Category Archives: Condiment

Traditional Recipe : Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce (Sugo Finto)

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I have to admit that since I stopped eating meat there are some traditional dishes that I really miss…Bolognese sauce is one of them! There is a very tasty vegetarian alternative though,  which is as good as the original Bolognese sauce with all the flavour of an old fashioned classic! This amazing sauce is called sugo finto ( fake sauce), an old traditional recipe made using minced vegetables instead of meat.  This sauce can easily replace the Bolognese sauce in many recipes such as cannelloni, lasagne or any other dish which requires a similar sauce.

The sugo finto is delicious and it has been on my family menu for generations! In fact, my mother remembers my grandfather’s aunty preparing the sauce for meatless family meals on Fridays.

The sugo finto is a must for vegetarians who love tasty traditional recipes!!!!

Try it and let me know what you think…

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Vegetarian Bolognese sauce (sugo finto)

Ingredients

1 can of tomato passata (best quality)

1/2 an onion (medium size)

1 clove of garlic

1 carrot

2 stalks of celery

1 big bunch of fresh aromatic herbs (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, 2 bay leaves, oregano)

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons of tomato paste

1/2 a organic stock cube

a large glass of water

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Method.

1. Finely chop the rosemary.

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2. Cut the celery, carrot and garlic in small pieces, then place the vegetables with the herbs (without the bay leaves) in the mixer and blend for a few minutes. Now add the onion and blend once more.

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3. Fry the vegetables with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add two bay leaves.

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4. Add 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, then add the passata and stir.

5. During the cooking time add a large glass of water and mix well.

6. Cook and stir until you get a Bolognese sauce consistency.

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Tip. The cooking time may vary between 30 or 50 minutes, depending on whether you want a slightly milder sauce or dense sauce with a stronger flavour.

Ragù vegetariano (sugo finto)

Ingredienti

400 g di passata di pomodoro (di ottima qualità)

1/2 cipolla di media grandezza

1 spicchio d’aglio

1 carota

2 gambi di sedano

1 mazzetto bello grosso di erbe aromatiche fresche (maggiorana, timo, rosmarino, 2 foglie di alloro, origano)

4 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva

4 cucchiai di concentrato di pomodoro

1/2 dado biologico di buona qualità

un bicchiere d’acqua

Preparazione.

1. Tritate finemente il rosmarino.

2. Tagliare il sedano, la carota e l’aglio a pezzetti. Mettete quindi le verdure con le erbe (senza l’alloro) nel mixer e sminuzzate per qualche minuto. Aggiungete anche la cipolla e continuate a sminuzzare fino ad ottenere un tritato abbastanza fine.

3. Fate soffriggere le verdure sminuzzate con 4 cucchiai d’olio, per una decina di minuti. Aggiungete  anche due foglie intere di alloro.

4. Aggiungete 4 cucchiai di concentrato di pomodoro, poi unite la passata al concentrato e mescolate bene.

5. Durante la cottura annaffiate con un bicchiere d’acqua e mescolate di tanto in tanto.

6. Fate ritirare il liquido in eccesso e lasciate cuocere fino ad ottenere un sugo con la consistenza del ragù.

Nota. Il tempo di cottura può variare da 30 a 50 minuti, a seconda se desiderate un sugo più delicato oppure più denso e dal sapore un po’ più deciso.

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Light Avocado And Garlic “Mayonnaise” (Vegan)

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Avocado is a delicious highly nutritional food, full of good vegetable fat; it also contains some vegetable proteins, a high quantity of folic acid and a good quantity of vitamin E. Avocado is a healthy ingredient for your recipes but it contains lots of calories, therefore it’s better not to eat too large a quantity of it. I usually replace mayonnaise or butter with some avocado in various sandwiches…It goes really well with several kinds of fish and seafood, but it is also great with tomatoes, onions and green salads.

