Monthly Archives: March 2014

Tortano/Easter Bread

Italian food is all about tradition and Tortano or Casatiello is a must  for the Neapolitan at Easter. Every year before Easter the family get together to make this delicious, amazing savory bread…..lets say “its a family affair”. The day after Easter in Italy we go at the beach or at the park for a nice “scampagnata” with friends and we bring the leftover Tortano with other food of course and we all eat together. Food brings people together.

Tortano  or Casatiello is a savory bread stuffed with cheese, salami, mortadella, prosciutto and boiled eggs, you are suppose to eat it at Ester but its great for any occasion in fact, 11 years ago, my aunt made this delicious savory bread for my husband when we were there in the summer and he fall in love.

Its not difficult to make this amazing bread if you follow this recipe, the only thing that I suggest you its to make it a day in advance so it does have time to rise slowly and the result will be outstanding. The secret for a great result, like my nonna said, it is that you must use “sungia”/Italian pork fat but if you don’t have it use  shorting or  oil.

I  hope you will try it out and maybe you can start your own tradition with your homemade Tortano for Easter.

HAPPY ESTER 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Kg flour
  • 550 ml water
  • 28 gr fresh yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pepper
  • 150 grams  Italian pork fat (sugna) or shorting
  • 4  boiled eggs cut in pieces
  • 100 grams salame
  • 100 grams ham
  • 100 grams mortadella
  • 100 grams provolone
  • 100 grams scamorza or any other kind of cheese that you have in your fridge
  • 50 grams Grana Cheese
  • Salt, pepper (2 teaspoons each)
  • 4 egg for decoration
  • 1 lightly beat egg for paint the tortano before the oven
  • A sprinkle of love

 

Method:

Dissolve in a bowl the yeast with the water and sugar and after a minute  add the salt and shorting . Add little by little the flour and knead into a soft and elastic dough. Let it rise for an hour or until double the size.I suggest to put your dough in the oven cover with a kitchen towel with the light on.

Cut all your cured meat and your cheese and put it in a side.

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After few hours take your baby Tortano put it on a working board and spread it out trying to give a rectangular shape, remembering to leave a small piece of dough for the decoration.

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Spread some fat or oil on your dough and after put all your cold cuts,cheese and boiled eggs on it.

Now its time to roll it gently and slowly,be very careful because its heavy.

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You have to roll it and give it a circle shape,now whit your 2 finger press in 4 different spot and put the 4 uncooked eggs.With the leftover pasta dough cut 8 stripes.

Its time to let your baby Tortano rest and rise for few hours (I did it for 3 hours) or overnight.

After that you have to spread the lightly beaten egg over it,put it in a  ring mold pan greased with shorting, 35 cm /13 inch wide, and cook it for 35/45 minutes until is nice and gold.

Enjoy and Buon Appetito and Buona Pasqua.

 

 

 

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Rustic Polenta Crostini

I like to entertain a lot,so like I always do before Christmas I organize a get together with my friends and this time I wanted to try a new appetizer with polenta,speck ,fontina and gorgonzola (or bluecheese)

I m from the North of Italy so I grew up with polenta, not the one that you buy at the store precooked  but the one that you make from scratch stirring the water and the corn flour for an hour.

This recipe you don’t have to stir for an hour,you are allow to use the precooked polenta just promise to not tell my dad…he is not gonna be happy because he is the master of the polenta homemade..ok so let start with this gluten free recipe perfect if you have somebody allergic to gluten

 

Ingredients for 12 people:

a package of precooked polenta or some leftover polenta 300 grams

 

For the 6 crostini with speck and fontina:

80 grams fontina cuted it in thin slices

80 grams Speck or Prosciutto in thin slices

 

For the 6 crostini with sausage:

250 grams Italian sausage

150 gorgonzola or bluecheese

150 ml red wine

a sprinkle of love

 

Method:

The first you have to do is to cook the sausage in a frying pan you will crumble it and let it cook for few minutes and then add the wine and let evaporate it.

In the meantime cut your polenta in 12 pieces less then a inch wide.Get your grilling pan or BBQ warm and grill the polenta each side until they have a nice gold color with brown stripe.

Until the crostini are warm put them on a nice servim plate and cover 6 of them with the fontina(it will melt right away)and a slice of speck or prosciutto,and the last 6 with some gorgonzola cheese(or bluecheese) and a spoon of the  sausage .

I hope you enjoy it Buon Appetito

crostini marzo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chickpea Flat Bread with Tzatziki sauce

I love chickpea, growing up in Italy one of my favorite dish was pasta e ceci/ pasta and chickpea. I found this recipe on one of my favorite website http://theitaliantaste.com/ and I really liked it so I wanted to try it out.

