Potatoes “alla pizzaiola”

 

potatoes_alla_pizzaiola

These kind of potatoes are usually available in special places in Sicily called “pollerie”, they are gastronomical stores specialized in cooking chickens in long spits,that slowly rotates about their axes and make the skin crispy but remains juicy inside. For around 8-10 € you can get a whole chicken  as well as some sides, either french-fries or these potatoes; and usually, for half price, half chicken. My other Grandmother was an absolutely fan of them, and often ordered half for both me and her on our Saturday-nights together.

Time: 1 hour – 20 minutes preparation

Ingredients: for 4 portions

  • 6 potatoes (medium size)
  • 2 onions
  • 1 can chunks tomatoes
  • 3 tbs e.v. olive oil
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper

1. Peal and clean your potatoes. Cut them very fine. Do the same with the two onions

2. Grease a large casserole with olive oil. Put a first layer of potatoes and remember to salt them. On top of potatoes add: onions, pepper, sprinkle some oregano.

3. Filter the liquid part from the tomatoes chunks in your can, add only those. Drizzle some drops of olive oil on top. You can always use fresh tomatoes instead, but not the seeds-central part, which would be too watery.

4.Go on and complete with 1 or 2 others layers, until you’ve used all your potatoes slices up.

5. Cook for 1 hour at 160°c .

Buon appetito to everyone!

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Handmade Gnocchi ~ Recipe

gnocchiOnly two ingredients for this gnocchi. They are very filling and delicious. You can boil potatoes the day before and smash them, keep them in the fridge and then make gnocchi shape the next day, as I do when I have people coming over. It is much easier though if you just smash the potatoes when they are still hot and mix them with flour right after, they stick together easier and quicker. Anyway, I tried both ways, and they come out as good! Freezing them it is not possible, unfortunately they loose their texture.

How to serve them:

This is a typical north-Italy dish and it can be served in many ways. What I personally love the most, is with just knob of butter, melted with some black pepper,sage and Parmesan cheese on top. I prefer it because it emphases the taste of potatoes and it is not over-powering. You can also have them served with ragù (click here for recipe).

Time: 1 hour and ½ preparation + 10 minutes cooking

Ingredients:   [8 big portions]

  •  1kg potatoes
  • 400 gr white flour
  • salt

1, Boil the potatoes in salted water. There is no need to remove the skin, it will remain trapped inside the potatoes masher.

2. When they are tender (check with fork, around 40 minutes after), smash them with an old-style potatoes masher. Taste them, if it is needed, add more salt, which usually happens.

4. Put some extra flour on your clean table surface and start working your potatoes with 400 gr of white flour until you’ll have  a compact texture, enough to create a mass. See the picture below.

gnocchi025. In the meanwhile spread a clean tea-towel on your table and cover it with some flour, as in the picture, in order to prevent your gnocchi to get sticked on each other.

6. With a knife, cut a small quantity from your mass. Now go back to your childhood and model it to obtain the shape of quite long worm. With a knife, cut it in smaller pieces, almost 3 cm long. Be sure to add extra flour on your table if they get sticky. While you’re making them put them on the tea-towel to rest.

7. Cooking process: Use an extra-large pot to bring salted water to boil. Add small quantities of them, not all together, otherwise they will stick on the bottom of your pot or even worse, they lose their shape and become one huge gnocco. They are cooked, as soon as they float on water surface again. Use a small colander to pull them out and keep cooking in the same pot all the other gnocchi left.

Buon appetito!

PS: I want to add a funny and unrelated information: in very informal Italian language we use the word ‘gnocca/o’ to point a sexy/attractive woman or man out: ‘Che gnocca!’ XD

My version: Tiroler Gröstl

groestlThis is a typical dish of Tyrol, a mountain area of Austria, where I had the pleasure to live for 10 beautiful months. If you ever tried Austrian cuisine, you already know how strong in terms of caloric values can be.  But it’s perfect if you need to go ski through Alps.

I called this my version, because I added some champignon mushrooms and used some bacon instead of normal pork shoulder, as the tradition wants. Buon appetito!

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients [for 26 cm pan]

  • 600 gr potatoes (I used the small variety with thin skin, so I could keep it)
  • 40 gr butter
  • 1 big onion
  • 250 gr bacon already cut in stripes
  • 300 gr mushrooms
  • olive oil, salt , pepper
  • some meat broth ( a small glass)
  • fresh parsley

1. Clean and cut your veggies: potatoes, mushrooms and onion. In the meanwhile, bring some water to boil in a big pot.

2. Add to boiling water your potatoes and some salt. Cook with the lid on for 15 min, so they become tender but not too much.  Drain the water, cut them and put them aside.

