Farinata, italian chickpeas focaccia

Alternative and healthy bread, very good focaccia, especially for those who are gluten intolerant or have problem to digest yeast, because it has none!! This is another Italian recipe, typical from Liguria, but also in other areas of Piemonte, (both region are in north Italy).

farinata_ceci

Time: 30 min – 1 hours preparation

Ingredients: 

  • 250 gr chickpeas flour
  • 700 ml water
  • 1 stick fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 glass extravergin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1.In bowl filled with 700 ml water (room temperature) with the help of a whisk slowly pour the chickpeas flour and keep stiring till every lump is dissolved. Add a stick of fresh rosemary. Let the mix rest for at least 1 hour.

2.Preheat your oven, very high temperature 220º/ 428 f.

3.Always stiring with a whisk, add half glass of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper. I also cut in small pieces the rosemary. Don’t worry, the mixture has to be very liquid, you did nothing wrong.

4.In a lasagna tray or other quite large baking tray covered with waxed paper ( so it would be easier to remove the focaccia later) pour the liquid mixing.

5. Cook for 25 min at 220º, until it become crispy and golden-brown on the top. If it is not there yet, put your oven in ‘grill mode’ only from the up side, for other 5 minutes.

Traditionally, some extra salt and pepper are grained on the top of it, while it is still warm, but I don’t find healthy and necessary, it is already very very tasty.

Buon appetito!

 

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Croutons Salad

bread_saladThe are two things right now that can give me some happiness: cooking and sleeping. Cheering myself up with some colorful salad. Buon appetito!

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:   [8 portions]

  • 4 slices toast bread
  • 500 gr cherry tomatoes
  • 2 red onion
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 cucumber
  • 15 olives (without pit)
  • fresh parsley
  • olive oil (generous amount)
  • salt & pepper
  • some lettuce leaves as base

1. First focus on pepper: pre-heat a nonstick pan, wash and cut your peppers and let them roast without oil until they get some tender but they are still crunchy.

2. While your peppers are on the pan, wash and cut the other veggies: cucumber ( I leave the skin on for this recipe), cherry tomatoes, red onions and olives. Toss everything in a bowl and season with pepper,fresh parsley, olive oil and salt.

3. Cut the slices of toast bread in small cubes and fry them in another pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Wait until he oil is frizzling before tossing the bread in. After 1-2 minutes flip them to the other side.Be careful, those small cubes burn easily! Lay them on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil.. Note: don’t add the croûtons on your salad till few minutes before serving, otherwise they will loose texture by absorbing the tomatoes juice!

4. Let the peppers cool down completely before adding them to the bowl. I usually move everything on a big serving plate, covered with some roman lettuce and croûtons on the very top, as in the picture. It is very scenic!

Sicilian fennel Salad

fennel_saladLong time since my last post. First of all I want to thank Seema (here her blog http://www.coffeemakerslist.com) for all the love and support she showed me, pushing me to come back. Since we moved in Germany (around November), I had so much colon-pain every afternoon till nights, which often turned out into an emergency bathroom call. Since 7th April I kind of changed my everyday nutrition into a more “veganish” way of eating, I still eat fish though. The reason was mainly my pain, which now is reduced significantly. I would say that 90% of time I am fine. Anyway long story short: I got kind of depressed and had a lack of creativity since now milk, eggs, cheese and other stuff don’t belong our fridge anymore. But now I am slowly rearrange my everyday meals…

This recipe is a traditional recipe, very very refreshing, you can make it completely vegan skipping anchovies. Some family serves it at the very end of the meal, to “wash” your mouth thanks to the citrus and help digestibility through fennel nutrition properties or could be served between two important and heavy courses to lighten them up.

Time: 15 minutes + 10 resting

Ingredients: 

  • 4 orange ( better quality without seed)
  • 3 fennel
  • 2 spring onions
  • 10 black olives
  • oregano, salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • fresh parsley
  • Optional: 3-4 anchovies cut in small pieces

1. Cut oranges skin out.: you need to completely remove the white skin part and cut in small chunks.

2. Put orange in a big bowl with spring onions finely cut, 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.

3. Wash and  remove the external shell of fennels. I like to cut them fine but not too much: I do love the crunchy side of fennel. Add to the bowl with 3 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and some parsley.

4. Add olive( I like to cut them in smaller circle) and *anchovies, which will add some salty background taste.

Let it rest for 10 minute and then taste it:  the orange sweetness should be in contrast with the raw spicy hint of spring onions. Now you can adjust with more pepper and salt if needed.

