venerdì 31 maggio 2013

Insalata yummy

Sundried tomatoes: nothing to add, they are delicious!

When I was a child, I helped my granny to prepare them.
It was really tough because each tomato needed to be selected, washed, cut and dried before lying it on a big sheet with a cheesecloth outside for some sunny days.
This was a very time consuming and tiring procedure. Today the oven and the dehydrator make it easier but less poetic!

Try this combination of ingredients to have a yummy salad

mesclun (rocket, valerian, red chicory)
parmesan cheese shavings
almond flakes
sundried tomatoes
reduced or balsamic vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil

Dress in a bowl the mesclun with evo oil and salt. Add the almond flakes, preferably oven roasted and the sundried tomatoes. Unless they are already preserved in olive oil, let them soak in warm water for 15 min until soft and drain.

Complete with the parmesan shaving and a reduced balsamic vinegar drizzle.


                              Have a nice weekend and see you on Monday for a touch of green!

giovedì 30 maggio 2013

Biscotti di mandorle ed arancia

It's sugar time!!!

I love savory but sometimes crunching a cookie or nibbling a piece of cake is a priceless and deep moment of pure pleasure!

Let's start with these cookies that are a good breakfast or tea option.

150 gr almond powder
150 gr powdered sugar
a little pinch of baking powder
2 egg whites
orange zest

Begin whisking the egg whites, when foamy, begin slowly adding the sugar to the mixture till glossy medium-hard peaks.
Use a spatula to gently fold in the almond powder, the pinch of baking powder then the orange zest.

Set a pot on the low-medium stove with the cookie mixture and stir for 10/ 12 till It is more yellow and sticky.

Using two tablespoons, gently dollop the cookie mixture into a wax paper-lined pan, leaving space around the individual cookies on all sides (about 12/15 cookies ).

Bake in a 160° C preheated oven for 10/12 min. Remove from the oven and let cool down.

Sprinkle powdered sugar and orange zest on cookies and keep them in a tin.

mercoledì 29 maggio 2013

Spaghetti al pomodoro fresco

Pasta al pomodoro, I do not know a dish more Italian and delicious than this!

Even if It is a very easy recipe, It is pretty hard to find a good pasta al pomodoro.
Easy does not mean shoddy. Each ingredient must be chosen in its top quality and balancing the tomato sweet/sour is also essential to have a tasty and aromatic sauce, so It means that you need to try the tomatoes before cooking.

Take not of this basic recipe for 2.

200 gr spaghetti
12/15 raw cherry tomatoes (I have used the Pachino cherry ones)
1 big garlic clove
fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
baking soda, if necessary
Heat extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the clove garlic crushed and the cherry tomatoes sliced in 4 parts (throwing out their water and the seeds) and salt. Cook and stir for 10 min (if your tomatoes are more acidic, add a pinch of baking soda).

Drain your pasta very "al dente", saving a glass of the cooking water.
Put the pasta in the skillet with the tomatoes and mix, adding the quantity of the cooking water needed to have a more juicy and creamy sauce.

Remove the skillet from heat. Add fresh basil leaves and if you want, parmesan and red pepper flakes.

martedì 28 maggio 2013


Pummarò        Pummarò       Pummarò
Pomodoro       Pomodoro      Pomodoro
Tomato            Tomato           Tomato
Tomate            Tomate           Tomate
طماطم                طماطم                  طماطم
Tomaat           Tomaat            Tomaat
Tomaten         Tomaten         Tomaten
トマト               トマト              トマト

Juice, coulis, paste, sauce, ice cream, sorbet, jam, sun-dried, confit, gratin, as soup or gaspacho, in a salad, as cocktail, stuffed or to bite one after the other in their  perfect balance between sweet and sour!

I love red, I love tomatoes!

Tomato arrived in Europe from America thanks to the Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, in 1540 and nowadays Italy is one of the top ten tomato producers with several protected geographical indications (PGI) and protected designation of origin (PDO) from the European Union regulation No 1151/2012. It is the product excellence of our Made in Italy.