4. In a pan, heat 40 gr butter. Cut the onion and let it brown in the pan. Add the meat and mushrooms.

5. When they got some color, add some meat broth, homemade (click here for my recipe) or instant,together with your semi-cooked potatoes. Cook until the the broth it is almost absorbed, using a medium-high heat.

6. Spread with parsley and olive oil your pan.

Peperonata ~ Recipe

peperonataPotatoes, peppers and onion are cooked in a wok, with a sweet and sour sauce, made of balsamic vinegar. This recipe recalls Summer time, when peppers are in seasons and are sold for super cheap prices in Sicily. The tradition wants it served cool,but I prefer it lukewarm. Another family recipe: love my daddy.

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 750 gr potatoes
  • 4-5 red peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 45 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon white sugar
  • mint, salt, oregano and fresh basil
  • 3 tbs olive oil

1. The boring part: peel and wash potatoes, onions and peppers. In the meanwhile, pre-heat a wok with 3 tbs olive oil.

2. When the oil is hot, add onions and let them cook for a couple of minutes.

3.Next, add potatoes only. Smaller they are cut, quicker they will cook.

4. When the potatoes are a bit softer, add peppers and a generous amount of salt. Cook for other 15 minutes.

5. In a glass mix 45 ml balsamic vinegar and 4 teaspoon of white sugar, stir until it dissolves.When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the liquid, wait until it will bed reduced and become creamy.

6. Finish the recipe with herbs: mint (not too much, otherwise it will taste like a toothpaste, true story here)and oregano. Fresh basil, only when the heat is turned off.

Buon appetito!

Beef Bouillon ~ Recipe

meat_broth01‘Tortellini in broth’ is the perfect ending dish for this winter. I can’t wait to take my heavy jackets off. I am fed up with this onion style, with gloves and scarf, and hat…This recipe is perfect to warm you up, but it’s also good to keep in your refrigerator and use the bouillon for many other recipes. Homemade bouillon makes the difference, unfortunately.  Unfortunately because it is not quick to make and it is required for so many meals preparations that I tend to use premade stock-cube, that contains a lot of additional fat. It can stay up to 2 weeks in your freezer.

Time:  1½ -2 hours

Ingredients: [around 3 liters]

  • 500 gr beef soup meat
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 celery stick
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions (or a big one)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • pepper, salt, rosemary

meat_broth1.Peel and wash all the vegetables. Cut them roughly in half. Put them in a big and deep pot.

2. Add the meat (keep the little fat that it could have), together with around 3,5 liter of water. Everything needs to be covered by 4 inches of water. I know it can sound too much, but part of it will evaporate during the slow cooking process. Don’t forget to season it with salt and pepper, in a generous amount.

3. Keep the lid semi-opened and cook with medium-slow heat for about 1 hour and half, till the meat is completely tender, as well as the carrots.

4. Take the meet off and let it cool down aside. Soon I will post a recipe specific about how to use the bouillon meat.

5. Now you have two options: the former- you can filter the liquid, in order to obtain a delicate taste and smooth liquid consistence, the latter- you can strain the veggy, blend them,and add them again in the pot. This second option is thicker but also tastier, in my opinion.

Buon appetito!

Potatoes Purèe ~ Family Recipe

purèeWho doesn’t love smashed potatoes?They are not the lightest side dish, but they taste amazing. This recipe is my father’s, it’s light and delicate. It is perfect to be served not only with meat, but also with fish. Be prepared to the fact, that once you get used to fresh purèe, you won’t be able to eat the pre-cooked one sold in the supermarket.

One trick: you can always boil potatoes with the skin: when you smash them, the skin get trapped in potatoes masher and doesn’t pass through.

Time:  1 hour preparation + 15 min cooking

Ingredients:  [ 4 portions]

  • 700 gr boiled potatoes
  • 50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 glasses milk
  • 2 spoons butter
  • pepper, salt, fresh parsley,nutmeg

1. Boil the potatoes until they are soft. You can use normal pots or, if you own it, a pressure cooker.

2. Smash the potatoes directly inside a pot. Add 2 spoons of butter, with a medium heat, starts add one by one the milk glasses. Use a whisk to stir.

3. Add slowly Parmesan cheese, pepper, small amount of salt. When you see the first bubble, it’s ready. Add some fresh parsley.

Once it cools down a little, it will be denser, don’t worry!

Buon appetito!

Russian Salad ~ Recipe

russian_saladIn Italy we call this recipe ‘Russian salad’, but now that I live in Germany I found out that here it is called just ‘potatoes salad’. However, the taste is quite different.  We use to make this dish as starter during holidays, for example for Christmas or New Years Eve, because it is easy to bring to someone’s else home and because it is usually presented scenic decorated with tons of pickles and more mayo on the top. I saw many time this salad adorned as porcupine, with carrots stick as spines.

