Category Archives: Pasta and Rice

How To Make Gnocchi (The Easy Way)

In this recipe it’s really really important to use the right kind of potatoes…The best potatoes to use are old floury potatoes, as they contain less water compared to new potatoes and therefore mix well with flour without making a mess. You can also add an egg when you prepare the dough, because the egg helps keep the ingredients together when you cook the gnocchi….Keep in mind that the dough shouldn’t stick to your hands, so if you think the dough is too wet and the potatoes are not floury enough you can add an egg and a little more flour in order to get the right consistency.

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I strongly recommend you use a good stainless steel potato masher, like the one with two handles that you can hold and press with both hands. We normally use this kind of potato masher because it makes a really fluffy mashed potato with no effort and you can also use it to make various fruit juices…Therefore, it not only works really well, but is also a versatile gadget to keep in the kitchen.

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Potato gnocchi.

4 Servings

Ingredients

1,200 kg potatoes

300 g plain flour

sea salt

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Method.

1. Wash and then steam (or boil) the potatoes until tender.

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2. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.

3. Dust a working board, make a well with 300 g of flour and place the mashed potatoes in the centre with a pinch of salt. Mix everything and work the mixture until you get a smooth dough.

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4. Dust the working board again and cut the dough into 8 small pieces. Roll out each piece to make 8 ropes (approximately 1,5 cm thick), then cut each rope into small equal pieces.

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5. Fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil, then add the gnocchi with a tablespoon of sea salt. Cook the gnocchi until they all rise from the bottom of the pan, then drain and serve with the sauce of your choice.

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See also the rocket (arugula) pesto and the traditional pesto recipe.

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Gnocchi di patate

4 persone

Ingredienti

1.200 kg di patate farinose

300 g di farina 00

sale marino

Preparazione.

1. Lavate bene le patate e fatele cuocere a vapore (oppure fatele bollire) finché saranno tenere (ma non sfatte).

2. Schiacciate tutte le patate con lo schiacciapatate.

3. Infarinate bene il piano di lavoro e impastate delicatamente la farina con le patate, aggiungendo un pizzico di sale fino.

4. Infarinate nuovamente il piano di lavoro e tagliate la pasta in 8 pezzi. Fate rotolare la pasta con il palmo delle mani per create 8 cilindri lunghi e sottili (circa 1,5 cm di spessore). Tagliate ogni cilindro in piccoli pezzi uguali.

5. Cuocete gli gnocchi in acqua bollente con un cucchiaio di sale grosso. Scolare gli gnocchi non appena salgono in superficie e servite.

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Vedi anche pesto di rucola e pesto alla genovese.

Spaghetti With Raw Tomato ‘Sauce’ (Vegan/Dairy-free)

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This wonderful ‘sauce’ is so easy to make, can be prepared in advance and is a delicious refreshing summer recipe! My mum makes this sauce using a smaller quantity of tomatoes (without draining the juice from the tomatoes) and lots of Parmesan cheese, but I personally prefer a healthier version of the recipe with lots of tomatoes and no cheese.

This raw tomato sauce contains anti-oxidants, lots of fibre and is low-fat….you’ll love it!!
You could also have this sauce on a bruschetta or serve it with meat, if you prefer.

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Spaghetti with raw tomato sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients

320 g spaghetti

350 g tomatoes

2 garlic gloves

a big bunch of fresh basil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Method.

1. Wash the tomatoes and basil, then dry them using a kitchen towel.

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2. Crush two garlic cloves (use a knife or a garlic press).

3. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and let them drain for about 10-15 minutes.

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4. Then mix the tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Place the sauce in the fridge for at least half an hour.

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5. Cook the pasta al dente, following the instructions on the packaging, then drain.

6. Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve chilled.

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Spaghetti con “salsa” di pomodoro crudo.

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

320 g di spaghetti

350 g di pomodori

2 spicchi d’aglio

un mazzetto grosso di basilico

2 cucchiai di aceto balsamico

olio extravergine d’oliva

sale e pepe

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e asciugate i pomodori e il basilico.

