martedì 30 dicembre 2008


Second course

1 Bell Pepper
1 Eggplant
2 Medium Zucchini
12 oz Ricotta cheese
6 oz Parma ham, chopped
1 egg
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
nutmeg, salt, broth (optional)

Put a big pot salted water to boil. When it's ready add salt and cook the vegetables (whole) for 5 to 10 minutes.
Drain them, let them cool and then cut in half (lenghtwise) and take out seeds (for pepper) and pulp (for the other vegetables); throw seeds away, keep pulp.
When pulp is room temperature, chop and put it in a big bowl, add ham, parmesan, ricotta, parsley, nutmeg and salt (carefully because you already have ham and parmesan that are "salty").
Mix the ingredients, lightly salt the vegetables inside and fill with the cream.
At this point you have two ways to cook them:
- on the stove, in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil and some vegetable or chicken broth
- in the oven, in a pan with a little bit of olive oil as well and sprinkle with a mixture of bread crumbs and parmesan; cover the pan with aluminium foil an cook at 320 degrees, a couple minutes before ready, uncover it to get a nice crust on top.
Cooking time depends o the initial boiling, if you boil them 10 minutes, vegetables should be ready in 20 more minutes.
You can eat them at room temperature, too.
You can freeze the when cooked and warm them in the microwave or in the oven, when needed.
You can prepare them in advance and cook them when you need them; in this case you have to keep them refrigerated for not more than one day (because of the ricotta, that's very delicate) or freeze them.

lunedì 22 dicembre 2008



1 Pandoro or Panettone
4 oz Mascarpone
5 1/2 oz Sugar
4 Yolks
5 tbsp Brandy (optional)
1/2 tsp Coffee powder (optional)
2 tbsp Almonds, chopped
2 tbsp Chocolate, chopped

Whisk yolks and sugar until they become light yellow; add mascarpone and continue whisking until you obtain a smooth cream.
Add chopped almonds, chocolate, coffee powder and brandy (both optional).
Slice Pandoro or Panettone, spread the cream over the slices or put it by side.

You can use ricotta instead of mascarpone and milk instead of brandy (if there are kids).
This cream can be used to fill any kind of cake, jus be sure that you use it in a short amount of time.
Pandoro is similar to panettone but without fruits.

martedì 16 dicembre 2008


soup - complete meal

This is a typical Tuscan soup; farro is a cereal similar to rice and can substitute it in every recipe, it has more proteins and fibers.
This soup can be considered as a full meal because of the noble proteins and the carbohydrates contained in both beans and farro.
Having no animal food, it's also good for vegetarians.

Cannellini beans, 3 jars (drained and rinsed)
Farro, 8 oz
Potato, 1 big
Strained Tomatoes, 2 tbsp
Extra virgin Olive Oil, 4 tbsp
Rosemary, Sage, Garlic
Vegetable stock, 8-10 cups at least

Let the vegetable stock boils and keep it warm.
Boil the potato, or cook it in the microwave.
Blend the potato and half the beans together with 3 cups of stock, until you obtain a cream.
In a big pot, over high heat, put the cream, the whole beans, the tomatoes, rosemary, sage, 1 clove of garlic and at least 3 more cups of stock.
As soon as the soup boils, add the farro and adjust with salt, turn heat to medium and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
If the soup becomes too thick, add warm stock, little by little.
Serve drizzled with olive oil and, if liked, with a pinch of black pepper.

martedì 9 dicembre 2008


main dish - first course

Carnaroli or Arborio rice, 1 cup
Zucchini, 3 medium, sliced
White wine, 1/4 cup
Onion, 1, finely chopped
Extravirgin olive oil, 2 tbsp
Grated parmesan, 2 tbsp
Mozzarella, 8 oz, sliced
Butter, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper (if you like it).

Put a big pot with water to boil, when ready add salt.
Preheat oven at 450.
Boil rice for 10-12 minutes (not more).
Meanwhile, put a big skillet with oil over medium/high heat and cook onions and zucchini until it's time to drain the rice.
Then add rice in the skillet, mix and cook for a couple of minutes, add nutmeg, salt, pepper and finally wine, let it evaporate and remove from heat.
Butter a baking pan and sprinkle with bread crumbs; layer rice, mozzarella, rice, finishing with grated parmesan.
Cook in the oven (covered with foil) for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

- If you like, you can use eggplants or cauliflowers instead of zucchini; you can also use a mix of vegetables.
- You can also use pasta instead of rice (obviously, you have to consider that cooking times should be half 4-5-5 minutes).
- You can also prepare this in advance (not suggested if you use pasta), and bake it just before lunch or dinner.

martedì 2 dicembre 2008



Mascarpone 2/8oz cups
Eggs 6
Sugar 6 tbsp
Ladyfinger 1 pckg (14 oz)
coffee (espresso is better 2-3)
salt, milk, rum or cognac (optional)
Cocoa powder if liked

First of all prepare the espresso (or the coffee) so it will become colder.
Divide the eggs: yolks in one big bowl and Whites in another one.
Put sugar in Yolks and whisk them until they become light yellow (near to white); at this point add Mascarpone and whisk to combine (usually 2 to 3 minutes).
Wash the whisk well and dry it. Add a pinch of salt to the whites (it will help you and you won't taste it). Whisk whites until they become white and firm.
Put whites into the yolks/mascarpone cream and combine CAREFULLY, REALLY CAREFULLY!
At this point put coffee in a bowl and add liquor if it's only for adults or milk if there are kids too.
Quickly dip ladyfingers in the coffee and make a first layer in a deep serving dish, then cover with cream, dust with cocoa and repeat another time.
Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Remeber that, due to the presence of raw eggs, it's preferable not to exceed with quantity and finish it quickly; this recipe is for about 10 people.