Tag Archives: pancetta

Pasta e fagioli (-53 weeks)

Recipe 107: With this cold it’s just the right time for this classic italian dish… and it was months i was waiting to cook it. My italian friend here in London too was waiting for it since a long time and this was the perfect week.

The ingredients for this cheap but very tasty typical winter italian dish for 4 people are: 1 carrot, 1 celery, 1 onion, fresh rosemary, 2 pieces of garlic, 420 gr Borlotti beans (i took the ones in cans with water Cirio from Waitrose), 1 vegetable stock, 140 gr pancetta, pepper, salt, chilli, 340 gr short pasta (i used the chifferi rigati De Cecco from Waitrose).

There are thousand of different recipes for this dish in Italy, but this is the one my mum pass me. This is a middle way between a pasta and a soup and it’s a very fulfilling dish that can be eaten also as a one dish meal.

Start putting in a pan with some olive oil the carrot, garlic, onion, some fresh rosemary and celery cut in really little pieces. Let them cook and in the meantime put the vegetable stock in some boiling water to create the brodo.

In another saucepan put half of the beans without their water or already boiled if you bought the dry beans. Smash the other half with a fork and add them to the rest with a bit of brodo. Let this cook on a low fire.

After that add to the carrots, celery, onion and garlic all the pancetta and let it cook. When ready you can mix all this to the beans with another bit of brodo and some chilli, pepper and salt. Everything will cook and mix, creating a nice thick soup.

At this point you can add the pasta to the soup and cook it for the time written on the bag and  don’t forget to taste it to know if it’s the case to put some other salt too.

If you want the dish a bit more liquid and similar o a real soup, add more water or stock water, otherwise leave it like this and just let it cook. To make it even more thick, you can cook the pasta a bit lees than what is suggested and leave it to rest an hour before to serve it. everything in this case depends by your taste.

Now the dish is ready and you can serve the pasta with a bit of olive oil on top and black papper. If you want you can of course add some Parmesan but we use more oil and pepper than this for the Pasta e fagioli.

Buon appetito!

PS: Mamy non sai che buona questa pasta e fagioli!!!! e non ti immagini quanto ci stava bene con il freddo che faceva fuori!! Anna s’e’ leccata i baffi. L’ho fatta magari un po’ troppo asciutta, ma che soddisfazione e che sapore! questi si sono i piatti che proprio mi mancano!

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Linguine alla Carlona (gorgonzola, pancetta and cream)

Recipe 110: This is one of my father’s favorite recipes and the chef in this case is not my mum, but a couple of friends of my parents. They cooked this pasta for them a while ago and my father always remember this dish… so now it’s my time to cook it.

The ingredients for 4 people are: 400gr linguine – 110gr Gorgonzola – 150gr pancetta (better guanciale if you can find it somewhere) – 125gr of single cream – salt and Parmesan of course!

The recipe is very easy: put a little spoon of olive oil in a pan and cook a bit the pancetta. When it’s ready take it off and put it in a plate. Use now the same pan to melt the Gorgonzola and add a bit of single cream to help you.

In the meantime in a saucepan you can also boil the water with some salt. After some minute add the pasta and wait around 10 minutes for the linguine. The sauce in total won’t take more than 10 minute to be ready, so you can cook everything in the same time.

When the gorgonzola has melted, put back the pancetta and the rest of the cream and cook it another bit more.Then drain the pasta and put it in the pan with the sauce. Add Parmesan and it’s done!

Buon Appetito!

PS. Mamy finalmente ieri mi sono cimentata nella Carlona anche se ho dovuto sostituire il guanciale con la pancetta e gli spaghetti alla chitarra (introvabili qui) con le linguine. A me e’ piaciuta un sacco, mentre Nat l’ha trovata buona ma non supera le sue favorite. Comunque e’ semplicissima e rapida da fare … non ci vuole proprio nulla. Che te ne pare delle foto? e’ proprio come quella di Marcella?

My Special Christmas dishes!

Recipe 114: this is not a classic italian Christmas recipe but, for a reason or another, this rice is something i always cook in Christmas. Last year i did it for my parents who came to London to see me, and this year I prepared it for my friends before to come back to Italy for the Christmas break.

