March 20, 2013 by Giulietta
There is nothing you can do: there are some traditional Italian dishes strictly connected to holidays and festive occasions. When you see those dishes on the table, you immediately think about Sunday, you smell home, you recall the whole family sitting around the table. Usually those dishes, at least in my imagination, are (almost) all piping hot… well, maybe because in my imagination they always came out of the oven.
Think about it: lasagna, pasta al forno (pasta -usually with ragù or tomato sauce- baked in the oven with cheese -usually mozzarella and parmigiano- and bèchamel sauce), casseroles, eggplant parmigiana, pot roast (with baked potato, of course), then pizza and focaccia, and so on and so forth. Well, in my humble opinion, the dishes baked in the oven are synonymous with holidays, care for food, conviviality.
Among these dishes we can anso include cannelloni. You can stuff and garnish them in every possible way, but the version that I love the most is the most famous and perhaps the simplest one: ricotta and spinach filling, topped with tomato sauce and béchamel sauce. I admit it, prepare them from scratch requires a certain commitment: Everything in this dish could (and probably should) be done by hand, and this is the challenge that conquers me every single time I make them. Because I love being in front of a dish that I can really define “homemade” (well, maybe I should make my oven dish, too – for philological accuracy), a dish that is able to speak for you and say to the people sitting around your table “I love you” at the first bite. And this is not something that all the dishes are able to do…
Category Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Home-made is better, Italian cuisine, Pasta, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tags: béchamel,earth first course,egg pasta,first course,fresh pasta,home-made is better,italian cuisine,ricotta cheese,spinach,tomato sauce,vegetables,vegetarian | 6 Comments
August 21, 2012 by Giulietta
Today we talk about cinema, and the opportunity to speak of this love of mine (I'm saying I want to take a second degree in history of cinema long before taking my first degree … ok, I have a problem) comes from an amazing contest, organised by Patty of Andante con gusto in collaboration with Lagostina. For this contest I was asked to describe a comedy through a recipe.
I had to take up the challenge! And, thinking about a comedy, the first one that came to my mind was Little Miss Sunshine, one of the movies that I loved the most in recent years, a comedy out of the box and with tragicomic tone.
Category Cheese, Cinema, Contest, Earth first course, First course, Fresh pasta, Herbs, Home-made is better, Pasta, Spices, Vegetables | Tags: cinema,contest,earth first course,first course,fresh pasta,herbs,home-made is better,mint,pasta,ricotta cheese,saffron,spices,vegetables,zucchini | 6 Comments
August 10, 2012 by Giulietta
The queen of false promises came back.. each time, in fact, more and more time passes between a post and the following one. I am a genius of evil, no doubt about it!
But what can I do, summer took me, and so did the miles travelling up and down Italy, dinners with friends, days by the pool and out in the mountains … and it's not that I cook less than usual (on the contrary, I'd say), but certainly I document less and, as you can see by these pictures, with a minor (could we say nonexistent?! Let's say nonexistent) aesthetic eye. Maybe it's the hot weather or the vacation atmosphere (despite my holidays are long gone), but I'm lazier, and I admit it without any problems.. quite the opposite, almost with a sense of pride!
The recipe I am presenting you today, a summer family classic, it's easy to make, very quick and cold: it doesn't require an oven or stove (just the fridge, my friends) and you'd need only very basic kitchen equipment (bowl, fork, dishes), but you'll have a fresh and delicious dessert, low fat and suitable for all palates. Well, I post less and less, but I hope to make it up to you with some ideas to facilitate you in these hot days.
Category Cheese, Chocolate, Cold dishes, Cooking for dummies, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit, Pralines | Tags: cold dishes,cooking for dummies,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,nuts,pistachio,pralines,ricotta cheese,truffles,unsweetened cocoa powder | 4 Comments
October 19, 2011 by Giulietta
I love vegetables, in fact, I adore them … I eat them in huge quantities, and I love every color they could possibly be, even different from the canonical five ones (actually, more or less, all of them fit into those colors)!
So, since I spoke recently about blue-violet and orange vegetables, I have to talk about white and red ones, 'cause in today's recipe green rules the roost!
This quiche, to which I gave a strudel shape (more or less, but don't be fussy), hides (not so much) a stuffing made with Swiss chard (or spinach beets), a vegetable that I love and that I often alternate with spinach, whether I choose to eat them alone or, as in this case, in a quiche. Nevertheless, if you don't like Swiss chard, you can replace them with Popeye's best friends.
Category Appetizer and Finger food, Quiche and savory muffins, Savory tart, Single course, Vegetables | Tags: appetizer and finger food,puff pastry,quiche,quiche and salted muffins,ricotta cheese,single course,strudel,swiss chard,vegetables | 48 Comments
September 30, 2011 by Giulietta
When I read about the contest launched by Cucina di Barbara dedicated to the color RED, I immediately started thinking about what I could prepare using this tone; I was searching for a light dish that enchanted me with its charming and fascinating color, full of meanings. They say red like love, red like passion, but red is also a sign of health (a ruddy face is always a sign of good health).
So, among all red food, I chose a fruit of the forest, red (needless to say) currants, rich in vitamin C, a vitamin that you've better stock up when fall is upon us, even if the temperatures still scream summer. But, to add red to red, I decided to add as a garnishment some Goji berries, i.e Tibetan berries rich in antioxidants, similar in taste to a cranberry with a spicy aftertaste, like cardamom.
