Category Archives: main

Rainy Day Soup/Pasta and Potatoes soup

Pasta and Potatoes soup is a typical dish that comes from my parents hometown Naples. It’s a simple dish that uses basic ingredients and belong to a poor and humble tradition. It’s a very starchy soup and I considered a comfort food!

I was born in Naples but I grew up in North Italy, my mom used to make this dish a lot especially when it was rainy and cold outside! She used to say ” well today it’s raining so it’s a perfect day for pasta and potatoes”.

When I moved to Vancouver I started to cook by myself for my husband trying to offer him all the amazing dishes that my mom taught me. The weather was rainy every day so for a week, every day, we had Pasta and Potatoes soup. At the 6th day my husband asked me ” Can you please tell me why you make this soup everyday? It’s very delicious BUT every day? ” Well, I replied, my mom used to make this dish when it was raining so I would love to keep the same tradition”

He was laughing so hard, of course, because Vancouver it’s a rainy city and it  does rain a lot, all the time so it can be Pasta and Potatoes soup every day. Back then I didn’t know the weather situation here. Now my husband tells this story to everybody, to all my friends. Actually, when I did my audition for Master Chef Canada, he did suggest I bring Pasta and potatoes….. I should have done that.

Now here is the recipe that you can make today, that is a rainy day, or any other day that you need comfort food. It’s incredibly good, creamy and it will warm your heart.

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 200 grams of pasta small cut like ditalini, small shells or broken spaghetti 
  • 500 grams potatoes cut in small pieces 
  • 50 grams pancetta or bacon ( if you don’t like it it’s ok)
  • Soffritto( carrots, onion and celery chopped fine)
  • 1 tomato cut in pieces 
  • 1 bouillon 
  • 5 tablespoons of oil
  • Parmesan Crust ( if you don’t have it it’s ok)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • A sprinkle of love

Method:

Cut the celery, onion and carrot in small pieces.

  • Put them in a pan whit some oil and let them stir fry for few minutes.
  • Cut the potatoes in cubes, not too small, and add them to the vegetables.
  • Stir fry everything for a minute, now you can water! The water has to cover all the vegetables. Add the tomato and a bouillon. Cook everything on a medium high heat and when it does start to boil low the temperature down on a low heat and cover with a lid. The potatoes has to cook slowly for 30 minutes or more. Sometimes gently stir the potatoes. 
  • After that you can add the pasta and the Parmesan Crust, if you need you can add another glass of water and cook everything in low medium without lid! The water need to dry out and become a nice cream.
  • When it’s ready add a drizzle of oil and serve with Parmesan cheese! 
  • Buon appetito 


Tomato Sauce

 

Tomato sauce (sugo al pomodoro) is an Italian classic and there is nothing better than to prepare it yourself (the one that you buy at the supermarket is miles away from matching this homemade sauce). The recipe is easy, the ingredients are extremely easy to find and it is also very cheap to make.

Ingredients:

  • 800 ml Peeled Tomatoes
  • 40 grams Onion (finely chopped) or 2 gloves of garlic
  • 40 ml Extra virgin olive oil (plus splash to complete the sauce at the end)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Few basil leaves
  • Salt for seasoning
  • A sprinkle of love

Method:

  • Chop the onion; put the oil in a sauce pan. Heat the oil and then add the onions.
  • Sweat off the onion over medium heat, until it colors {2/3 minutes}
  • Add the tomatoes, stir well.
  • Cover the pan, lower the heat and let it cook for 10 minutes, after that add the sugar! Give it a good stir and let it cook for 20/30 minutes and the sauce is thick.
  • 10 minutes before to finish put the salt, amount that you like and at the end the basil.
  • Buon Appetito

IMG_0484

Chicken cutlets 

Chicken cutlets are definitely one of kids favorite dish. My nonna/grandmother used to make it for me and my brothers all the time. It was one of our favorite, of course who doesn’t like fried! My nonno/grandpa used to say “fritte sono buone anche le scarpe/ even shoes are good when are deep fried”.

This recipe is very simple and basic, I used chicken but you can use turkey, veal or the kind of meat that you like. What I usually do I buy the package of chicken breast and when I go home I cut it in slices with a good knife. If you are not confident enough with the knife, freeze the breast for 1 hour, it will be more easy to cut it after.

Ingredients:

  • 600 grams of Chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • A sprinkle of love
  • Lemon
  • OIL to fry I used Canola

Method:

After you cut out your slices from the breast get your station ready. In a large plate put the eggs, add the salt and the Parmesan and beat quickly for few minutes. Put the breadcrumbs in a flat plate. Get your working station ready putting the chicken breast in your left side, then the eggs, the breadcrumbs and a clean plate to put your breaded slices.

Get a slices of chicken deep it in the eggs in the both side and right away in the breadcrumbs. When the slice is in the breadcrumbs with your hand give it few punch, it will help the slice to be nice and flat, it will be more easy to cook it and it will cook evenly.

