Posts Tagged ‘italian’

The proceeding behind this side dish could be defined somehow as the foundation of Italian cuisine.
In fact, most of the vegetables can be cooked in this way, as well as many pasta sauces. So you can serve as an accompaniment to a main course or it can be even eaten alone with some fresh bread.
So I decided to post this recipe especially for the benefit of non-Italians who read my little blog!

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1 kg of broccoli (or cabbage or turnip tops or whatever you want, but green :-));
  • 4 cloves of garlic, to which you have carved some small cut with a knife and you have squeezed a bit;
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil;
  • 1 or 2 dried chillies;
  • Salt to taste.


1- Wash broccoli, remove any loose or damaged part. Boil them in salted water for 7 minutes from the recovery of the boiling or more if you are using cabbages. If you use a pressure cooker, cook for 4 minutes maximum after the hiss (or follow the specific instructions of your pressure cooker!).
2- Sauté in a a large nonstick pan the cloves of garlic and chilli. When the garlic turns golden, add the previously drained vegetables. Add salt to taste.
3- Sauté on high heat for three minutes, then add a glass of water and, covering with the lid, cook until water is absorbed and the vegetables are dried up in the pan. About 8 minutes. Actually you have to see by eye when the broccoli are ready: it depends on how much you like them soft.
4- Serve hot as a side dish. Very delicious with fresh Italian bread.

Tasty option: when sauté, you can use a bit of anchovy paste to give a stronger and savory flavor. In this case, pay attention that the anchovy paste tends to burn easily.

Buon appetito!


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Pumpkin and Gaeta Olives RisottoThere’s nothing we can do. It’s the pumpkin season! And while we wait for the coming of  The Great Pumpkin with Charlie Brown and Linus, well by now for the next year, let’s comfort ourself with this savory rice recipe!

Just a 2 fundamental notes before starting:

1) I don’t really know if the kind of olives used in this recipe, Itrana or Gaeta, are available outside Italy, so if you don’t know how to find them, you may use black or red olives. If I may make a suggestion, you should avoid green olives because they are too bland for the purpose.

2) The second matter it’s about the mantecatura which is, many of you surely know, the cooking process for obtaining a perfect creamy rice. It’s very simple to do, but maybe a little boring. Actually you have to regularly pour hot stock in the rice saucepan or wok, just the amount necessary for covering the rice surface with the liquid, and then you have to slowly stir while the liquid gentle simmers without boiling. When you see the rice a little dried, add another cup of the hot stock and repeat the process. You have to do this until the stock is absorbed and the rice is tender. All this process lasts about 18-20 minutes depending on the rice quality. Remember that the flavour of a creamy rice depends on the stock, so be careful using the salt during the preparation of the recipes that needs mantecatura.

And now the recipe!

Ingredients for 4 servings

– 800 g (3,5 oz) diced fresh Pumpkin
– 100 g (1/2 cup) minced Itrana Olives or Olive di Gaeta
– 1 minced white onion
– about 1,5 – 2 l (8,7 cups) hot vegetable stock (amount needed can vary, so better having stock in excess than to be done all over again)
– 320 g  (1-1,5 cups) Carnaroli Rice. Serving size about 80 g.
– a pinch of nutmeg (hey, you mean Noce Moscata!)
– salt and pepper to taste
– 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
– 15 g (1 tbsp) butter
– grated Parmesan cheese to taste


1- Take a large saucepan or a wok, add the olive oil and regulate the heat to medium fire. When the oil is heated, add the garlic and the minced olives and gentle sauté the mixture.

When the onion becomes a little golden stir the diced pumpkin in.
Add salt (don’t exaggerate with salt as I said in the mantecatura’s paragraph), pepper and and a pinch of nutmeg and give a stir.

3– Cook the pumpkin for about 10 minutes or until it becomes a little dried then add the rice. Cook for about 1 minute stirring the rice.

4- Now comes the boring part, the Mantecatura! Read up for details! C’mon, pour the stock and stir, pour the stock and stir! Be patient and don’t go around watching telly because the rice might burn… Ok, it happened to me, I know colpa mia!
Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and check the flavour! Add salt if needed.

5- When it’s almost done, add the butter and stir. Serve the rice with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to taste and decorate the dish with some olives if you like.

Buon Appetito!

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Well, it sounds like an alcoholic drink. I give up, better use ‘Spaghetti allo Scoglio‘.
In this case Scoglio or Rock is the one in the sea, the one covered with mussels, clams and seafood. Exactly like this pasta from the tradition of southern regions of Italy.