There are around 7500 tomato varieties, divided mainly on shape and size. Some varieties are mostly used for sauces and paste as the grape or the plum tomato while the cherry and the beefsteak for fresh salad. They are full of powerful natural antioxidants (lycopene), vitamins and beta carotenes.
They are the fruit of summer but as an English journalist, Miles Kington, said: "Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting in your fruit salad".
Here below my suggestion for your dishes:

Pomodoro San Marzano, big red oblong shaped. The name San Marzano designates the area of growth for which they have  a PGI label. They are the best tinned plum tomatoes and by far the best choice for sauces and mainly for pizza topping.
When you buy your can, be sure that the tomatoes come from Sarno and its neighborhood in the province of Salerno.
Pomodoro Piccadilly, big red oval shaped, good for any sort of dish.
3 Pomodoro Ciliegino, small red cherry tomato. They are good for salad, sauce and jam. The best  cherry tomatoes comes from Pachino (Sicily) and they have a PGI label. The Pachino tomato can also be a red or green grape tomato and a green beefsteak.
Pomodoro Datterino, small red oval shaped, good for salad, fresh or raw sauce.
Pomodoro del Piennolo, small red oblong grape tomato. It grows around Mont Vesuvius  and has a PDO (protected designation of origin) label. They are picked in mid-June (for this reason they are not on my picture) and held all together by a string to be kept home for winter. They are very good for sauces and pizza.

 Get ready for the next "red lights" cooking with this love apple.


lunedì 27 maggio 2013

Spezzatino di manzo primaverile

This unforeseen breezy May brings a springly, light beef stew for 2 to the table for a tasty and protein beginning of the week!

400 gr beef cut into bite-sized chunks (bottom round roast, cheap and lean cut of meat)
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of tomato paste
Djion mustard
olive oil
white wine

Set a pot on the stove over medium-high heat with the carrots, the leek, the celery stalk (roughly chopped) and the tomato paste. Flavour with a pinch of ginger, nutmeg, salt and 2 cups of water, some olive oil for 10 min.

Rub the meat with salt and pepper then brush the chuncks with the mustard and flour them.

Put the immersion blender* into the pot for less than a minute then add the beef chuncks, 1/2 cup of white wine and other water, if necessary, to cover all the meat.

Simmer covered for 30/40 min.

This is a very light and fresh version stew with no milk, cream, cinnamon and cloves that are more suitable for winter time.

*If you don't have an immersion blender or a food processor, you can cut all the vegetables in very small pieces ans simmer for 20 min.


venerdì 24 maggio 2013

Bucatini profumati

I know that you can be tired when you come back home after work and especially after this long cloudy week but this is a very easy, express and fragrant recipe to start cooking with me so no EXCUSE!

Go to a wonderful farmers' market or to the closest supermarket and be sure to put into your basket (recipe for 2):
200 gr bucatini (spaghetti or spaghettoni)
120 gr ricotta
black pepper to grind coarsely (Sichuan pepper would be the best and finest choice)
chives (fresh or dried)
lemon zest

While pasta is cooking, put in a bowl little pieces of chives or the dried ones, ricotta, salt and 8/10 spoon of the pasta cooking water. Mix to have a soft and plain cream.

Drain pasta, turn the stove off and add the cream. Mix, moving your pot from one side to another and from the bottom to the top.

Serve with lemon zest, the black pepper, coarse ground and a drizziling of evo (extra virgin olive oil).

giovedì 23 maggio 2013


I am Italian so I am naturally pasta addict.
I want to try with this first post to help you to tidy your messy pasta cupboard up.

PASTA, which kind?
There are several types of pasta according to the  wheat/raw products, the technology used and the shapes to manufacture pasta.
It can be dried, namely prepared with semolina or fresh, usually prepared with eggs. It is possible to find green pasta (with spinach), red pasta (with red pepper or tomato) and the black pasta (with the squid ink) or with the addition of different grain (one of the finest is with the wheat germ).
There are the long (spaghetti, spaghettoni, linguine, bucatini, vermicelli, etc. ), the short (penne, fusilli, tortiglioni, rigatoni, etc.), the soup shapes (tubetti, ditali, ditaloni, pasta mista, etc.) and the specialities (orecchiette, paccheri, spaghetti alla chitarra, etc.).

PASTA, how to cook it?
Cooking pasta is a ritual so there is no different way to cook it.
Put a pot with cold water on the stove. When the water starts boiling, add  coarse salt and pasta. Mix pasta immediately to avoid a bad sticky effect.
The cooking time is usually indicate on the pasta package. In any case pasta is ready when you cut it with a fork and the inner white part is no longer visible. Personally I prefer pasta very "al dente" so I drain it earlier. The thicker the white inner section, the more "al dente" pasta will be.
If you need to continue the cooking in a frying pan, your pasta must be drained "al dente".

PASTA, which brand?
Taste is something personal so I can say which brand I prefer.
I love De Cecco ( and Garofalo ( that  are very good Italian brands, supplied everywhere.
My big passion is for Vicidomini ( ),  Cocco ( and Pastai Gragnanesi (, top Italian brands, hard to find also in Italy unless fine deli shops  (they are also pretty expensive).

                                   ... Now you are ready to cook un piatto di pasta with me?...