Buon Appetito!!!

Carrots Salad

carrotsalad

Oh yes, that’s not even a recipe, I know. But the combination of this citrus dressing and spicy garlic is really good. Again, this another recipe of my daddy.

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 350 gr carrots
  • 1 ½ lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • pepper, salt
  • fresh parsley
  • oregano
  • 4 tbs olive oil

1. Peel, wash and cut very finely your carrots. You can use a grater to make them.

2. Mix everything in a bowl: 1 ½ lemon juice, olive oil,oregano, pepper, salt, fresh parsley and cloves of garlic without skin cut in half, then it will be easier to avoid eating them later. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes, half an hour if you have the time. This will marinate the carrots and pop the flavour out!!

Buon appetito!!!

‘Maccu’ ~ Broad Beans Recipe

macco‘Maccu’ is an old and poor dish, cooked in the entire Sicily island with many variations. In some village it is cooked with short pasta, some other with beans and different aromatic herbs. The tradition wants this dish as main dish the day of Saint Joseph, 19th March in Italy. This is also Father’s day for Italians.

Note: some broad beans package suggests to let them soak for 6 hours. Just check what is written on the back of your package and follow its directions.

Time:  2 hours

Ingredients:  4 portions

  • 500 gr dehydrated broad beans ( or double amount fresh without skin)
  • 1 onion
  • 250 gr peas in a can
  • 4 tbs e.v. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • wild fennel **( or you can use one jar of already prepared…) This last ingredient is very rare outside of Sicily, maybe some fresh dill could be used as substitution or just skip it.

1. Peel, wash and cut finely the onion. Put 2 tbs in a pot, when it start frizzling, add your onion. After 3 minutes, add also the broad beans.

2. Add 800 ml water, put lid on, and cook for around 1 hour and half, low temperature  – add some wild fennel if you have it. Every once in a while, stir it and use the spoon to smash apart the broad beans  to obtain a cream consistency.  When they are perfectly melted and almost fully cooked, add 250 peas, salt, and pepper. Cook for other 10 minutes.

Let it cool down a little bit and add 2 tbs e.v.oil. It is served lukewarm.

and.. Buon appetito!

 

Stuffed Peppers with Rice

stuffed_pepperI cook often stuffed pepper because it is a good solution to have a main dish and side dish all together. For this reason, I tried out many different ways to make them special every time. This is the easiest and quickest version recipe. Serve them room temperature or a littler warmer. This is one of those dish which is tastier the next day, if you know what I mean.

Time: 20 min + 45 min cooking in the oven

Ingredients:  for 6 portions

  • 5 red and yellow peppers
  • 100 gr Parmesan
  • 50 gr breadcrumbs
  • 150 gr white rice ( short grain)
  • 250 gr peas (frozen or in a can)
  • dry parsley
  • pepper,olive oil, salt

Option 2:

When I want to make this dish super complete, 3 in 1 effects (as my dishwasher tabs are supposed to be…) I prepare what in Italy is called ” ragù in bianco“, or white ragù. Basically just follow my ragù recipe (click here) skipping step 3 and 4 . Simply mix it with the rice and follow the rest of the recipe I am posting below.

1.Bring water to boil in a pot and cook your rice, but not completely. Drain it 3-4 minutes before the total amount of minutes suggested in the package. It will continue to cook in the oven.

2.While your rice is cooking, cut the top of peppers, get rid of seeds, cut them in half when they are small, or more for bigger peppers.Wash them, salt them inside and let them drain a little water out.

3. Mix in a bowl rice, Parmesan, pepper, parsley,peas or ragù in bianco. Put peppers with the concave part facing up in a baking tray. Fill all shells with a spoon. Spread breadcrumbs on them and olive oil to make the top part crispy and gold.

Cook for 45 minutes at 180°c

Let them cool down and.. Buon appetito!

Tuna Sauce Recipe

tuna_sauce_pasta

Time: 7 min

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can tuna in brine ( around 100-120 gr product)
  • 8 pitted green olives
  • 1 tbs Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs e.v.olive oil
  • 40 gr feta cheese ( but any kind of soft cheese works, I used Gouda, Edam, Provolone etc)
  • 1 tbs water
  • fresh basil ( around 10 big leaves) (or frozen is still good!)
  • fresh parsley (or frozen is still good!)
  • black pepper
  • some thyme on the top

How to use it:

I use this sauce in different ways: if, like last Sunday, I put it on pasta, I always add some more boiling water  to make it more fluid and saucy. Otherwise, I keep it more dense and I use it as dressing for my Tuna Bruschetta. Another way I use this sauce for is over boiled potatoes, with their heat the sauce melt a little bit and it’s super tasty.

tuna_sauce1. As you can see from the picture above, just toss all the ingredients in a mixer and let the yummyness begins. One tip only: if you are not using a salty cheese like Feta, taste it: maybe it would need a little boost of salt. Add some thyme and pepper on your pasta and…

Buon appetito!!!