Just to make the dinner a  bit more interesting i also prepared a little and super-easy starter that goes really well with the rice. An amazing champagne and wine completed the dinner.

For three people the ingredients are: a bunch of asparagus (8/10)- 250gr rice – around 100gr goat cheese – 1 onion – butter – 50/70gr pancetta – a glass of white wine – a vegetable stock – pepper – salt – chilli  and if you also want to do the starter you will need around 300 gr of Jumbo prawns.

As usual, let’s start from the onion: cut it in little pieces and put it in a quite big sauce pan with some butter or olive oil. Wait for the color to become goldish and add the pancetta. In the mean time wash and cut the asparagus in 2 or three pieces and put them to boil in a little sauce pan, while in a another container you will put some water to boil for the vegetable stock.

When the pancetta is a bit cooked, add the rice and let it toast in the sauce pan. after few minutes you can add the white wine and mix it all until the wine is totally evaporated. add some of the vegetable stock water and let it cook always mixing a bit to don’t make the rice stick to the pan.

Waiting for the rice to cook, you can now prepare the starter: put some batter in a pan and let it melt. After a bit you can put the jumbo prawns with some salt, pepper and chilli. Wait for them to fried a bit with the butter and then add some white wine. in thsi way you will create a nice sauce that will help the prawns to be cooked and the taste will be amazing. Wait until they are a nice orange color and you can serve them in a plate with some of teh asparagus you put to boil before.

Be careful: for the rice you will use mainly the tender points of the vegetable, so i suggest you to use for the started the other part of the vegetable that for the rice would be too hard.

When the rice is almost cooked add the tender parts of teh asparagus you boiled before with their water, to maintain more flavour and mixing all wait for the rice to cook and the water to evaporate.

When the rice is ready, take it off from the fire and add the goat cheese in pieces: mix it all and the cheese will melt giving to the plate even more consistency and a great taste. Then serve it as usual with some Parmesan!

Buon appetito e Buon Natale!

PS. Mamy te lo ricordi questo riso che vi ho fatto l’anno scorso e che vi era piaciuto tanto? beh questo anno ho bissato e l’ho preparato per la nostra cena natalizia a casa prima che partissi con anche un bell’antipasto di gamberetti! Ormai questo risotto e’ diventato il mio piatto natalizio e viene sempre benissimo!

Spaghetti alla carbonara… also in Holland!

Recipe 119: This is so much a classic, that it’s a dish we cook often when we want to eat a good and quick plate of pasta. In fact in my recent trip to Holland, on my last day we ate at home and we cooked spaghetti alla Carbonara.

Of course i first tried all the Dutch specialties , but a nice plate of pasta is very difficult to beat!

However if you pass for Holland you will need to try the fresh made dutch waffles, the Gouda cheese, you need to eat out and try one of their mix-asiatic dishes (their colonies in Asia have created a nice mix food culture), the special queen Wilhelmina’s peppermints (but i can suggest you these very good gums too, also if the name is not really inviting) and finally you need to try one of the FEBO’s specialties and you can’t avoid that considering there are so many FEBO and in the weekend everyone goes around with french fries and junk food.

But let’s comeback to the recipe of the pasta. The ingredients for 2 people are: 250 gr spaghetti – 2 fresh eggs – 1 onion – 75 gr pancetta – Parmesan (better if you can find Pecorino cheese) – salt – pepper. Very easy!!!

Cut the onion in little pieces and put it in a pan with a bit of oil. If you want you can also give more taste to the oil adding a little piece of garlic that you can cook and then remove (Consider that the real Carbonara is just with oil and garlic, but if you put onion too, the taste will be even better).

Then add the pancetta and in the meantime put the Spaghetti in hot salty water. Wait a bit for the pancetta to cook and in the meantime you can grate the Parmesan or  Pecorino cheese (depending if you like a stronger flavor). Put the 2 eggs in a little container and mix a bit until you reach a worm yellow color. No comments about his portable colander!

