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Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since I wrote here, but, during all this time, I haven’t cooked anything particularly interesting: too little time!
But I hope to make it up with this excellent summer recipe.
With the heat, there’s nothing better than a seasoning and fresh (and fast!) red pepper pesto sauce.
In the next days I plan to cook different types of pesto, even the classic pesto Genovese, but, just to start, let’s make one with red peppers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 big red peppers, washed and coarsely chopped;
  • 3 cleaned cloves of garlic;
  • 40 g (1/2 cup) of shelled almonds;
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) of grated pecorino cheese;
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste;
  • Salt to taste.
Instructions:

1- Put peppers, garlic, almonds and pecorino cheese in a food processor or a blender. Blend everything but not too much.
The ingredients must be finely chopped and not too melted. Drain several times the excess water from the mixture (peppers have the bad habit to have so much water inside!).
2- When the mixture is well chopped and well drained, remove it from the processor and put it in a bowl. Only then, add oil and salt. Mix well the compound with a spoon.
3- With the amount of ingredients listed above, I got about 3 servings for a couple. I therefore suggest to put the extra pesto in clean jars, cover the surface of the pesto with oil and place in the fridge. You can eat it within 10 days.
4- Of course you can also eat it immediately: D. It’s excellent as a sauce for pasta and it’s also delicious on sandwiches and bread.

Buon appetito!

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The answer is simple: I can not resist! Although this recipe is meant for 4 people, we hardly manage to get to the day after such a delight (um … we are only two). Maybe it’s because that I like very much the leeks in any recipe…

Enough, less greetings and more recipe!

Ingredients for 4 servings (if you can: P)

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks (usually are huge!);
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste;
  • 1 rolled-out of puff pastry, ready for use (Ladies and gentlemen, it is too difficult for me to do at home by myself: too long the process and the result is not guaranteed. So, better to buy it ready to use.);
  • 2 eggs;
  • 50g (3.5 tbsp) grated Parmesan cheese;
  • 3 tablespoons of milk;
  • 70g (2.5 oz) of Gruyere cheese or Leerdamer (or similar cheese);
  • salt to taste;
  • pepper to taste;
  • 1 pinch with grated nutmeg.

Instructions:

1- Preheat the oven to 190 ° / 200 ° C (390 ° F).
2- Place the pastry on a round baking tray covered with baking paper. Prick with a fork the pastry so to avoid creating air bubbles during the cooking.
3- Sauté the leeks, previously cut in thin slices, in the oil, until they become golden brown. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
4- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, adding milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and Parmesan cheese.
5- Finally, add the leeks and cheese Leerdamer (or whatever) to the mixture of eggs. Mix lightly and pour it slowly into the pan on the pastry.
6- With the surplus edge of pastry you can decorate the pie the way you want. In this precise case, I have left as it was. But the possibilities are many: you can create strips as those for jam tarts or make a nice thick border. The choice is up to you 🙂
7- Bake for about 15-20 minutes but keep an eye on the oven. The edges of the pastry should be golden and crisp!
And here’s your pie! Enjoy it!

Buon appetito!

For those dear readers who do not know the puff pastry, here to help wikipedia. But I warn you I do not want any responsibility: it is a veeery fat pastry 😉

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Pasta al forno means Oven Baked Pasta and it’s a very basic Italian main course. I don’t know a single Italian person who dislikes Oven Baked Pasta: we do this kind of recipe very often and actually with everything we have in the fridge.
The one I’m going to illustrate is been ‘created’ and cooked by me and by my husband Federico who had the brilliant idea of using Curled Chicory.

You see, chicory is maybe a little bitter for the common taste, so you may also use spinaches or other vegetables with green foliage. Besides this specific Pasta al Forno is a simple variant because there is no mozzarella or complicated stuffing.
Very easy to do and very yummy, so let’s start!

Ingredients for 4-6 servings

  • 400 g (14 oz) short pasta of your choice (here I used a mix of 2 different shapes of pasta)
  • 1 kg (35 oz) fresh Curled Chicory /Cicoria Riccia
  • 1,5-2 cups of Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (here is a nice post about Pecorino I found from Deutschmaus page)
  • 500 g (2,2 cups) Bechamel/Besciamella sauce (here I used a packed one but you can of course do it by yourself)
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated nutmeg to taste

Instructions

1- Boil the Chicory in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Then drain well the vegetables in a colander but keep in the same pot the water you cooked the chicory in.

2- Boil again the ‘green’ water of the chicory and pour the pasta in the same water. Make it al dente, very firm, because it will cook in the oven too. In the meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200° C (390° F).

3- When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander (not the same of the chicory!).

4– In a squared glass or non-stick oven tray, pour a thin layer of Besciamella sauce and spread it with a paddle, then put some pasta and cover with some chicory, the grated cheese, salt, pepper and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Now pour again the Besciamella and repeat this step. You have to obtain 2 or 3 layers. Eventually the last layer must be the grated cheese, with some butterball on the top.

5- Put the tray in the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes or until it dries a little and the top becomes golden and crispy.
You can enjoy this dish even the day after because, in my and my husband’s opinion, it becomes tastier!

Buon appetito!


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