Light Béchamel Sauce (Gluten-free White Sauce)

Béchamel sauce is a delicious white sauce, traditionally used to enrich various recipes like lasagna, cannelloni, crepes and other oven-baked pasta dishes.  Usually made with butter and flour, today we are going to make a lighter gluten-free and Parmesan-flavoured version of this wonderful sauce.
It is a fairly easy and quick recipe to make, just mix the cornstarch with the milk and cook the sauce really gradually and slowly….Take your time with it, heat it gently and stir it constantly during the entire preparation method and you’ll be all right!

Tip. The béchamel sauce might thicken a little too much when it cools down. You can solve this problem by heating the sauce up with some hot milk over a low heat and then blending everything using a mixer. With this method you should get a smooth sauce with the desired consistency.

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Gluten-free Béchamel sauce (white sauce with cornstarch)

Ingredients

600 ml of milk

80 g of cornstarch

4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

a pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

1. In a pan, mix the milk with 80 g of cornstarch (add the milk very gradually).

2. Warm the milk up over a low heat, then bring slowly to a boil, stirring constantly and vigorously. When the sauce has thickened, add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir for a few more minutes. Remove from the heat.

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3. Season with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of grated nutmeg (optional), salt, pepper and serve.

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Besciamella con amido di mais (senza glutine)

Ingredienti

600 ml di latte

80 g di amido di mais

4 cucchiai di Parmigiano Reggiano

sale e pepe q. b.

un pizzico di noce moscata

un cucchiaio d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

Preparazione.

1. Mescolate il latte freddo con 80 g di amido di mais (aggiungete il latte molto gradualmente).

2. Mettete il latte sul fuoco e portate ad ebollizione, mescolando energicamente. Quando la crema si sarà addensata, aggiungete il parmigiano grattugiato e mescolate per qualche minuto.

3. Spegnete il fuoco, condite con un cucchiaio di olio extra vergine d’oliva, un pizzico di noce moscata, sale, pepe e servite.

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Even Better Than Apple Pie! (Vegan)

Nothing better than a thick and creamy apple smoothie, aromatised with lemon, maple syrup and cinnamon to make you feel utterly spoiled! This smoothie will make you feel special inside out! It’s not just a wonderful way to take care of yourself, it’ s a delicious and quick-to-make treat that you’ll truly enjoy! But don’t take my word for it, give it a try!

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I almost forgot to add that this smoothie is packed with calcium, proteins and nutrients…

Enjoy!

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Apple pie smoothie

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 golden apples

60 g of almonds, with skins

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

200 ml of almond milk (or the vegetable milk you prefer)

the grated zest of half a lemon (use organic lemons)

2 tablespoons of rolled oats

a pinch of grated cinnamon

4 ice cubes

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Method.

1. Roast the almonds for 7-10 minutes at 160 ° C (320 °F). Remove from the oven, then finely grind the almonds until you get a paste and let cool.

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2. Peel and clean apples.

3. In a blender, blend the almond paste, the chopped apples, the rolled oats, then add 4 ice cubes, the almond milk, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and the grated lemon zest with a pinch of cinnamon. Blend everything until smooth.

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4. Garnish with a few mint leaves, a couple of straws and serve.

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Apple Pie smoothie

Ingredienti

per 2 smoothies

2 mele golden

60 g di mandorle con la buccia

2 cucchiai di sciroppo d’acero

200 ml di latte di mandorla

buccia grattugiata di mezzo limone, non trattato

due cucchiai di fiocchi d’avena integrale

un pizzico di cannella grattugiata

4 cubetti di ghiaccio

Preparazione.

1. Tostate le mandorle per 7-10 minuti a 160° C. Togliete le mandorle dal forno e tritatele molto finemente.

2. Tagliate e pulite le mele.

3. Frullate insieme le mandorle tritate, la polpa di mele e i fiocchi d’avena; aggiungete 4 cubetti di ghiaccio, il latte di mandorla, la buccia grattugiata di mezzo limone, due cucchiai di sciroppo d’acero e un pizzico di cannella. Continuate a frullare fino ad ottenere una crema.

4. Guarnite con qualche foglia di menta, due cannucce e servite.

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Traditional Recipe: Easy Spinach Flan

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This week we are going to prepare a light spinach flan, made with lots of spinach, fresh ricotta, eggs and parmesan cheese. It is an incredibly easy dish to make and so tasty, it can be served as a main vegetarian meal with some fresh salad on the side, but it is also a wonderful side dish.
My mother prepares this flan very often and we love it! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Easy spinach flan

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

500 g of fresh spinach, washed and ready to cook

80 g of Parmigiano Reggiano

2 large eggs

250 g ricotta

3 tablespoons of polenta (or breadcrumbs)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

1. Soften the spinach in a large pan with two tablespoons of water, over a low heat for a few minutes.

2. Drain the spinach and let cool (as the spinach will release some water when they cook). Then vigorously squeeze the vegetables for a few minutes.

3. Coarsely chop the spinach using a knife.

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4. In a large bowl, mix 250g ricotta with two large eggs, 80 g Parmesan cheese, then season with salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Mix well.