2. Utilizzando un coltello, pressate e molto tagliate finemente due spicchi d’aglio.

3. Prendete i pomodori e tagliateli in pezzetti piccoli con il coltello, poi lasciate scolare per 10-15 minuti.

4. Mescolate i pomodori con 4 cucchiai d’ olio d’oliva, 2 cucchiai di aceto balsamico, il sale e il pepe. Mescolate ancora e mettete nel frigorifero almeno per 30 minuti.

5. Cuocete la pasta al dente e scolate.

6. Condite la pasta con il sugo e servite come piatto freddo.

 

Rice Salad With Buffalo Mozzarella and Olives

A delicious variation of the classic recipe Insalata di riso, enriched with colourful seasonal ingredients. Quick and easy to prepare, this wonderful dish could be a great starter for a dinner party or a light summer meal.
In the recipe method I used a round pastry cutter to shape the rice with the ingredients, but you can mix all the ingredients if you prefer.

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Rice salad with buffalo mozzarella and olives.

4 servings

Ingredients

200g arborio rice (you can use a parboiled rice)

4 ripe plum tomatoes

4 buffalo mozzarella

120 g of pitted black and green olives

a bunch of fresh basil

extra virgin olive to taste

salt and pepper

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Method.

1. Cook the rice following the preparation method illustrated on the packaging. Then drain the rice and season with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.

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2. Wash the basil and remove the stems. Roughly chop the basil leaves and slice the olives.

3. Drain the buffalo mozzarella well and then cut it into small pieces.

4. Place the rice on the dish and then cover it with the olives, the mozzarella and the basil. Season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and serve.

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Insalata di riso con mozzarella di bufala e olive.

Per 4 persone

Ingredienti

200 g di riso arborio

4 pomodori perini maturi

4 mozzarelle di bufala

120 g di olive nere e verdi snocciolate

un mazzetto di basilico fresco

olio extra vergine di oliva q. b.

sale e pepe

Preparazione.

1. Cuocete il riso seguendo il metodo di preparazione e il tempo di cottura indicato sulla confezione. A cottura terminata, scolate il riso e conditelo con un po’ d’olio extra vergine d’oliva.

2. Lavate il basilico e rimuovete i gambi. Tagliate le foglie di basilico e le olive.

3. Scolate bene le mozzarelle di bufala e poi tagliatele a cubetti.

4. Sistemate il riso nel piatto e ricopritelo con le olive, i cubetti di mozzarella e il basilico.

Condite ancora con olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale, pepe e servite.

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Pasta With Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

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Pasta al pomodoro is cheap, easy to make and absolutely delicious! There are several variations of this dish, made using different ingredients to personalise and flavour the sauce, but I personally prefer one of the simplest version made with fresh tomatoes.

Today I am going to show you the recipe I usually prepare at home. Basically, to make this delicious tomato sauce you’ll need just four ingredients: cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh parsley and, of course, extra virgin olive oil. Try to use only the best quality ingredients in this recipe, it will be a little more expensive but I can assure you that it will make a huge difference in the end.

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Tip. You can replace the garlic with a small chopped onion and the parsley with a handful of fresh basil leaves, for a more delicate flavour.

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Pasta al pomodoro fresco.

Ingredients

For 4 servings

Easy 

350 g thick spaghetti (but you can use any pasta you like)

500 g fresh and ripe cherry tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

a bunch of fresh parsley

5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

grated Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

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Method.

1. Wash and dry the tomatoes, then cut them into small pieces. Leave in a strainer to drain.

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2. Wash the parsley, remove the stem, then finely chop the leaves.

3. Cook the pasta al dente, following the instructions on the packaging, then drain and set aside.

4. Sauté the garlic with 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for a minute or two. At soon at the garlic softens add the chopped tomatoes. Let shimmer for about 10 minutes, then add the chopped parsley with some salt and pepper.

