Tag Archives: vegetable stock

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!

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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!

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!

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!!!!