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Today I am sharing a light “mayonnaise”, actually more a fake mayonnaise sauce or a kind of hummus, as it does not contain any oil or eggs but lots of avocado and lemon juice!

Wonderful with prawn, mackerel or egg sandwiches. It is also a great vegan sauce to use with lots of different vegetables…

Enjoy the recipe! X

Light avocado and garlic “mayonnaise”.

1 large avocado

1 clove of garlic

the juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

a few crystals of sea salt (here I am actually using Himalayan salt)

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Method.

1. With a small mortar crush a tablespoon of sesame seeds with a few crystals of sea salt.

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2. Using a mixer, blend the pulp of an avocado with the crushed sesame seeds and a clove of garlic until smooth (remember to remove the core of the garlic clove).

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3. Add the juice of a lemon and blend until you get a creamy mixture.

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Maionese light di avocado (aromatizzata all’aglio).

1 avocado grande

1 spicchio d’aglio (togliete l’anima)

il succo di mezzo limone

1 cucchiaio di semi di sesamo

alcuni cristalli di sale marino ( qui in realtà uso sale rosa dell’ Himalaya)

Preparazione.

1. Frantumate in un piccolo mortaio un cucchiaio di semi di sesamo con alcuni cristalli di sale marino (bastano pochi minuti).

2. Utilizzando un mixer, amalgamate bene la polpa di un avocado con i semi di sesamo schiacciati e uno spicchio d’aglio.

3. Aggiungere il succo di un limone e frullate fino ad ottenere un composto molto cremoso.

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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Also see the Crepes with swiss chard and borage filling recipe and the Buckwheat Crepes recipe

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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Guardate anche la ricetta delle Crepes di grano saraceno e la ricetta delle Crepes con ripieno di bietole e borragine.

Traditional Recipe: Pesto Alla Genovese

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Pesto is a well known basil sauce originating in Genoa. This delicious sauce is traditionally served with various kinds of pasta such as trofie, lasagne and gnocchi or used to enrich dishes like vegetables soups and even pizzas! Countless variations already exist, but the best pesto is made with only basil and extra virgin olive oil from Liguria, because they are very aromatic and really make a difference when it comes to flavour. During the preparation method, we use a mortar because it is a slow and gentle process that doesn’t alter the quality and flavour of the ingredients.

Having said that, you can make a wonderful pesto using a blender and any of your local ingredients….so give it a go!!I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

Today we will see how to prepare a delicious pesto using either a mortar or a blender…You choose! 🙂

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Tips.

1. In the traditional recipe we only use well-aged Parmesan and Pecorino. Both these cheeses are quite salty, therefore it is better to use only a few crystals of salt in the recipe and taste the sauce when it’s ready; you can always add the salt later, if needed.

2. It is possible to dilute the pesto with water, in order to obtain a creamier sauce. I usually mix a couple of tablespoons of hot water with the sauce, just before mixing it with the pasta. Then stir vigorously with a spoon and add the pasta.

3. To preserve the pesto, put the sauce in a jar and cover with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, then seal well with a lid and put it in the fridge. The sauce will last up to 5 days, if properly preserved.

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Pesto alla Genovese.

36 leaves of fresh basil, washed and dried

1 clove of garlic

3 tablespoons of well-aged Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon of aged Pecorino cheese, grated (you can add more Parmesan if you don’t find the Pecorino)

1 tbsp of pine nuts

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive or more, if needed

sea salt crystals to taste

Method 1 (traditional method with a mortar)

1. Using a mortar, crush the garlic with only a couple of salt crystals.

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2. Remove the stems and gradually add all the basil leaves with a couple of salt crystals at a time. Move the pestle in circular motion and firmly crush all the leaves, adding more as you go along.

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3. Add the pine nuts and the grated cheeses, then continue mixing the ingredients with a gentile circular motion.

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4. Add the extra virgin olive oil and mix until you get a creamy pesto.