It’s very healthy; I think everybody knows how chickpea are good for you so you should give it a try also its gluten free so less calorie to think about it. With this flat bread I wanted to try the Tzatziki sauce, it’s a Greek appetizer that I tried at one of my favorite restaurant one day, it’s really good and you can serve it with any kind of bread.

Ingredients:

  • 150 gr (2/3 cup) chickpea flour
  • 450 ml water
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A sprinkle of love

 

Method:

In a bowl put your flour and gently add the water stirring constantly to avoid lumps. When the mixture is nice and smooth you need to cover it with a lid and let stay for 4/5 hours or even better over night, mixing it few times.

After that take the lid off and with slotted spoon remove the foam that has formed on the top of your mixture.Put half of the oil in the mixture it and stir for a minute, pour the other oil on your round baking sheet (9 inch wide) spread it out and now pour the chickpea mixture on.

Turn the oven at 350 and bake your flat bread for 30/40 minutes until is nice and gold…enjoy it.

Tzatziki sauce

Ingredients:

  • 400 gr Greek yogurt
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 Tablespoon Dill chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoon Extra virgin olive
  • 2 Clove garlic   chopped finely
  • Salt to Taste
  • a sprinkle of love

Method:

Chop the ends of the cucumber, wash it and grate it, place a strainer on a bowl so that the cucumber water can drain away.
Squeeze out excess water if any from the cucumber.

In a bowl mix the Greek yogurt, along with the squeezed cucumber and chopped dill and garlic.
Towards the end add slowly, little by little, both the oil and the vinegar, and at last salt to taste. This sauce it can be serve with any kind of bread or with meat and fish and it can be used for spread or dip. Buon Appetito
Personal suggestion: the cucumber water can be used like a Tonic for your face, try it on your skin it will feel nice and fresh.

 

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Roasted Kale chips

 

Kale is very popular these days. It’s full of vitamins and minerals and it’s considered a super food. I try to buy it often because the benefits of this vegetable are amazing: boost your immune system, detoxifies, makes your skin and nails healthier and more. This is my kids favorite recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • A bunch of chopped kale
  • 3 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar (if don’t have that use white vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon of sugar)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • A sprinkle of love (DO NOT ever forget that)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350
  2. Put the kale in a  bowl and season with salt and oil. Give it a good mix with your clean hands.
  3. Put it now into an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes . I suggest to check the kale because it can burn very easily.
  4. Enjoy and stay healthy!
  5. Buon Appetito

 

iphone febbraio 304  iphone febbraio 223

NEW YORK CHEESECAKE WITH STRAWBERRY SAUCE

 

 

New York cheesecake is one of the most popular dessert in North America.When I moved from Italy 12 years ago I had no idea what it was and then one day my husband express me the desire to eat an homemade cheesecake.This is now one of my family favorite dessert.

 

Ingredients for the base:

  • 150 grams butter
  • 2 tablespoon sugar brown
  • 250 grams Digestive cookies

For the filling:

  • the juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 2 whole+1 egg yolk
  • 20 grams corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 600 grams Philadelphia cream cheese

For the topping:

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 200 ml sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Strawberry sauce:

  • small box of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 juice of lemon (even less)
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • a sprinkle of love

Method:

  • Crush  the cookies very fine in a food processor with the brown sugar.
  • Melt the butter in a pan or in microwave,put the cookies in bowl add the butter,mixing all together with a wooden spoon.
  • Get your 9-inch pan, grease it very well with butter.Cut out some small piece of parchment paper and put it around your pan.
  • Pour the cookies mixture on the bottom pressing evenly with a spoon or  with your hands.Place the cake in the fridge for 1 hour or 30 minutes in the freezer.

 

Filling:

  • Preheat the oven to 350; bring a bowl put the eggs,the sugar and the vanilla and whisk until the mixture is nice and smooth. Add the Philadelphia mix until is nice and smooth. While you are stirring add the lemon juice,the corn starch a pinch of salt,and the heavy cream, don’t forget the sprinkle of love.
  • Pour the filling in your cake pan spread it out and bake for 30 minutes at 350 the lower at 320 and cook for 30/40 minutes..check once an a while that does get too brown, ifit does so cover with aluminium paper.
  • When the cake is ready leave for 30 minutes in the oven off with the door a little bit open

Topping time

  • When the cheesecake is cold mix the sour cream with 2 tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla;pour the mixture over the cheesecake and spread it out nicely.Now put your cheesecake in the oven for 5 minutes so it can glaze nicely.When you are done put it in the fridge for at least 5 hours the best is let it sit overnight like I did.

Strawberry sauce:

  • Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes and stir gently until sugar dissolves and the fruit is soft. Remove from the heat let it cool then blend everything, when it is nice and cold put it on top of your cheesecake,use some strawberry to decorate it like I did.
  • Buon Appetito

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Nutella Roll

march 14 090Nutella roll is a classic Italian dessert, very easy to make, fast  and usually everybody like it ….well who does not like Nutella??