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5. Line a small baking pan with a sheet of baking paper (I used a 22 cm x 6 cm round pan), then grease the base with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

6. Pour the spinach mixture into the pan, sprinkle with lots of polenta (or breadcrumbs) and bake at 180 ° C (356 °F) until the flan is golden brown around the edges. Serve warm or cold, as you prefer.

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Sformato di spinaci (facile)

Ingredienti

per 4-6 persone

500 g di spinaci freschi in busta

80 g di Parmigiano Reggiano

2 uova medio-grandi

250 g di ricotta

polenta (o pangrattato)

4 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

Noce moscata

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Fate ammorbidire gli spinaci in una pentola con due cucchiai d’acqua, a fuoco molto basso per qualche minuto.

2. Scolate e lasciate raffreddare gli spinaci, poi strizzateli energicamente.

3. Tritate grossolanamente gli spinaci usando un coltello.

4. Unite 250 g di ricotta a due uova con 80 g di Parmigiano Reggiano grattugiato, poi condite con sale, pepe, un pizzico di noce moscata e due cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva. Mescolate bene.

5. Ricoprite una teglia con carta da forno (uso una casseruola di 22 cm x 6 cm) e ungete la base con due cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva.

6. Versate il contenuto nella teglia, cospargete la superficie con abbondante polenta e infornate a 180° C, fino a quando lo sformato sarà dorato sulla parte superiore.

Pear And Gorgonzola Risotto (no oil, no butter)

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This pear and gorgonzola risotto is definitely another highly addictive dish!….One of those dishes that you just can’t stop eating, even when you have picked up the last grain of rice and swept up the all the traces of what was left on the plate with a spoon!

A truly delicious risotto, where the flavours blends perfectly together and the consistency is perfectly creamy and yet quite “light”. In fact, there is no need to add any oil or butter, because the cheese already does the job!

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Cooking tips.

1. For the preparation of this dish you’ll need quite a good quantity of pepper and salt to balance out the flavours and sweetness of the pears.

2. It is important to keep the vegetable broth quite warm during the whole cooking process, in this way the rice won’t stop cooking when you add the broth to the risotto.

3. Always get the best quality ingredients when making a risotto! For this dish I used the best quality of fresh Gorgonzola, sweet, tangy and so creamy that it literally melts in the mouth.

Pear and gorgonzola risotto.

Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes

Easy

Ingredients

Serves 4

320 g risotto rice (Carnaroli or Arboreo)

3 kaiser pears (or any pear suitable for cooking)

200 g good quality Gorgonzola cheese, cut into small pieces

80 g of Grana Padano cheese

salt to taste

plenty of ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)

1 litre of hot vegetable stock (I used an organic cube stock, without glutamate)

Method

1. Peel and clean the pears, then cut the fruit into little pieces.

2. Toast the rice grains in a pan (without any oil or butter) for a few minutes.

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3. Add the pieces of fruit with two ladles of broth and let shimmer over a low heat.

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4. Once the liquid has almost completely evaporated, add more broth and let evaporate again, then continue this process until the rice is cooked (the rice will take about 18-20 minutes to cook).

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5. When the rice is properly cooked, add 200 g of Gorgonzola cheese, 80 g of Grana Padano, salt and pepper. Mix well.

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6. Mix well, then cover the pan with a lid and let sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

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Note.

At the end of the cooking process the risotto should be very creamy, however it might thicken a little when you add the cheeses (see step 5). It’s ok, you can solve this problem by adding one or two ladles of warm vegetable broth to the risotto, which will make it creamier.

Risotto alle pere e gorgonzola

Tempo di preparazione e cottura: 25 minuti

Facile

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

320 g di riso da risotto (Carnaroli o Arboreo)

3 pere kaiser (o altre pere adatte alla cottura)

200 g di gorgonzola di buona qualità, tagliato a cubetti piccoli

1 litro di brodo vegetale caldo (uso del dado biologico senza glutammato)

80 g di Grana Padano

prezzemolo fresco tritato molto finemente (facoltativo)

sale q. b.

pepe a volontà

Preparazione.

1. Pelate e pulite le pere, poi tagliate la polpa a pezzi piccoli.

2. Fate tostare i chicchi di riso in una pentola (senza olio o burro) per qualche minuto.

3. Unite la polpa delle pere con due mestoli di brodo al riso. Mescolate e lasciate evaporare il liquido a fuoco molto basso.

4. Aggiungete gradualmente altro brodo e fate evaporare, continuando così per tutto il tempo di cottura (il risotto cuoce in 18-20 minuti).

5. A cottura terminata, aggiungete 200 g di Gorgonzola, 80 g di Grana grattugiato, sale e tanto pepe.

6. Mescolate bene, coprite la pentola con un coperchio e lasciate mantecare per qualche minuto. Aggiungete del prezzemolo tritato finemente e servite.

Nota.

Se a fine cottura il risotto dovesse risultare poco cremoso, aggiungete un po’ di brodo caldo, quindi mescolate e fate mantecare.

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