And then I decided to combine this red body with a light mousse, white in color, matching not only tastes, but also colors, in a white and red verrine, a combination that I adore, in the kitchen or not.
Category Dessert and Sweets, Fresh fruit, Mousse | Tags: dessert and sweets,fresh fruit,fruits of the forest,goji berries,mousse,red currants,ricotta cheese,yogurt | 26 Comments
August 22, 2011 by Giulietta
"The waiter returned, bringing the order: the doctor beat down on the sfogliatella, hungry. The graying mustache turned white for the icing sugar sprinkled on the soft dough; he accompanied every bite with moans of pleasure.
"Hmmm … ask me what I love about this city, and I'll tell you: the sfogliatella! Not the sea, not the sun, but the sfogliatella."
from "Il senso del dolore" (The meaning of pain) by Maurizio de Giovanni (p. 101)
If you hadn't realized it yet, reading between the lines of my posts, I'm a fierce reader, and among my favorite genres are crime, noir and thriller, although I can call myself an "omnivore" reader, 'cause I never disdain a good book, whatever genre it belongs.
But I have a weakness for crime, in its broadest sense. Sure, I hang behind with this genre knowledge, but I struggle to be after an increasing amount of books and time, which is always a hard master. But when I find an author who catches me with his plot, his characters and his settings, time somehow carves himself out, so I can savor every page, every line, every word.
I discovered that author last year, but since then I foretaste every book release as I wait for something that is baking in my oven: in reverent waiting, mouth-watering and with a hint of anxiety, which accompanies any discovery or confirmation.
Category Books and reading, Campania, Contest, Dessert and Sweets, Pastries, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: books and reading,campania,candied fruits,cinnamon,contest,dessert and sweets,lard,pastries,regional italian cuisine,ricotta cheese,semolina | 38 Comments
July 22, 2011 by Giulietta
On summer you should eat plenty of vegetables, lots of fruits, eat light foods and drink a lot.
The key is "you should": I love vegetables (while I simply like fruits), but it would be a sad life without a nice "boost of life" from time to time?!
So why don't indulge, once in a while, and enjoy a nice and fresh dessert, although not a very light one?! And what's better than a Nutella cheesecake, to spoil yourself?!
I know, I sound like a Nutella spot (but Nutella is a product of my homeland, so I might be entitled to publicize it), but actually all started with another idea and another recipe, by Alessia of Muffins, cookies ed altri pasticci for a Ferrero Rocher cheesecake (and Rocher aren't so far away from the Nutella … they came from the same family), that I tried a year ago, and won me for its simplicity and for its great taste.
So, for a nice Piedmont-themed dinner with friends (but not too Piedmontese … at least I wanted to skate over the tradition for the dessert, 'cause Russian salad, Barbera risotto, and castelmagno risotto had already given an adequate taste of Piedmont – to quell any criticism, you have to know that I made a goodie-bag bonet for all my guests … none should leave my house unhappy!) I wanted to repeat the successful cheesecake experiment, but I reminded of a tragic truth: in summer, because of the hot weather, no Ferrero Rocher (you can't find them in the stores).
So I had to fall back on what, making everybody unhappy? I had to fall back on the hated Nutella (I'm kidding, uh .. let's say that if I spent a nanosecond more to photograph the cake, maybe I wouldn't be here talking … and I start to think that the blurred area in the top of the picture can be a fingerprint of some impatient friend on the camera)!
In short, a little reworking that left everyone with full-mouthed (and not open-mouthed).
Category Cakes and pies, Chocolate, Dessert and Sweets, Dried fruit | Tags: cakes and pies,cheesecake,chocolate,dessert and sweets,dried fruit,eggs,hazelnut,nutella,ricotta cheese | 32 Comments
April 23, 2011 by Giulietta
Tomorrow will be Easter Sunday, and I like to celebrate, rather than the religious holiday itself, that everyone feels in his own way, the huge variety of Italian culinary holidays tradition, including Easter.
So, asking myself which dish represents Easter for me, I realized that it's not Easter cake (in Italian Torta Pasqualina), lamb, casatiello (another Campanian traditional dish for Easter) or Sicilian cassata: Easter for me is Neapolitan Pastiera. Not because it's part of my culinary background, but because on Easter, whenever arrives to me from a Campanian friend's home a slice of Pastiera, that's where the Easter party really starts for me.
The appearance of an harmless jam tart, its fragrant short pastry shell and, hidden, a soft filling which orange blossom and cinnamon scents. And the taste?! The delicacy of cooked wheat and ricotta cheese, the sweetness of candied fruits … if I talk about Pastiera a little more I swear I'm going to cut another slice!
In short, we are not talking about a home tradition, but we are certainly talking about a great Italian tradition which, although geographically distant from me, I feel mine! So, this is not a recipe handed down from grandmother to granddaughter, but it's a trustworthy recipe, and my trust has been amply rewarded!
Category Cakes and pies, Campania, Dessert and Sweets, Easter, Holidays, Regional Italian cooking | Tags: cakes and pies,campania,candied fruits,dessert and sweets,easter,orange blossom water,pre cooked wheat,regional italian cuisine,ricotta cheese,short pastry | 4 Comments