lunedì 27 dicembre 2010


Entree - complete meal

2 lbs clams
1 lb linguine
1/2 green beans, cut into 1" long pieces
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp pesto

Bring a tall pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, warm 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and clams, cover with lid and cook until clams open; discard closed ones. Remove them from the skillet and shell half of them and keep warm. Reserve a cup of the clams water, after having carefully filtered it, through a fine strain, in order to remove sand and shell pieces.

Once the water boils, add salt and green beans and, when water starts boiling again, add pasta.

Put all clams back in the previous skillet (on low heat), drain pasta with the green beans and arrange it in the skillet drizzle with the remaining olive oil and mix well to combine; add pesto and remove from heat. Toss well to coat all ingredients; if it is too thick, use the clams water, little by little, to thin it.

Serve immediately.

-If you don't find fresh clams, you can use frozen ones.

domenica 19 dicembre 2010


Soup - vegetarian - lactose intolerant and celiacs safe

1 lb white mushrooms
1.5 oz Italian dried porcini mushrooms
2 medium potatoes
1 clove garlic
1 small onion
1 rosemary sprig, leaves only
3 sage leaves
2 tbsp extra virign olive oil
6 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth

Put broth in a saucepan, warm it up and keep it warm.

Soak dried porcini in lukewarm water for 20 minutes.

In the mean time, peel and dice potatoes; arrange onion, garlic, rosemary and sage and finely mince them; dice whit mushrooms.

In a large saucepan with lid, on medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and sautee the onion mixture until onion are lightly golden, then add the white mushrooms and mix to combine.

Remove porcini from water and squeeze them; carefully filter water, in order to remove all impurities, and set it aside. If needed, cut the bigger slices of the porcini mushrooms, add them to the saucepan, mix well and sautee for 2 minutes.

Now add the mushrooms' water and about 4 cups of the warm broth. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to minimum, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Adjust with salt, if needed.

Blend half of the mushrooms and all the potatoes (if you can find them all, it's not mandatory) until you obtain a smooth cream.

Put it back in the saucepan, on the stove, and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve immediately, in individual bowls, with bread croutons and drizzled with some really good extra virgin olive oil.

- If the soup is too thick, use some of the warm broth left in order to thin it.

- If you want, you can cook pasta in it (tubetti is the best cut to be used in soups): in this case you will need to add some of the reserved broth.

- If you like, you sprinkle the soup with a little bit of good Parmigiano, just a little otherwise it will cover the mushrooms' delicate flavor.

domenica 12 dicembre 2010


Dessert - vegetarian

2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp Italian 00 flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese, divided in 2 equal parts
1/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate
chocolate/vanilla lady fingers
whipped cream and chocolate chips to decorate

First of all prepare the custard: in a heavy bottomed casserole combine flour and sugar and mix, add eggs and start whisking; while whisking, pour milk in a gentle stream until all ingredients are well combined.

Put casserole on medium heat and, constantly stirring, warm until it starts boiling; at that moment remove from heat and divide in two parts. Add chocolate to one of them and mix well until chocolate is melted and well combined.

Set custards aside to cool down; stir them occasionally to prevent film on top.

When they're cold, stir mascarpone in both custards.

Prepare 6 individual bowls: layer 2 ladyfingers on the bottom (dipped in whatever liquid you like), top with one custards, 2 more ladyfingers and finish with the other custard.

Decorate with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Serve immediately.

This recipe serves 6.

- Liquids to be used: milk, coffee, liqueur, hot chocolate (only after it cooled down)
- If you warm up the milk, the custard will be ready in a shorter time
- If you want to prepare this dessert in advance, don't decorate it, cover with plastic wrap (custard absorbs odors) and keep it in the fridge; decorate immediately before serving it.
- You can serve these custards with pandoro (typical Italian Christmas cake): place a slice on a plate and arrange custards on both sides of it, top with either chocolate chips or powdered sugar or cocoa powder or melted hot chocolate....

domenica 5 dicembre 2010


Rice entrée - Vegetarian - celiac safe

1 1/4 cup Carnaroli rice
1 14oz. can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 lb savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
6 cups vegetable broth
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Bring broth to a boil; then lower heat to simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, warm the extra virgin olive oil and sautee onions until they are translucent; now stir in rice, sautee for about 2 minutes, until translucent.

Add wine and, when it's evaporated, add about 1/2 cup of boiling broth.

Cook for about 15 minutes, adding boiling broth little by little and stirring frequently and add the beans; keep cooking for about 5 more minutes (depending on your taste) always adding boiling broth little by little and stirring frequently.

Remove from heat, stir in parmigiano and serve immediately!!

This recipe serves 4.

- If you don't like sliced cabbage and/or onions, you can roughly chop them.

- You can use low fat (or fat free) cream cheese to give your risotto a creamier texture.

- Carnaroli is the best rice for risotto, less starchy than arborio but easier to cook: it doesn't overcook too easily.