Before starting, just 2 words about the mixed seafood necessary for this recipe.
I’m not a fan of fish cleaning, so when I want to do this kind of recipes I usually go to my trusted fish dealer to buy ready fresh mixed seafood or I go to the market to buy frozen mixed seafood.
Whatever your choice (you may also buy the fresh fishes and clean one by one. It’s up to you!), this dish can be made with various kind of seafood like mussels, clams, shrimp, and squid in varying proportions. If you want you can also add some piece of fresh salmon or grouper. In short you can do it with whatever seafood you like the most.

So, are you ready? Here we go!

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 500 g (17,5 oz) frozen mixed seafood or fresh mixed seafood (if you use the frozen one, defrost before cooking)
  • 1 little dried peperoncino (red pepper)
  • 3 garlic cloves cut in 2 pieces and without the green core inside
  • Anchovy paste to taste
  • 700 g (24,5 oz) Canned Italian tomato sauce or 500 g (17,5 oz) chopped fresh tomatoes
  • half glass of white wine
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 400 g (14 oz) Italian spaghetti
  • salt and pepper to taste


1- Fill a big pot with water (the more the better!) and put it on the kitchen stove and turn it on. Here you’ll cook the spaghetti.

2- Put the olive oil in a large nonstick pan, a wok would be great, and put it on the kitchen stove, regulate medium fire. After one or two minutes add and sauté the garlic, the hot pepper, half of the chopped parsley and a bit of anchovy paste. Stir all the ingredients with a wooden spoon.

3- When the garlic becomes golden, add the seafood with a bit of its water and set  the fire to maximum. Stir well the mixture. If you are using fresh mussels and clams cook until the shells are open. After a while add the white wine and cook until it totally evaporates (how to know? Sniff the pan and if it doesn’t smell of wine, well it’s done!). Remove the garlic cloves.

4- Put the tomato sauce or the chopped tomatoes into the pan, regulate the fire to minimum. Add salt and pepper to taste (don’t exaggerate with salt because the anchovy paste is quite salted on its own). Cook for about 15-20 minutes and taste often to check the salt.

5- While cooking the sauce, let’s return to the pot of water that, at this point, is surely boiling. Add 1 tbsp of salt and and the spaghetti in the boiling water. Start timing when the water returns to boiling. Good spaghetti needs about 8-10 minutes to cook but read the directions on the package just to be sure.  Taste often the pasta and add salt if needed. Remember that the only way to determine if the pasta is well cooked is to taste: it has to be al dente: firm and yet a little elastic. Never sticky!

6- For this dish you need to cook the spaghetti less than the proper time, because you have to sautè it a little in the pan with the seafood sauce. So, drain the pasta into a colander in your kitchen sink. Shake the colander to remove the water in excess. Add the drained spaghetti into the sauce’s pan, regulate the fire on medium/maximum and stir it well. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

7- Serve into dishes and add the rest of the fresh parsley directly on the top of the spaghetti to decorate them. Enjoy now your Spaghetti allo Scoglio!

Buon Appetito!

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Because, of course, it’s good! Really, after several attempts I finally get the final, in my opinion, Pizza Recipe. Too bad for me beacuse of my husband I have to keep a watchful eye on my plate!
I’ve decided to start with a basic, traditional, very old recipe and maybe the most famous Italian one: Pizza Margherita. Wow, I feel a little nervous… Hope you’ll enjoy it.

The name Margherita came from the tradition stating that in June 1889, the chef Raffaele Esposito, to celebrate the queen of Italy, Margherita di Savoia, baked the first Pizza Margherita: a pizza in which the colors of the ingredients (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil) resembled the Italian Flag. He was also the first to add cheese Mozzarella to this recipe. I don’t know if this tradition is true but I like it!

One important thing to know about pizza is that, thus the preparation is very easy, the quality of the ingredients is critical.

There are many methods, here is mine.


Dough for 2 oven trays:
One tray is barely enough for me and my husband! With 2 trays you can satisfy another couple of friends or you can split in two the dough in order to deep-freeze the half you don’t want to use at the moment.

  • 800 g (3,5 cups) Bread Flour (0 Flour – Farina Zero – in Italy). Please note, in case of a celiac diet, use a gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour
  • 1 package of active dry yeast or 1 compressed fresh yeast (choose the one you prefer but check carefully the expiration date)
  • about 350 ml (1-1,5 cups) warm water
  • salt to taste

Topping for 1 oven tray:

  • Tomato sauce (real Tomato sauce not Ketchup, right? And please,  don’t add sugar because the real Italian tomato sauce doesn’t contain any sugar!!! A passata like this one is good for the purpose.)
  • 250 g (8,5 oz) shreded mozzarella (squeeze a little before using in order to remove as much milk as possible)
  • Oregano to taste
  • Basil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra-virgin Olive Oil


The Dough

1- If you use the dry yeast, melt it in half glass of warm water, add 1 tsp of brown sugar, then wait about 10 minutes until the yeast froth. Or, if you use fresh yeast simply melt it in half glass of warm water.