Ingredients:

  • Baking sheet 15×12 inch
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of  flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking power
  • 50 ml milk
  • 200 ml  Nutella
  • Icing sugar
  • a sprinkle of love

Method:

In a bowl put the eggs and the sugar and beat for a little bit until is nice and fluffy

Slowly add the flour mixed with the baking power and keep beating

Add the milk until your cake batter is nice and smooth.

Now put the parchment paper in your baking sheet and pour the mixture in it.

Put it in the oven at 420 and cook for 5/7 minutes, until the top is gold.

Now on your working board put some parchment paper and overthrow the cookie dough.

Gently peel off the parchment paper, that you have used to cook the dough, and while is still hot spread your Nutella.

I suggest to use a lot of it 🙂

Spread Nutella in all the surface and gently start to roll the dough using the parchment paper.

Cover the roll with the paper and put it in the fridge for 1 hour before to serve it.

Put it on your serving plate with some icing sugar, it is going to be delicious! You can also substitute the Nutella with jam or whipping cream with strawberries!

Buon Appetito 

Kale,pomagranade and avocado salad

This salad is an explosion of health.

The pomegranate,the kale and the avocado  are very full of vitamins, and they are considered super foods.

It is very easy to make, the only thing about this salad is that  is  a little be bitter but, eh  it is good for you so you better eat it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado cut in dices
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 bunch of kale.
  • half  lemon
  • oil EVO
  • salt
  • a sprinkle of love

Method:

  • Cut your avocado in dices and put it in a small bowl with a juice of half lemon
  • Wash your kale and cut it in chunk and put it in a big bowl,clean your pomegranate  take all your seeds out and add it to the kale,add the avocado too and mix very well.
  • Pour some oil EVO and salt and mix very well.
  • I served this wonderful salad with  BBq salmon
  • Stay healthy and Buon Appetito

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Avocado cherry tomatoes and tuna salad

I have a lot of Mexican friends and they always talked about avocado that I never tried in my life because growing up in   Italy I never had the opportunityImage

So one day I bought the avocado and made this lovely salad that right now became our favorite 

 

Ingredients:

1 avocado

1 can of light tuna

10 cherry tomatoes or 2 tomatoes cut in dice 

half lemon

oil EVO 

salt

a sprinkle of love 

 

Method:

Clean your lovely avocado and cut it in dices,cut the cherry tomato in half,take off the oil from your tuna can and put everything in a bowl.

Mix well and add the juice from the half lemon and put the salad in the fridge for half an hour before you serve it.

when is time to serve it put some salt and a teaspoon of oil EVO

Its very easy I hope you enjoy it 

Vegan Coconut and Pear cake

When I found this recipe I wasn’t sure about the result because, in the ingredients list, there is no egg,  no butter and no oil.
Well I had to change my mind because this cake was easy to make and it did taste really good and light.I have to thank a dear virtual friend at  http://blog.giallozafferano.it/cucinadellemeraviglie/  she is amazing.
We loved.
So let do it

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup and 1/2 flour
    1 cup and 1/2 water
  • 1 cup and 1/2 coconut flour
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon baking power
    2 pears cut into cubes
    A sprinkle of love do not ever forget that

Method:

Turn your oven at 350
Sift flour with the baking power.
Add the coconut flour the sugar and at the end the water.
Mix with the wooden spoon
At this point is time to add the pears
Mix again
Pour your mixture in a round baking pan cover with parchment paper.
My pan was 9 inch wide

Bake it in oven for 30/40 minutes until the surface is nice and gold.

Enjoy I hope you like it

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Rice and Parsley soup

Rice and parsley soup is a tradishional dish from Lombardy where I grew up.
Its a very delicious soup that bring me back memorie if my childhood.
My wonderful nonna used to make it for us all the time with the fresh parsley from the garden.I love her so much

This soup is very easy to make you need just few ingridient like rice,parsley butter and grated grana/parmiggiano

So lets do it

Ingridients:

300 grams rice

15 grams butter

2 leaves of sage

Parsley a nice big bunch

Broth 1.5 lt

Salt

Grated parmiggiano cheese

A sprinkle of love ( never forget that)

Method:

To start you need a nice broth
I used leftover vegetable broth from yesterday.

Bring your broth to boil in a big pot and add the rice and let it cook for 20 minutes
In the meanwhile clean your parsley and your sage.
Cut them with a knife not to fine

When the rice is ready put the salt,turn the heat off and add the butter the parsley and the sage.
Mix very well and serve your rice with some parmiggiano cheese

Hope you enjoy it

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