water and start to cut it in little pieces. I suggest you to do it directly with your hands, so will be easier to have long vertical pieces.Add the chicken to the salad and then add also some little cheese cubes. I used Emmenthal but you can choose the one you prefer. Finally you can also add some carrots cut in “Julienne”style, also called “matchstick”.

At this point I’m normally very generous and i add 3 spoons of mayonnaise, salt and a bit of balsamic vinegar because i like it a lot, but you can also add just some olive oil and even a bit of lemon if you like… there are so many different versions.

For tomorrow in the office, this will be perfect! Buon appetito!

PS. Ciao mamy, dopo tutte queste mangiate estive, tento di tornare sulla giusta rottae percio’ ho pensato all’insalata di pollo. Ok, non e’ proprio il massimo della dieta, visto che c’e’ la maionese, ma io usato quella light e poi se si mangia solo questo….

Mozzarella in carrozza – Fried or baked mozzarella

Recipe 45: This is a recipe that remembers me when I was little and I used to go to the beach near Rome with my father. We used to go in a place with a bar serving lunches and snacks and this dish was my favourite ever there! It’s not really a light summery recipe, but it’s sooo good you need to try! And if you make it in little pieces it’s also perfect for an happy hour with friends!

Ingredients: the original recipe is with white sliced bread, but this time I have also tried with Bagels having some leftover at home. But for you let’s stick to the original! You will need 8 slices of bread, 2 mozzarelle of around 125gr each, one glass of milk, salt , pepper, 2 eggs 8, some flour, breadcrumbs and 30gr of butter.Cut the borders of the bread and put some milk in a bowl with salt and pepper. Then prepare the mozzarella cutting it in thick slices and organize 2 plates, 1 with flour, 1 with bread crumbs and one bowl where you will mix 2  eggs with a pinch of  salt.Pass the bread a bit in the milk but don’t make it too dump. Place a slice of mozzarella on a slice of bread and cover it with the other, pressing a bit. Then pass it in the eggs bowl and then in the flour but just on the borders and then in the eggs again. In this way we are trying to create a stronger border to don’t allow the mozzarella to go out!
Then pass everything in the bread crumbs, turning them twice and pressing a bit to make the crumbs stick to the breadPlace them on some alluminium foil and pass on each slice a bit of butter, previously melted. Put them in the oven at 200 degree for around 15 minutes. Check and turn them as soon as they get colored. In the last minutes I suggest you to put some grill to make them even more crispy.If you want you could also fry them but I prefer tha baked version … A bit lighter?? When ready serve in a plate or cut them in little squares, but don’t let pass to much time or they will get cold and the mozzarella won’t be melted anymore! Buon appetito!

PS: Papy questa volta scrivo a te! Ti ricordi quanto impazzivo per le mozzarelle in carrozza di Ostia! Che buone! Le ho provate a rifare, ma il processo non e’ proprio facilissimo. Mi ci dovrei un po’ allenare. Mi sembra che  a mamma venizzero meglio!

Frittata di spaghetti – Pasta omelette

Recipe 47: last week we had some guess at home from France and I discovered a very strange way to eat pasta. Basically they cook it and left that in the fridge ready to be mixed with some sauce when needed! They left some boiled pasta in the fridge and this was for me the best occasion to cook a dish I didn’t eat for a long time… I think since I was kid: the pasta omelette or frittata di pasta. The funny thing is that I saw it sold in Carluccio some weeks ago as a very special plate!!!
In reality this come from the old tradition to use all the leftover in the fridge. Do you know? In poor time this is the rule and this dish in its simplicity it’s just amazing!Ingredients: leftover pasta (200 or 300gr, then I added some cream left, 150gr of frozen peas, 5 slices of cooked ham, half of a big onion, salt, pepper, 2 or 3 eggs depending by the pasta, some parmesan and olive oil.

Defrost the peas while you are making hot some oil in a pan. Put the chopped onion in the pan and when goldish add the peas and the ham in pieces. Boil the pasta in salty water or just use some pasta you have also if cooked with tomato sauce.

Otherwise you can add some cream if you want or cheese. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. In a bowl mix 2 or 3 eggs, adding some Parmesan (depending by your taste) and the pour the mix on the pasta when the pan is out of the fire and not too hot otherwise the eggs will cook.

Cover a baking pan with some baking paper and place the pasta well mixed with the rest of the ingredients in it. Put it in a pre-hitten oven at around 200 degree for half an hour and add the grill at the end to make it crispy on the top.

Then serve it in a plate or you can also eat it the day after without hot it up bit just at the temperature of the ambient! I prefer it like this!!! Enjoy!Ps. Mamma ti ricordi la frittata di pasta? Pensa che l’ho vista in vendita in un italian delicatessen di qui! Non ho resistito! Dovevo cucinarla!! E con il fatto che dovevo partire e’ stata un”idea perfetta per svuotare il frigo!