At this point when the pasta is ready (and still just a bit hard) drain it and place it back in the sauce pan with the pancetta and onion, Parmesan or Pecorino, mix all and then add also the 2 eggs, without put anything on the gas. This is the secret of this pasta. You don’t need any cream, but just the eggs will give the necessary creamy consistence to the dish.

When ready just serve with some more Parmesan and black pepper.

Buon appetito!!!

PS. Mamy questa e’ la carbonara che abbiamo fatto con Carlo prima che prendessi il volo. Avevamo una fame e devo dire che lui e’ stato bravissimo. La cottura era perfetta ed immagina che c’aveva anche il pecorino! Che buono!Chi la batte la carbonara? Invece prima ho parlato di alcuni prodotti tipici danesi, che a dire la verita’ non sono moltissimi, ma buoni, specialmente i waffles.

Peas… the italian way !

Recipe 122: Today i give you a super easy recipe to eat vegetables in a new way and they are perfect when you have guests….everyone likes peas.

You will need for 3 people: 400 – 500 gr frozen peas (depends by what you are going to serve with them) – 1 onion – 70gr pancetta and 1 vegetable stock.

Piselli con pancetta 1

If you will use frozen peas, you will need to start boiling them. In the meantime, cut the onion and put it in a pan with some olive oil.

After a bit add the pancetta and let everything cook.When the peas are ready, put them too in the pan. In another saucepan place some boiling water and a vegetable stock to create the “brodo”. When this will be ready, add it to the peas, little by little and let them cook.

Piselli con pancetta 2

When they will be soft and the green will be less bright, the peas will be ready to be eaten.

Buon appetito!

PS: questo e’ un classico che non vedevo l’ora di cucinare. Peccato che il guanciale non ce l’abbiamo…veramente non l’ho neanche cercato, ma non dubito sia difficile da trovare. Con la carne e le patate ci stavano veramente deliziosi. Papa’ non sei piu’ il solo a mangiarteli!!!!

Pasta alla burina (-65 weeks)

burina 1Recipe 129: For our french friend coming on friday night i wanted to cook something special and i did one of my mum best recipe for pasta. I have to say i found online lots of “pasta alla burina” recipes and all quite different between them. Let’s just say this is my family’s one.

And because in this season mushrooms are the main ingredients, i though this dish could be the right one…the only problem was the preparation: it was a bit long and we were starving!

However these are the ingredients for 3 people: 350 gr. of short pasta (the real recipe is with “mezze maniche” but in London i had to use “rigatoni”) – 30gr of dried Porcini mushrooms – 60 gr pancetta – 30 gr ham – 50 gr butter – Parmesan – salt – a bit of chillies – oil.

burina 2

Start putting the dried mushrooms in a bowl with warm water for about an hour. In the meantime cut the pancetta and the ham. Put them in a pan with a bit of oil and cook them.

When the mushroom are soft, drain them, but use a kitchen cloth to strain the water and conserve it to cook the sauce. This water will give the most of the taste to the dish. Then cut the mushroom in little pieces and put them in the pan with pancetta and ham. Add the butter in pieces, salt and some chillies. Cook a bit and then start to add the water from the mushroom too.

Let evaporate the water and then add a bit more until the end of it. You can also leave the pan covered on a low fire and check it time by time, adding the water when needed. This sauce will take at least half an hour to be ready.

Burina 3

When the water will be almost finished and the sauce is almost done ( not make it too dry) you can put the pasta in salted boiled water following the time written on the bag…normally around 10 minutes. When ready, put the pasta in the pan with the sauce, mix until the pasta absorb it a bit and become a nice brownish color and serve it with a lot of Parmesan.

Buon appetito!

PS. A parte il tempo necessario per ammorbidire i funghi e far assorbire l’acqua del sugo, la ricetta e’ facile e mi piace ancora di piu’ perche’ non usa la panna, ma che fame che avevamo!!! Me la sono finita senza nenache essermela goduta…ma il sapore era proprio come quella che fai tu! La prossima volta che la faro’ mi prendero’ un po’ piu’ di tempo per cucinarla e mangiarmela!