Put the chicken breast breaded in a plate and start to fry them for few minutes both sides, in a very hot oil. When they are ready put them in a serving plate cover with paper towel, it will help to dry out some oil.

You can serve them with a nice salad, potato, tomato salad or any kind of vegetable! I always serve them with a slice of lemon too.

Suggestion: make a big batch they are very delicious the day after too. Thank you for reading this and I hope you will challenge your self to make this easy dish.

P.S. if you follow me on FB I posted a video on how to make these lovely cutlets

Classic Italian Level 1

Eight week course, single classes available for 35 dollar each and $50 for lasagna.

If you want to learn Italian cooking, this is the course for you. Ideal for the beginner cooks, you will learn how to make fresh pasta from scratch with few different cuts, you will also learn gnocchi and sauces, risotto, tiramisu, minestrone, chicken parmiggiana and lasagna.Price is 250 dollar.

Fall 2016 Session Options:

Wednesdays, 7;00 – 9:30 p.m. (Classes run October 5, 12,19,26 November 2, 9, 16, and 23)
Friday, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. (Classes run October 7, 14,21,28, November 4, 11, 18, and 25)
Maximum of 6 participants

CLASSES

  • Gnocchi with butter and sage and gnocchi alla sorrentina with tomatoes sauce and mozzarella, apple cake.
  • Fresh egg pasta, tomato sauce,  meat sauce and boscaiolo/mushroom sauce.
  • Broth and  risotto alla milanese and pumpking risotto
  • Tiramisu and Minestrone.
  • Baked pasta with red sauce, baked white pasta and meatball.
  • Dinner in 30 minutes  { pasta with butter or oil and chicken and spinach cutlets }
  • Fresh pasta without eggs,sauces, chicken parmiggiana.
  • Lasagna – this class is 3 1/2 hours long.
  • In every class you will go home with a small tray of what you make to share with your family and the recipes.
  • Registration by email at marzia@bellacibo.ca or in person. Pre-payment is required.Bella Cibo reserve the right to cancel or re-scheduale classes when is necessary.We need one week cancellation; note that Refunds will be in the form of Bella Cibo’s gift card.
  • To run the class I need at least 4 people to max 6.

Tomato confit

I love summer and I love tomatoes. Me and my daughter like to eat them at any time of the day, its our favorite snack.We are lucky enough to have our own grow tomatoes so in the summer its a tomatoes party every night.

Tomato confit are practically slow roasted in the oven at high temperature.This recipe is very versatile; the tomatoes confit  can be used like a side dish or like a dressing for your pasta,Its a very tasty dish. I suggest you to use a good oil extra vergin if possible.

Ingredients:

3 cup of cherries tomatoes or grape

1/4 cup oil evo plus 2 tablespoon

1 teaspoon Oregano

2 garlic cloves

1/3 cup parsley

2 cups bread crumbs

salt

a sprinkle of love

Method:

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a baking dish covered with parchment paper.Add the 2 tablespoon of oil,oregano, salt and toss everything.

Place the garlic, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a bowl and add the garlic{you can chopped it if you like}.Add the breadcrumbs and the oil and mix everything well.Sprinkle the crumbs on top of your tomatoes.

Bake for 30/40 minutes until the bread crumbs are nice and gold.You can now serve the tomatoes like a side dish, you can serve them on a piece of bread or you can use them to dress you pasta. If you do that I suggest you, 3 minutes before the pasta is ready, to put the amount of tomatoes that you wanna use for your pasta in a stir fry pan.Add 2 tablespoon of the pasta water, add the cooked pasta and stir fry for a minute or 2.Add some oil at the end. Yummy Delicious tasty dish.

Buon appetito

agosto 29 369

 

My Master Chef Audition

I moved to Vancouver from Italy to follow the love of my life 13 years ago; when I came here I did not know any  English, I had no family support, I had to leave all my friends and my beautiful country full of culture and good food, I had to reinvent myself.

After 13 years in Canada I was called to a Master Chef audition, to audition for one of the top 40 home cooks in all Canada, it felt pretty awesome. I’m really proud of myself and I can’t wait to see what destiny will bring to me. I think this country is pretty fantastic and full of opportunity.

I seriously never thought to participate in the program,  I don’t know what happened one morning  while my kids were getting ready to go to the pool I decided to fill out the online application just to see which kind of questions you had to answer! I was 100% sure that I would never be called so answered all 56 questions very sincerely  without trying to impress anybody. Two hours later I received a phone call from one of the producers. I didn’t get it right away, I mean I didn’t understand what he wanted ..lol..This gentlemen asked me more questions about my life and of course I was happy to answer him in a very honest way always thinking in my head that Master Chef Canada will never ask ME to do an audition! Well I was wrong because at the end of the conversation he did invite me to the audition in Vancouver on July 27. I was shocked, in my head I thought it was some kind of joke, I could not believe that this little Italian mom that came from Italy 13 years ago with nothing, got an invitation to Master Chef Canada audition. Inside my head I thought again that it was a joke. Sometimes I don’t believe in myself, unfortunately when I was a teenager I was rejected from my biological dad, so even after all this years, and all the love that my husband and children give me every day, sometimes I feel insecure.

