lunedì 26 ottobre 2009


Side dish - vegetarian

2 bags of fresh baby spinach
4 tbsp of roasted pinenuts
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Arrange spinach, pinenuts and onion in a big bowl and mix to combine.
In a separate bowl prepare a balsamic vinaigrette: combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and beat with a fork or a whisk for a few moments in order to obtain a thicker seasoning.
Season the salad with the vinaigrette and serve immediately. Serves 4.

To better combine the pinenuts, you can roughly chop half of them and mix the chopped ones into the vinaigrette.

lunedì 19 ottobre 2009


Second course - vegetarian

8 cups coarse salt
1 whole Sea Bream about 2 - 2 1/2 lbs.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pepper (optional)

Heat oven at 475F.
Pour half salt in a baking dish, place fish on top and cover with the remaining salt.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Remove from ove, gently crack the crust and transfer the fish to a serving dish, brushing off all the salt.
Open the fish, remove the fishbone, drizzle with a good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with pepper (if you want).
Serve it with roasted potatoes or toasted bread brushed with garlic (bruschetta-style) and a fresh green salad; in this way you'll have a complete meal.

If you carefully brush away the salt, the fish will result perfectly seasoned.

lunedì 12 ottobre 2009


(Bucatini Amatriciana style)
First course

1/2 lb Bucatini
2 oz pancetta, diced
2 big ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 tbsp pecorino romano, grated

Put a big pot (better taller than wider) with water to a boil.
In the meantime put a big non-stick skillet on high heat and saute the pancetta for about 2 minutes, than add wine and let the alcohol evaporate.
Add tomatoes, lower the heat to medium and cook for 5 more minutes.
When the water boils, add salt and pasta; cook for 8-10 minutes (depending on your taste but remember that "al dente" pasta is easier to digest than overcooked one).
Drain pasta and reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water; toss the pasta in the skillet with the sauce and sautee for a couple minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water.
Serve drizzled with grated pecorino romano.
This recipe serves 2 people.

Substitutions, in case you don't find the original ingredients

- 6 slices of thick, non-smoked bacon; just remember that it is fatter than pancetta so try to remove part of the fat before cooking it and drain part of the cooking one.
- 1/2 can of peeled tomatoes (diced) or crushed tomatoes
- Grated parmesan can work.

Theoretically, in Italy every sauce has its pasta shape but, in case you don't like it or you can't find it, you can use any shape you like.
This recipe has been created in Amatrice (hence the name) a town not too far away from Rome and calls for Guanciale (salted pork cheek), unfortunately not easy to found so you can use pancetta (or bacon in our case) without big problems.

domenica 4 ottobre 2009


First course - vegetarian

1 1/2 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
2 cups butternut squash (or other pumpkin), diced
1 leek (white part only) or 1 small onion, minced
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (at least)
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp ricotta (or cream cheese)
4 tbsp parmesan, grated

Put the stock to a boil, remember that's always better a little more that not enough.
In the mean time put a big, non-stick skillet over medium heat and warm the oil; when ready, add the leeks (or onion) and sautee until tender.
Add squash or pumpkin and stir to combine, cook about 2-3 minutes, then add rice and sautee a couple minutes, always stirring: heat must be medium-high and the rice must become translucent; now it's the time to add wine.
As soon as it evaporates, start adding the stock (that must be boiling, otherwise it stops the rice cooking) 1/3 cup at a time; wait until the stock has been absorbed before adding some more.
Stir often to prevent sticking. When rice is "al dente", after 15/18 minutes, add the ricotta (or the cream cheese), melted in a little quantity of milk, and the parmesan.
You should use butter instead of ricotta or cream cheese, this variation is used to give a creamy texture without exceeding with calories or cholesterol.

Don't be afraid of the wine content: the alcohol will evaporate cooking, leaving just the wine flavor.