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Method 2 ((with an immersion blender or food processor)

This is definitely a quicker method, however, you have to be a little bit careful in order to avoid burning the basil leaves using the blender. You can easily avoid this, by adding some cold water (it has to be really cold) to prevent the blade from heating up and spoiling the basil.

1. Put all the ingredients in a tall container and add only 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Start blending and add 2 tablespoons of really cold water.

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2. Blend everything for a few minutes, then add the rest of the extra virgin olive oil and continue blending until you get a nice creamy pesto.

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See also the arugula pesto recipe.

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Pesto alla genovese.

1 spicchio d’aglio

36 foglie di basilico, lavate e asciugate

1 cucchiaio di pinoli

3 cucchiai di parmigiano ben stagionato e grattugiato

1 cucchiaio di pecorino sardo stagionato e grattugiato

Olio extra vergine d’oliva q. b.

sale grosso q. b.

Metodo 1 (con il mortaio)

Nota. Una volta aggiunto il basilico, il pestello va mosso in senso rotatorio per non rovinare le foglie. Il basilico deve mantenere il suo colore verde vivo.

1. Usando un mortaio, pestate l’aglio con due cristalli di sale grosso (useremo poco sale perché i formaggi utilizzati nella ricetta sono già salati).

2. Togliete i gambi e aggiungete gradualmente le foglie di basilico con qualche cristallo di sale. Muovete il pestello in senso rotatorio e pestate tutte le foglie.

3. Aggiungete i pinoli con i formaggi grattugiati e continuate ad amalgamare gli ingredienti con il pestello.

4. Aggiungete l’olio a filo, fino ad ottenere un battuto cremoso.

Metodo 2 ((con il frullatore ad immersione)

Per fare il pesto in modo pratico e veloce, si può utilizzare il frullatore ad immersione con un contenitore alto e stretto. Prima di tritare tutti gli ingredienti è importante aggiungere un paio di cucchiai d’acqua ghiacciata, per evitare che la lama del frullatore si scaldi e quindi rovini il basilico.

1. Mettete il basilico, i pinoli e i formaggi nel contenitore con 3 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva e 2 cucchiai d’acqua ghiacciata.

2. Tritate per qualche minuto, poi aggiungete altro olio e tritate fino ad ottenere un pesto cremoso.

Nota.

Per ottenere un pesto ancora più cremoso, si può aggiungere un po’ d’acqua di cottura della pasta al condimento.

Vedi anche la ricetta per il pesto di rucola.

Traditional Recipe: Salsa Verde (Fresh Parsley Sauce)

Salsa Verde is a great condiment which enriches dishes with a fresh and distinctive garlic-parsley flavour. It is excellent served with boiled meat, steamed fish or vegetables dishes. Salsa Verde is prepared with a few ingredients and is very fast and simple to make.

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This sauce is widely used and appreciated in Italy, in fact, there are several versions of it. As usually happens with most traditional Italian dishes, the ingredients and flavours vary depending on the region or town in which they have been prepared.
It is a very tasty sauce, however, to further enrich the flavour of this wonderful sauce you can also add pine nuts, capers and olives.

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Salsa Verde.

Preparation: 5 minutes (+ the time to boil the eggs)

Difficulty: very easy

1 big bunch of parsley.

1 clove of garlic

1 anchovy (preserved in oil)

A little bit of soft bread (with no crust), soaked in white wine vinegar

2 hard-boiled egg yolks

100 ml of extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of very cold water

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Method

1. Mix the parsley leaves, the garlic, the egg yolks and the anchovy in a food processor, with 2 tablespoons of cold water but without the extra virgin olive oil.

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2. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and mix well.

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3. Serve in a small bowl with fish, vegetables or meat dishes (boiled or steamed).

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Salsa verde.

Tempo di preparazione: 5 minuti (+ il tempo di bollire le uova)

Facilissima

1 mazzetto di prezzemolo.