The day after I got an email with all the details about the audition, in that moment I did realize that it was real and I felt pretty awesome about it. My cooking dreams are to open a cooking school, write a recipe book and to have a cooking channel so I thought if I gave all of myself, this wonderful opportunity can help me to reach my dreams.

At the audition I had to bring a signature dish, that could be eaten at room temperature. For room temperature it was really difficult to decide what to bring. I wanted to bring a nice home-made from scratch with love lasagna or gnocchi or cannelloni or simple a plate of pasta but everybody knows that those dishes cold are not really good. My last choice was her Majesty “Eggplant Parmigiana”. I still remember when I was a kid going to the beach with my family with the coolers full of yummy food and one of them was the parmigiana. I used to eat it cold on a nice piece of delicious bread. Eggplant parmigiana is one of my favorite dishes, in Italy it’s a dish that you can find on most of the Sunday/festive tables.

Audition day was really crazy, the night before I didn’t sleep at all I was so worried about my dish because we had to plate it in 3 minutes in front of the chefs and all the Master Chef Crew. The Eggplant Parmigiana is really good but there is not so many cool ways to decorate so I kept it simple just like me. I did prepare the dish at home, I usually make it in a deep dish but this time I made it like in a tower with 10/12 layers and left it in the round mold until I had to plate it in front of everybody.The 3 minutes were pretty crazy, so many peoples made awesome dishes! I plated my round eggplant parmigiana in a middle of a white square plate, put some basil on the side and some oil. That was it. Very simple. The chef came and asked me technical questions, tasted it and that was it! He had a piece of paper to fill in, the green one in the picture. After that, the Master Chef winner of season 2, David Jorge, came too taste it and we had a little chat! What an awesome guy seriously, my daughter is still mad that I didn’t take a picture with him, she was a big fan of him in the show. Matthew Astorga was there too and also an awesome guy. They both were very down to earth.

After the plating I had to wait few hours for the audition in another room in front of the crew, that was another awesome experience. I would have never thought to be able to do something so magnificent, I feel so good about my self right now! The casting audition ended  yesterday so I  have to wait another week for the results.I feel good about it, I gave all of myself, all the love in me went on my dish! Even if I don’t pass it will be an experience that I will never forget and I’m so proud of.

Below are some pictures of the event. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of my parmigiana because I forgot the phone in the other room!

Thanks all and thanks to all my friends, my customer that believe in me, without your love I wouldn’t be here. Finger crossed for me, next week we know the results.

 

 

Gluten Free Gnocchi

I finally found a gluten free gnocchi recipe that I and my family like; my kids didn’t even notice the difference so that it’s a good sign!

This is a great recipe to do with your family so I highly suggest making gnocchi with your kids, you family or your friends. In the kitchen we can build the best, precious, unforgettable memories. In fact I still remember, after all these years, making gnocchi with my grandma and all my little cousins, our job was to roll out the gnocchi! It’s something that will stay in you forever.

Here the recipe for you, I did 2 attempts, the first one with rice flour and it didn’t work but the second time, with all purpose baking flour, it did! I m so happy.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams potatoes already boiled and mashed with a ricer
  • 200/250 grams gluten free flour for baking  {I used redmill}
  • 1 egg
  • A sprinkle of love.

 

  • Method:
  • Boil the potatoes with the skin, when they are cooked drain them and peel them right away! Remember always peel the potatoes when they are hot.
  • Mash the potatoes with a ricer and put them in a bowl and let them cool down!
  • When the potatoes are ready put them on a chopping board, make a volcano in the middle and put the egg in the hole. With a fork beat the egg and try to incorporate to the potatoes.  
  • Now start to add the flour, a handful and the time, and work your dough until is nice and smooth and it’s not sticky anymore. You will have to work it for 10 minutes.
  • The dough is ready when you can make a nice, firm ball.
  • It’s time now to roll the gnocchi; this is the part where I suggest you to get the kids involved.
  • Take off a handful of the dough and roll that with both hands until you have a rope about the thickness of your thumb. Cut this rope in 2.5 cm lengths.
  • Bring each piece of dough and flip it with your index finger against the inside of your fork. With this technique the gnocchi will catch any sauce🙂.
  • Place your gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet.
  • Cook them in boiling water with salt.
  • They are done when they raise to the surface of the water. Put them right away in a big bowl and dressed them with your favorite sauce.
  • I suggest a nice Bolognese sauce or (more quick) butter and sage sauce.

 27.jpg