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5. Add the pasta to the sauce, sauté for only a couple of minutes and serve with plenty of grated parmesan (but it’s optional) on top.

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Pasta al pomodoro fresco.

Ingredienti

Per 4 persone

Facile

350 g di spaghetti grossi

500 g di pomodorini ciliegia maturi

3 spicchi d’aglio tritati grossolanamente

un mazzetto di prezzemolo fresco

5 cucchiai di olio extravergine d’oliva

parmigiano grattugiato q. b. (facoltativo)

sale e pepe

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e asciugate i pomodori, poi tagliateli a pezzetti. Lasciate i pezzetti di pomodoro in un colino per far scolare l’acqua in eccesso.

2. Lavate il prezzemolo, tagliate i gambi e tritate finemente le foglie.

3. Preparate gli spaghetti molto al dente, poi scolate e mettete da parte.

4. Fate rosolare l’aglio in una padella grande, con 5 cucchiai di olio extra vergine di oliva, per un minuto o due. Quando l’aglio sarà ammorbidito, aggiungere i pomodori tritati. Fate cuocere per circa 10 minuti, quindi aggiungete il prezzemolo tritato con il sale e il pepe.

5. Mescolate la pasta al condimento, poi fate rosolare per un paio di minuti e servire con abbondante parmigiano grattugiato.

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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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Crepes With Swiss Chard And Borage Filling

This week I am sharing a recipe with some traditional Genoese flavours, adapted for you with the usual healthy twist. Perfect for the holiday season, these crepes with swiss chard and borage filling are light, packed with fibres, deliciously crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. As a final touch, we are going to serve this dish with plenty of light béchamel sauce, an extra creamy and gluten-free parmesan-flavoured sauce perfect for this recipe.

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In this preparation I used borage because it is a popular ingredient in Genoese traditional recipes, however, if you have problems finding fresh borage you can replace it with spinach or chards.

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Crepes with swiss chard and borage filling

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

for the filling

500 g of Swiss chard

200 g of borage

150 g fresh ricotta

80 g of Parmesan Cheese

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

for the crepes

6 buckwheat crepes (see the buckwheat crepes recipe)

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

1. Put all the ingredients for the filling in a blender and then blend everything together until creamy.

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2. Fill 6 buckwheat crepes with the mixture, then place the crepes on a baking tray, previously lined with baking paper and greased with extra virgin olive oil.

3. Season the crepes with more extra virgin olive oil and bake at 180 ° C (356° F) for 25-30 minutes.

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4. Serve the crepes with plenty of warm béchamel sauce (see the gluten-free béchamel sauce recipe).

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Crepes con ripieno di bietole e borragine.

Ingredienti

Per 4-6 persone

Per il ripieno

500 g di bietole

200 g di borragine

150 g di ricotta

80 g di Parmigiano Reggiano

2 uova

Per le crepes

6 crepes di grano saraceno (guardate anche la ricetta delle crepes di grano saraceno)

olio extravergine d’oliva

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Mettete tutti gli ingredienti (senza l’olio) in un mixer e amalgamate bene tutto fino ad ottenere un composto cremoso.

2. Riempite le crepes di grano saraceno con il ripieno, poi mettetele su una teglia ricoperta con carta da forno, unta con un po’ d’olio extra vergine d’oliva.

3. Condite anche le crepes con un po’ d’olio e infornate a 180° C per 25-30 minuti.

4. Servite le crepes con sopra la besciamella calda (guardate anche la ricetta della besciamella senza glutine).

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 Arborio)

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 Arborio)

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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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: Saffron Risotto

Saffron Risotto (Risotto Allo Zafferano) is a Lombard recipe, much appreciated in the North of Italy for its wonderful delicate flavour and also because is one of the simplest risotto recipes to make. This amazing risotto is usually served on its own, without meat or fish and it has a lovely saffron flavour, well complemented with the Parmesan cheese, which is added at the final stage of the recipe, like in most Italian risotto dishes.