This is my version of this recipe: the common recipe among Italians include also tuna and more mayonnaise. I like to put also a lot of fresh basil and one green apple inside, to give a more “summer” touch and freshness to the dish. Just adapt the recipe to your own taste :))

Little advice: this recipe is good and convenient to be prepared one day before being served.

Time: prep 1 hour + at least 2 hours resting

Ingredients:  for  15 portions

  • 1 ½ boiled potatoes
  • 1 fresh cucumber
  • 1 green apple
  • 250 gr frozen peas
  • 250 gr ( 1 jar) pickled carrots
  • 250 gr ( 1 jar) pickled celery
  • fresh basil
  • pepper, salt
  • 1 tube light mayonnaise

1. Let’s start peeling and washing the potatoes. Bring them to boil til they’re fully cooked. Boil also your frozen peas. You can always use a can of peas, but I find the taste not the same.

2. In the meanwhile, wash your pickles to get rid of extra vinegar in it. Peel, wash and cut in tiny cubes the fresh cucumber and the green apple. Mix everything together in a big bowl with mayonnaise and little pepper.

3. When your potatoes and peas cooled down for a while, add also them together with a lots of fresh basil leaves. Be carefully while stiring not to smash too much your potatoes.

Keep in fridge for at least two hours. It always better to take it out at least one hour before your guests come in.

Buon appetito!

Potatoes casserole stuffed with Ragù

potatoes_casseroleThis is a perfect solution for Holiday: you have a main dish, with potatoes and meat all together. Definitely, prepare it in advance: even a day before. After it rested for a while, all the flavor comes out and it’s easier to cut and serve it. A little warmer than room temperature is perfection, in my opinion.

Time: prep 1 hour + 30 cooking

Ingredients:  for  12 portions

  • 2,5 kg potatoes
  • 250 gr Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Gouda, Edam  or other cheese in slices ( ~200 gr)
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 350 gr Ragù with peas (Very important: grab it with a strainer, only the no-liquid part!)
  • breadcrumbs
  • olive oil and butter (~20 gr)

You’ll also need a casserole, the one used for lasagna is perfect.

1. Peel, wash and boil the potatoes until they are soft.

2. Smash the potatoes in a big bowl, add two eggs first ( a third later if the mixture is not sticky enough), 150 gr Parmesan cheese, pepper, salt ( quite a lot ), parsley and mix all together with a fork.

3. Grease with olive oil your casserole. Cover the oil-layer with a thin layer of tiny breadcrumbs and start building up your casserole deliciousness.

4.First layer: with the back of your hand press the potatoes mix; Second layer: add your ragu’ equally and spread it all over with the back of the spoon. Third layer: cover with slice of cheese and sprinkle some Parmesancheese all over.

5. Repeat the three layers above and finish with a good amount of breadcrumbs. Final touch to make the top crunchy: tiny-teeny pieces of butter and spray with olive oil.

Cook 20 min at 200°c both up and down heating, then other 10 minutes only the top, grill function.

Let it cool down for a while before serving in order to cut it easily, since it will become more compact.

Buon appetito!!!

Potatoes Soup

potatoes_soup

Time: 10 min prep + 25 min cooking

Ingredients: (for 4~6 portions, depends if you use it as main dish or side dish)

  • 700 gr potatoes
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs rosemary
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • parsley
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • pepper and salt

This recipe is amazing against cold weather, such as the one that I am experiencing right now in Dresden. Immediately lift you up :) This is another recipe from my Daddy,very simple and with a strong taste.

1. Peel, wash and cut your potatoes in small chunks, but not too tiny.

2. Put in a big pot with garlic cloves without their skin. Fill your pot up with water till your potatoes are fully immersed. Add 1 tbs rosemary,1 tbs oregano and 1 tbs olive oil.

3. Turn a medium heat and put a lid on. Don’t forget to season it with salt and pepper. Better if you start with small quantities and add more later, when it is almost cooked. Cook for 25 min.When is ready do go, add fresh parsley.

And.. buon appetito :)

Palermitan Salad

palermitan_salad

palermitan_salad

Time: 20 min

Ingredients: [6 portions]

  • 500 gr potatoes
  • 800 gr green beans
  • 30 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • fresh basil
  • oregano, salt, pepper, extra v. olive oil
  • black olives ( missing in this picture D:)

1. For a super easy and quick result, boil together green beans and potatoes already pealed, clean and cut in small pieces. Cook for 15 min wth the lid on.

2. Drain the vegetables and let them cool down. In the meanwhile, wash and cut red onion, black olives and cherry tomatoes.

3. Put everything in a big bowl with a genours amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and basil.

You can keep this salad wrapped in your fridge up to three days without any problems and it will taste always good. It’s a salad in my hometown, but it can be eaten as a main dish. There are different options: some family adds also anchoives, others adds pieces of boiled meat.

Buon appetito to everybody!