 

Bruschetta Recipe

bruschettaTime: 10 minutes

Ingredients: (for 10 pieces of bruschetta)

  • any bread you like, toasted
  • 500 gr tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • e.v olive oil
  • pepper
  • salt
  • oregano
  • 2 clove garlic

To obtain a very good bruschetta you just need to prepare it in advance, and serve 20-30 min later. In this way all flavors will pop out and give you an amazing result. Very important: put bruschetta dressing on your bread only few minutes before serving, otherwise your bread will sink all tomatoes juice and will be no longer crunchy as supposed to be.

1. Wash and cut tomatoes in teeny-tiny cubes: smaller they are, easier will be eaten bruschetta without any stain on your t-shirt. Add salt, pepper and olive oil in plenty. Cut finely two peeled cloves of garlic ( if they are too big, just one is enough) and finish seasoning with fresh basil and oregano.

2. Mix all together and let it rest for a while and taste it, in this way you’ll know if you need more salt and pepper.

and enjoy it! It’s super easy and super good for party as finger-food or as appetizer with some wine.

Buon appetito!

Grandma Pasta Recipe

pasta_sundriedtomatoesI really love this recipe! When I was studying for my bachelor, I used to visit my grandma every Wednesday lunch and this was one of her typical “I completely forgot you were supposed to visit me!”-recipe. I miss you so much grandma!

Time: 10 min

Ingredients:   [ for 2 ppl]

  • 150 gr sun-dried tomatoes
  • olive oil (a nice amount)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • parsley ( again..a nice amount)
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper

1. Bring to boil a pot of water with salt in it and cook any kind of medium-size pasta you would like.

2. While your pasta is cooking ( al dente!), heat a pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Toss in it 4 cloves of garlic after you’ve pressed them with your hand to get all the flavor out. Add also 1 teaspoon of chili pepper ( or even less if your don’t like spicy food).

3, When the garlic is sizzling, add sun-dried tomatoes,thinly cut; let them cook for 5-6 min. I usually add a small cup of the boiling water in the pan to make everything smooth later and avoid to burn your garlic.

4. Drain the pasta and put it together in the saucepan where your sun-dried tomatoes are cooking and season everything with a lot of parsley.

And that’s it! Buon appetito

Homemade Pizza Recipe

DSCN1032Time: 10 min prep + 1 hour waiting + 20 min cooking

Ingredients: [for 4 ppl]

  • 1 fresh block yeast , 25 gr ( I find it in the refrigerator section )
  • 500 white flour or durum wheat ( this one is less easier to work with)
  • 1 spoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 spoon olive oil
  • 300 ml hot water
  • mozzarella cheese (120 gr ca.)

For the tomatoes sauce:

  • 1 can tomatoes in bits (450 gr)
  • black pepper
  • 1 spoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugarpizza

1. Heat some water up, lukewarm. In a big bowl, weigh the with flour, olive oil, sugar, and salt. With one hand pours some water directly on the yeast in order to make it softer and start working on it. Keep adding water little by little. Work on pizza-mass for at least 10 minutes: in this way you’ll be sure that it’s going to rise properly. When your mass start getting elasticity and solidity, it is ready to rest( fig 3. top line on the right).

2. Put your pizza-mass in dry place – I usually use the inside of the oven – and cover it with a thick cloth. Wait 1 hour.In the meanwhile let’s make the tomatoes sauce: in a little bowl, just mix all the ingredients and let them soak up together.

3. After 1 hour your pizza will be ready to be cook. Oil your baking tray carefully and put some oil on your fingertips also. In this way it would be easier to work your mass without get it sticky. Stretch it out with your hands till it gets a good thin layer.

4.  Pre-heat the oven 200°c.

5. Put generously your tomatoes salsa on it, leaving borders free and add mozzarella cheese. Toss it in the oven for 20 minutes. If you’ve done a thin layer it will be fully cooked, otherwise no problem, just wait other 10 min. I usually lift it up with a spatula and see if it’s getting gold-brown on the bottom to be sure it’s crunchy and good :)

Buon appetito!!!