2- Put the flour with the salt in a large bowl or on a work surface and make a hole in the centre.

3- Pour slowly the yeast with its water and then the rest of the water, always very slowly and inside the hole. Stir while pouring the water. In this first steps you can help yourself with a tablespoon for stirring.

4- Now comes the sticky part! Are you ready for becoming covered with flour? Don’t be afraid: this is the most difficult part but after the first attempts you will obtain a perfect dough. With your hands (my grandma used to wet her fingers frequently with water while stirring the flour. I think it’s a good tip!) knead strongly the dough until it becomes elastic and smooth. No piece of dough must remain stuck to your fingers. In this step maybe you’ll find useful to add flour in the case of a too sticky dough or water if the dough is too dry. The amount of water could change on several conditions such as room’s temperature, season or kind of flour. Sooner or later after few attempts you will become a Pizza’s hero!

5- When you feel satisfied with your beloved dough, shape it like a ball. Now it’s time to cover your bowl with a clean napkin and to put it in a warm and dark place at least for 2 hours or until it double the size (I usually put it in the turned-off oven). Remember that more you leaven the dough more you will easily digest your pizza. One tip: Italian tradition states that before putting one dough to leaven you have to engrave a cross with a knife on the surface of the dough ball. This might seem like a blessing for the old granny but actually it helps the dough to better leaven.

6- The dough is ready to be used for your pizza. Now you should decide if you want to use all the dough (enough for 4 big serving size) or if you want to deep-freeze the half. In this last case remember that you have to use the frost dough in 1 month (put it in the fridge from the morning in order to obtain a slowly defrost, then in the afternoon put it in warm place to make it leaven again. Then use it as a fresh dough.)

Topping and baking:

1- Pre-heat the oven to about 220-250° C (430-480°F).

2- Oil the oven tray with some Extra-virgin Olive Oil. Don’t exaggerate with the oil but you have to grease well all the tray. You can use a square or a circular tray: it’s up to you! I prefer the squared one.

3- Flatten the dough in the tray with your hand helping yourself with some flour on your finger or with a rolling pin or with both. Cover with the flatten dough all the tray in a regular way as much as possible.

4- Helping yourself with a tablespoon pour the tomato sauce on the pizza. Remember to cover the surface but try to don’t get too closer to the borders. Pay attention not to wet the pizza too much: create a thin layer with the tomato sauce!

5- Sprinkle the shreded Mozzarella all over the pizza. Don’t put the cheese on the borders. Then sprinkle the oregano and the basil on the top of the surface. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finally add about 3-4 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil well spread all over the surface.

6- If the oven has reached the right temperature, put the tray in. Bake the pizza until the borders become a little crispy and the mozzarella becomes golden. If you see too much liquid on the pizza, it means that it have to bake a little more. Anyway the time is about 9-12 minutes (actually the last pizza I baked needed 15 minutes). In every case, keep an eye on your pizza!

7 – Well, you don’t need instructions for enjoying a pizza!

Buon appetito!

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Hello world! My name is Serena.

Yes, the title says the truth, I’ve always been a blog’s reader and never ever a writer. So, time for a change!

And, before starting,  the reason why my english is so poor it isn’t because I’m a 5 years old kid with a pc, but because I’m a real Italian (old) girl, living in Rome (more details about me in the proper page when I’ll find a moment to put down something cool about me). So, sorry for my English and be kind with me because I’m a real blog newbie!

Coming straight to the point, why another food blog on the web?
There are many reasons and, in time, I will explain many of them.
For now, the far more important one is that I really want to start this little project of mine: I’d like a place where to put and share my new and old recipes, the recipes created by me as well as the recipes that my grandma used to cook during Christmas holidays, recipes suggested by friends of mine and so on. All the recipes that I’d like to publish on this blog have been tasted by me, my husband, my family and my friends. So 100% verified!

Beside there is another important reason for this blog. In Italy there are many food and cuisine bloggers. Some of them are very good. But they spread all this knowledge and tradition of italian food only in Italian language. I think it’s really a shame. So here I am to do my part. And I assure you that it isn’t easy at all to translate all this stuff in English!

And, by the way, some last but not least information.
I am vegetarian, to be precise semi-vegetarian (fish but not meat), so you’ll never find here any meat recipes.
And, though I actually  love italian food, I also love japanese, chinese and ethnic food. And don’t make me think about american food such as pancakes or apple pie! How yummy they are!
All in all here you’ll find my personal interpretation of Italian and international cuisine!
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the meaning of the word noce moscata.  No problem, soon you’ll find out because it’s one of my favorite spice…

Buon appetito!

P.S. In this starting phase, I don’t know yet how often I could post something but I’ll try to do my best!

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