1 spicchio d’aglio (senza l’anima)

1 acciuga sott’olio

la mollica di un panino medio-piccolo, inzuppata nell’aceto bianco

2 tuorli d’uova sode

100 ml d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

sale e pepe macinato fresco q. b.

2 cucchiai d’acqua molto fredda

Metodo.

1. Tritate (utilizzando un tritatutto) le foglie di prezzemolo, i tuorli d’uova, l’acciuga e l’aglio con due cucchiai d’acqua fredda, senza aggiungere l’olio.

2. Versate il composto ottenuto in una ciotola, aggiungete l’olio extra vergine d’oliva, condite con poco sale e pepe e mescolate bene.

3. Servite la salsa in una piccola ciotola accompagnando piatti di pesce, carni o verdure bollite (o cotte a vapore).

Super Tasty and Healthy Rocket Pesto

The most famous Italian pesto is made with fresh basil and is a traditional Genoese dish. In Italy, however many variations exist of this lovely condiment.
My mother, for example, prepares a delicious rocket pesto made with pine nuts and Parmesan, using the plants she has in the garden. Today I am going to share this lovely recipe, but instead of pine nuts I am using a few hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds.
Pesto is a very healthy condiment that you should definitely have in your fridge.
The rocket leaves are rich in vitamin C and also contain potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. They have a slightly bitter peppery flavour, which I love.

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Tips.

1. Making pesto is very easy. Use an immersion blander and mix all the dry ingredients first and then add the extra virgin olive oil at the end. Add just a couple of tablespoons of iced water with the dry ingredients when you first use the blender, because this will cool the blades down and avoid ruining the leaves.

2. In the traditional Genoese pesto recipe we use Parmesan cheese and Pecorino Sardo. You can buy both cheeses nicely-aged, which is important because they have a distinctive strong taste. However, if you can’t find aged Pecorino Sardo you can replace it with Parmesan. Both these cheeses are quite salty, so it is very important to put just a pinch of salt in the recipe, then you can always add it at the end, if needed.

3. In order to get a creamier pesto, when you cook the pasta you can dilute your condiment with a couple of tablespoons of cooking water (the water in which the pasta is cooking), just before serving.

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Rocket (Arugula) Pesto.

Preparation: 10 minutes

Easy

Ingredienti

For a cup of pesto

1/2 clove of garlic

60 g (2.11 oz) rocket (arugula), washed

30 g (1.05 oz) aged Parmesan cheese, cut into small pieces

30 g (1.05 oz) aged Pecorino Sardo cheese

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 walnuts, shelled

2 almonds, shelled

2 hazelnuts, shelled

a pinch of salt

pepper to taste

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Method.

1. In a tall container, put all the ingredients, without the extra virgin olive oil.

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2. Using an immersion blender, chop the ingredients for a few minutes, adding just a little bit of iced water to cool the blade in the process.

3. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil (a little at a time) and blend everything together, until you get a creamy mixture.

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4. Serve with your favourite pasta.

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Pesto di rucola.

Ingredienti

Preparazione: 10 minuti

Facile

Per un vasetto

1/2 spicchio d’aglio

60 g di rucola, lavata e asciugata

30 g di parmigiano reggiano (tagliato a pezzi piccoli)

30g di pecorino sardo stagionato (tagliato a pezzi piccoli)

6 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

2 noci, senza guscio

2 nocciole, senza guscio

2 mandorle, senza guscio

un pizzico di sale

pepe q.b.

Preparazione.

1. In un contenitore alto e stretto mettete tutti gli ingredienti, senza l’olio.

2. Usando un frullatore ad immersione, tritate per qualche minuto gli ingredienti, aggiungendo un po’ d’acqua molto fredda, per evitare che la lama si scaldi.

3. Versate anche l’olio extra vergine d’oliva nel composto (poco alla volta e continuando a tritare), fino ad ottenere una consistenza cremosa.

4. Condite la pasta e servite.

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