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Saffron Risotto is often confused with Milanese Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese), another renowned Lombard recipe; in both these risottos we use saffron as a main ingredient but there are some differences in the ingredients.

Tips.

1. It is very important to only use good quality products, in order to make a delicious risotto.

2. Also see How To Make A Perfect Risotto

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Saffron Risotto (Risotto allo Zafferano) 

Medium difficulty

Preparation time: 5 minutes (not considering the broth)

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

For 4 servings

350 g (12.3 oz) Carnaroli rice or Arborio rice

a pinch of saffron (enough to colour the rice of a bright yellow)

1 large onion, very finely chopped

1 glass of good white wine (not acidic, this is very important!)

150 g (5.3 oz)  freshly grated Grana Padano cheese

125 g (4.4 oz) good quality fresh butter

1 litre (33, 8 fl oz us) hot vegetable broth (see below)

For vegetable broth

1 large carrot

1 large onion

1 celery stalk (also use the leaves, if you have them)

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

1. In a large pan, prepare the vegetable broth. Wash, clean and roughly chop the vegetables, then fill the pan with plenty of water and cook the vegetables until tender. Season with some fine sea salt (do not exceed), then sift the broth and remove the vegetables.

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2. Sauté the onion in 80 g of butter, over a low heat for about 10-15 minutes.

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3. Add the rice and fry for a few minutes over a medium heat, then pour in a glass of white wine and stir. Shimmer until all the wine evaporates.

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4. Lower the heat and add the hot broth (a little at a time), stirring constantly. Let the broth evaporate and continue adding the broth and stirring, until the rice is creamy and properly cooked. During the cooking time add the saffron (diluted in a little bit of warm vegetable broth).

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5. Turn off the heat and add the finals ingredients to the risotto. Add the rest of the butter, 3-4 tablespoons of grated Grana Padano and season with salt and pepper ( taste it and season only if needed), then stir and cover with a lid. Let the risotto rest for a few minutes and serve.

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How To Make A Perfect Risotto

Risotto is one of the finest Italian dishes and is appreciated all over the world. There are endless variations. Each region has its own traditional risotto recipes made with seafood, meat or vegetables. Today we are going to explore the method to make a perfect risotto, the Italian way!

Four important steps.

To make a good risotto it is important to follow each recipe step by step. There are 4 basic steps in the preparation process of each risotto:

1. Sauté the onions

2. Fry the rice

3. Cook the risotto

4. Let the risotto rest

Today we are going to see each of these steps in depth.

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A few notes on the preparation process.

1. The preparation time and the ingredients will vary depending on the recipe.

2. During the whole process you have to constantly stir the risotto, therefore it’s important to prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.

3. Don’t reheat the risotto because the rice will become chewy and dry. Prepare the risotto and serve it.

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Method.

1. Sauté the onions. Sauté the onions in butter over a very low heat, until they are very tender and almost transparent.

Notes. The onions have to dissolve in your mouth when you taste the risotto. You can replace the onions with shallots, spring onions or garlic, depending on the recipe.

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2. Fry the rice. When the onions are ready, add the rice and then fry it over a medium heat for a few minutes (stir constantly).

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3. Cook the risotto. After frying the rice, add the wine.  Once the wine flavour is absorbed and the alcohol evaporated, add the hot broth (usually a full ladle at a time) and cover the rice with it. Continue cooking and stirring. Once the liquid is almost completely absorbed, add more broth until you reach the ideal cooking consistency.

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Notes. Use hot broth, because a cold broth will lower the temperature and compromise the cooking process.

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4. Let the risotto rest. When the risotto is creamy and properly cooked, add the final ingredients (usually butter and cheese), stir well, cover with a lid and let the rice rest for a few minutes. Now the risotto is ready to be served.

Note. This will make the risotto very creamy and tasty.

Also see Traditional Recipe: Saffron Risotto

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