lunedì 31 ottobre 2011

RISI E BISI (Rice and peas) Typical Venetian dish

Soup - Vegetarian (see note at the end) - celiac safe

2 cups Carnaroli rice
1 1/2 jar of superfine Italian peas, drained and rinsed
3 oz prosciutto, chopped
1 medium onion, minced
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
4 oz parmigiano, grated

In a big saucepan, heat olive oil and sautee onions until translucent, then add prosciutto and peas.

Pour broth and, when it gets to a boil, add rice, stirring frequently.

When the rice is ready (18-22 minutes, depending on altitude and pesonal taste), sitr in parsley and parmigiano and serve immediately.

This recipe serves between 4 and 6 people, depending on whatelse is served.

- This recipe actually calls for pancetta, but it's hard to find here and bacon would be too fat.
- This dish should be between a risotto and a soup: runnier than a risotto, drier than a soup.
- You can make without prosciutto.
- You can make it risotto-style, therefore adding broth little by little.

lunedì 24 ottobre 2011


Pasta entree

1 lb Italian egg fettuccine
1/3 cup walnuts, roughly copped
1 oz Italian dried porcini
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly chrushed
5 sprigs parsley, separate leave and chop them
1/2 lb prosciutto (di Parma is better), juilienne cut
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Soak porcini in lukewarm water for 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sautee garlic and parsley stems for about 1 minute, add prosciutto and sautee for no more than 1 minute then add broth and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove porcini from water and squeeze them to eliminate excess water, cut the bigger pieces.

Discard garlic and parsley from the skillet and add porcini, stir and pour wine; cook for about 5 minutes, covered with a lid. At this point, stir walnuts in, season with salt (and pepper if you like) and cook for 1-2 minutes more, uncovered.

When water boils, add salt and fettuccine, stirring. Cook for about 5-6 minutes and drain, reserving part of the cooking water. Arrange in the skillet and toss, on medium heat, for about 2 minutes, adding some of the water, if necessary (egg fettuccine tend to be dryer than other pasta).

Serve immediately sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

This recipe serves 4-6 people.

- To add flavor, carefully strain the porcini soaking water and add to pasta water.
- You can make your own pasta with Italian 00 flour and eggs (2 cups - 3 eggs)
- Do not sprinkle this pasta with Parmigiano: it's an overpowering flavor, compared to the really delicate porcini one.

lunedì 17 ottobre 2011


Vegearian - celiac and lactose intolerant safe - dessert

2 melons (I had Heart of gold)
2 apples
1 lemon, juice and peel (only the yellow part because the white is bitter)
2 cups sugar

After the Italian Festival I had 1 1/2 melon and wanted to make some jam, because they were getting too ripe and I found a recipe that I changed a little (especially in the sugar content).

Peel melons and remove seed, then cut in small cubes and arrange them in a stainless steel saucepan with lid; repeat with the apples and add them to the melon dices. Add sugar, lemon juice and peel and stir well to toss all ingredients. Cover with lid and refrigerate for 12 hours.

After the "marinating time", place the saucepan on medium-high heat, covered, until it boils, then remove the lid, lower heat to medium and cook until juices are thickened, stirring frequently but not continuously.

When it starts thickening, lower heat to simmer and cook until you reach the desired consistency; keep stirring frequently.

In the meantime, put hot water in your jars to warm them up (so they won't "explode" when you pour boiling jam in).

When your jam is ready, empty the jars from the water and fill with jam, close with its lid and turn them upside down: this way they'll seal without boiling them. Let them cool down and store in cupboard for up to 6 months (mine never last that long).

- This jam has a lower content in sugar; anyway, taste your melon before adding sugar: if they're sweet as mine were, use less sugar.
- I don't exactly know how long I cooked the jam, I just checked the consistency; probably around 1 1/2 hour.

lunedì 10 ottobre 2011


Side dish - Vegetarian - Celiacs and lactose intolerants safe

2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers (or a mix of them)
1 onion
2 zucchine
1 medium eggplant
2 medium potatoes
2 carrots
1 14-oz can Italian peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice.
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped (or parsley or oregano)

Wash peppers, zucchine and eggplant. Remove stem, seeds and inner white ribbings from bell peppers, peel eggplant, potatoes, onions and carrots (if needed).

Dice all vegetables and keep the separate. Dice the peeled San Marzano, and set aside with their juice.

In a big casserole with lid, warm 4 tbsp of olive oil and sautee onions, carrots, peppers and potatoes for about 2/3 minutes, then add eggplant and zucchine, sautee everything together for another couple of minutes, stirring, then season with salt.

Add San Marzano with their juice, stir well, season with salt again, if needed; lower heat to simmer and cover with lid.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until when all vegetables are soft.

If it thickens too much, add a few tablespoons of warm water or vegetable broth.

When it's almost ready, add the fresh herb you prefer.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with eggs, cheese, grilled with meat or fish. It's also good on toasted bread (bruschetta style).

This recipe doesn't really have a number of servings.....

- You can use fresh, very ripe tomatoes (peel them first).
- I sauteed all vegetables separately, in a non-stick skillet, seasoning with salt during the "sauteeing", then I transfered the vegetables in a casserole and cooked as specified: it takes longer but gives a better flavor.
- If you transfer it in an air-tight container when at room temperature, it keeps easily 4-5 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it.

lunedì 3 ottobre 2011


White meat entree - celiacs safe

2 chicken breasts, cut in 1/4"-thick slices
2 cups peas, frozen or fresh
1 cup milk, at least
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
Extra virgin olive oil
Sage and rosemary
Flour (or corn starch for celiacs)

Dredge meat slices into flour and make sure they're well covered with it, then shake excess flour away.

In the meantime, warm olive oil in a large non-stick skillet and sautee chiken breast on both sides until lightly golden. Season with salt, sage and rosemary and add brandy (or cognac). When alcohol evaporates, add milk, lower heat to simmer, cover with lid and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add peas and cook until they reach your desired doneness; if milk thickens too much, add some more milk preferably warm.

Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 4.

- This recipe can be made with pork loin slices, same thickness.
- Milk is the perfect way to cook meats that tend to be tough because its consistency keeps them moist and the presence of flour or corn starch produces a creamy sauce.
- It is perfect served with rice, pilaf style or risotto (cooked only with broth); this way you'll have a complete meal suitable for celiacs.
- Brandy or cognac have a perfect flavor for this recipe; don't use white wine because it will have a different reaction with milk and it will prevent the creation of the creamy sauce. If you don't have any brandy or cognac, skip this step. If you can't use alcohol due to whatever reason, you can use apple juice or apple cider as suggested by a friend (thanks Jean!).