May 29 2019

Three Colours Rice Ring with Stracciatella

There is an unmistakable touch of Sicily in the flavors and colours of this dish (although the rice comes from Piedmont), which goes all too well with the delicacy of the stracciatella, or burrata if you opt for that one. It features a magnificent look, full flavours and you can even make it the day ahead. 

Serves 10-12

  • 250 gr red wild rice
  • 250 gr black rice
  • 250 gr white Arborio rice
  • 80 gr pecorino cheese, grated
  • 80 gr almonds, skin removed, coarsely chopped
  • 170 gr dried tomatoes, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 12 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salted capers, rinsed under running water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 600 gr fresh stracciatella (it is the stuffing of burrata: you can use a burrata as well, thoroughly chopped)
  • 80 gr black olives

Boil separately the three kinds of rice and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the tomatoes, almonds, pecorino cheese and capers in a food processor and work until you reach the consistency of a rough cream.

Divide the sauce in three parts, and with each one dress the rices, one at a time. Squeeze the lemon juice into the rice, mix well and set aside.

Grease a tin with some oil and first place the black rice with the help of a spoon. Even the surface, then add the white rice, and finally the red one on top. Press well with the spoon in order to eliminate any bubbles and tap the tin on the table to stabilize the content. Close the tin with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Unmold the tin on a plate, pop the stracciatella into the center and decorate with some black olives and additional whole almonds.

 

 

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Posted in First course, Vegetarian
May 24 2019

Hazelnut and Ginger Pak Choi

Serves

This recipe is the result of a melting pot between a Chinese vegetable like Pak Choi and a very typical North Italian ingredient like hazelnut. I hope you appreciate the flavour as well as the easy and extremely quick cooking.

Serves 3

  • 1 tbsp  fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped as well
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, or whatever oil you like
  • 2 tbsp hazelnuts, skin on
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 medium pak choi, washed, well drained and cut into stripes of 1 cm

In a small pan roast the hazelnuts, let cool to room temperature and reduce to a medium crumble. Set aside.

In a wok or a large, heavy-based pan heat the oil and gently fry the ginger and garlic.

Place the pak choi in the pan, stir well, add the soy sauce and let cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, frequently stirring. Scatter with the hazelnut crumble and serve hot.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegan, Vegetarian
May 13 2019

Artichoke Patties

 

Artichoke patties are an excellent alternative to meat patties, which will surely be appreciated even by the non vegetarian.  

For 30 patties

  • 3 big artichokes
  • 350 gr ricotta cheese
  • 100 gr parmesan, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 40 gr bread crumbs
  • zest of 1 organic lemon + the juice for cleaning the artichokes
  • 40 gr shelled walnuts, coarsely crushed
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

for the sauce:

  • 250 ml Kefir
  • the smallest pinch of saffron

Clean and finely slice the artichokes. (see http://www.lagrandemela.info/en/flan-di-carciofi/)

Place the oil and garlic (cloves halved) in a large pan and gently fry until golden, then remove from the pan and add the artichokes. Sautée for 2-3 minutes and pour in the hot vegetable stock. Cover with a lid and let cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the stock has evaporated and the artichokes are very tender.

Place the artichokes on a board and chop using a knife.

In a bowl pop in the artichokes, ricotta cheese, parmesan, nutmeg, parsley, mint, lemon zest and walnuts. Mix well and if the mixture becomes too soft add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the patties using your hands, roll into the bread crumbs and place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Spray with some oil and bake in the oven, still, at 200°C for 20/25 minutes, until golden and cooked through. If you prefer, you can fry the patties in hot oil.

Serve with some good Kefir seasoned with salt and the smallest bit of saffron.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
May 7 2019

Cuban Flan

This wondrous recipe is the Cuban version of the universally known European Créme Caramel , which, despite its French name, was born in Spain. The classical recipe is based on just milk, eggs and sugar; the Cubans substituted the fresh milk with powdered and condensed milk, probably easier to find, thus creating a dramatically different texture. Richer and creamier, trust me, it is a dream come true.

Serves 6

  • 1 tin condensed milk (397 gr)
  • 200 gr powdered milk
  • 3 whole free-range eggs
  • 1 tbsp natural vanilla powder (or, half a vanilla bean, halved and scraped)
  • 125 ml water
  • 200 caster sugar for the caramel

 

In a small saucepan place the sugar, put  on low heat and let it caramelize: do not stir the sugar until melted and darkened. Coat a 1.2 liter baking tin with the caramel and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the powdered milk with the water and whisk well; add the condensed milk and mix thoroughly  through in order to eliminate any lumps (you can use an immersion blender to reach this goal perfectly), then add the eggs.

Add the vanilla, combine everything together and pour the mixture in the caramelized tin using a sieve to remove any remaining lumps and, especially, any bubbles.

Cover with aluminum foil, put the tin in a baking pan with boiling water and bake bain-marie in the oven, still, at 180°C for 75 minutes. Check the surface: if the flan is set, take it out of the oven, otherwise prolong the baking for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the tin from the pan, let it cool to room temperature then place in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

To unmold the flan, gently scrape along the edges with a round-bladed knife, then turn upside down on a dish. Serve cold.

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Posted in International, Desserts, Recipes
Apr 1 2019

Thai Mussel with Coconut and Lemon

This is a light main course which can even become more complete if you serve it with plain rice and steamed vegetables. It has an intriguing and mild spicy flavour.

Serves 3/4 

  • 250 gr mussels (net weight without the shells: you will need about 1,200 kg of fresh whole mussels)
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves,  thinly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, thinly chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil (whatever you like: I used extravirgin olive oil, but feel free to use what you prefer)
  • 1 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 pinch of lemon zests
  • chopped fresh coriander to taste

Clean the mussels in cold water and blanch in boiling unsalted water for 1 minute or until opened and cooked halfway through. Drain and discard the shells as well as any mussels that haven’t opened and set aside.

In a heavy-based pan place the oil, ginger, garlic and red chilli pepper and let fry gently.

Add the tomatoes thoroughly chopped by hand and cook for 5 minutes.

Time to add the mussels: stir well and pour the coconut milk.

Scatter with the lemon zests , season with salt to taste and, if you like,  the chopped coriander. Serve with steamed vegetables (I used green beans) and/or plain jasmine rice.

 

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes
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