Tag Archives: Pasta

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.

DSC_1188

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.

DSC_1172

Potato gnocchi.

4 Servings

Ingredients

1,200 kg potatoes

300 g plain flour

sea salt

DSC_1119

Method.

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

DSC_1122

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.

DSC_1130

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.

DSC_1139

DSC_1164

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.

DSC_1187

DSC_1170

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

DSC_1190

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.

DSC_1184

Vedi anche pesto di rucola e pesto alla genovese.

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

SER_9324

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.

SER_9314

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.

SER_9239

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.

SER_9219

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.

SER_9240

SER_9266

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

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

SER_9317

SER_9315

SER_9285

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.

 

Pasta With Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

SER_6228

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.

SER_6239

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.

SER_6192

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

SER_6179

Method.

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

SER_6177

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.

SER_6201

SER_6212

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.

SER_6225

SER_6258

SER_6247

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.

SER_6224

SER_6274

Traditional Recipe : Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce (Sugo Finto)

DSC_7079

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…

DSC_7088

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

DSC_7017

Method.

1. Finely chop the rosemary.

DSC_7026

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.

DSC_7032

DSC_7033

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

DSC_7036

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.

DSC_7046

DSC_7042

DSC_7052

DSC_7071

DSC_7108

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.

DSC_7061

Traditional Recipe: Pesto Alla Genovese

DSC_0320

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! 🙂

DSC_0412

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.

DSC_0346

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.

DSC_0333

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.

DSC_0359

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

DSC_0365

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

DSC_0408

DSC_0390

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.

DSC_0463

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.

DSC_0472

DSC_0478

DSC_0481

See also the arugula pesto recipe.

DSC_0427

DSC_0429

DSC_0432

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: Pasta e Fagioli

DSC_7416

Budget friendly, easy and delicious, pasta e fagioli (pasta and borlotti beans) is one of the most appreciated and popular recipes in Italy. Like many traditional recipes many variations exist of this wonderful Italian dish. We use different herbs, sometimes we add bacon or lard and we can replace borlotti beans with cannellini. The recipe that I am going to share today is one of my favourite dishes since I was a child. Pasta e fagioli is a complete meal with high protein content, perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets. As a vegan or low fat version, you can serve it without Parmesan, it’s delicious anyway! 🙂

DSC_7386

Pasta e Fagioli.

Ingredients

for 2 Servings

Easy

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 25 minutes

110 g (3.88 oz) ditaloni rigati (or broken spaghetti or tagliatelle)

2 cans borlotti beans (keep 1 cup of borlotti beans to add at the end of the cooking process)

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

6 cherry tomatoes (or piccadilly), washed and diced (optional)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves, washed

2 sprigs of fresh sage

500 ml (16.9 us fl oz) organic vegetable broth (made with water and organic vegetable stock)

1/2 tablespoon tomato paste

Parmesan to taste (optional, but nice!)

salt and black pepper to taste

Method.

1. Wash and chop the sage and rosemary (removing the hard stems).

2. In a large sauce pan, gently fry the onion with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then (after a few minutes) add the garlic.

DSC_7408

3. Drain and rinse the borlotti beans.  Put the beans with the tomatoes in the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then pour in the vegetable broth with 1/2 a tablespoon of tomato paste and 2 bay leaves. Stir well.

DSC_7404

4. Cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes, until the broth is partially absorbed, then add the chopped herbs.

DSC_7416

5. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, mix everything well. Turn on the heat, add 1 cup of borlotti beans and the pasta. Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes.

DSC_7446

DSC_7451

6. Season with salt and pepper, turn off the heat. Serve with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and plenty of parmesan (optional).

DSC_7461

DSC_7472

Pasta e Fagioli

Ingredienti

Per 2 persone

Facile

Preparazione: 10 minuti

Cottura: 25 minuti

110 g di ditaloni rigati (oppure spaghetti spezzettati o tagliatelle)

2 scatole di fagioli borlotti (tenete una tazza di borlotti da aggiungere a fine cottura)

4 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

1 cipolla media, tritata finemente

6 pomodorini (piccadilly o ciliegino), lavati e tagliati a dadini (facoltativo)

2 spicchi d’aglio, tritato finemente

2 rametti di rosmarino

2 foglie di alloro, lavate

un mazzetto di salvia fresca

500 ml di brodo vegetale (biologico)

1/2 cucchiaio di concentrato di pomodoro

Parmigiano q. b. (facoltativo)

sale e pepe q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e tritate la salvia con il rosmarino (togliendo i gambi).

2. Fate soffriggete la cipolla con 3 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva. Dopo qualche minuto aggiungete l’aglio.

3. Scolate, sciacquate i fagioli e aggiungeteli con i pomodorini al soffritto. Fate rosolare per qualche minuto, poi aggiungete il brodo vegetale con 1/2 cucchiaio di concentrato di pomodoro e le foglie d’alloro. Mescolate bene.

4. Fate ritirare il brodo per 15 minuti, poi levate le foglie d’alloro e aggiungete le erbe tritate.

5. Spegnate il fuoco e con un frullatore ad immersione frullate bene tutto.  Aggiungete la pasta e i borlotti che avete tenuto da parte. Fate cuocere a fuoco moderato (mescolando continuativamente) per altri 10 minuti.

6. Spegnete il fuoco e condite con un po’ d’olio extra vergine d’oliva, sale e pepe. Servite con abbondante parmigiano.

DSC_7443

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.

DSC_7274 copy2

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.

DSC_7259

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

DSC_7215

Method.

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

DSC_7220

DSC_7223

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.

DSC_7238

4. Serve with your favourite pasta.

DSC_7278

DSC_7272-3

DSC_7307

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.

DSC_7292