lunedì 26 marzo 2012


Appetizer - Gluten free

For Polenta
3 qt. water
1 lb. Italian corn flour for polenta
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Other ingredients:
Italian strained or crushed San Marzano
Italian dried balck olives (or green olives)
Marinated artichoke hearts, drained
Anchovy fillets
Dired Italian porcini mushrooms, soaked and cooked
Marinated eggplant, drained (or ready to go bruschetta topping)
Gorgonzola or other cheese
Cold cuts
Whatever else your fantasy and taste suggest you!!

Put a large pot with 3 qt. water to a boil.
When the water boils, add salt and slowly add polenta flour in a thin stream, whisking; reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes whisking frequently; reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 40-45 minutes, whisking occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Remember: polenta will never be overcooked.
In the meantime, prepare all other ingredients: cook tomato sauce, chop mozzarella, slice olives and artichokes, crumble or dice gorgonzola or other cheeses, and so on.
Take it out of the pot and pour it in a rectangular pan and let it coll down completely.
When cold, remove it from the pan, reversing it onto a large cutting borad, and cut into 1" slices.
Warm up a skillet or a griddle and brush it with olive oil: sautee polenta slices on both sides and arrange on a baking dish.
Preheat oven to 375.
Prepare your crostini: top each polenta slice with tomato sauce and the other ingredients, following your tastes.
Some examples: tomatoes, olives, mozzarella - tomatoes and gorgonzola - bruschetta topping - artichokes, ham and mozzarella - tomatoes and mushrooms - tomatoes and anchovy fillets.....
Broil your crostini for 5-10 minutes (or until mozzarella start getting golden) and serve immediately.

- You can make a whole gluten free "pizza" following the same process, just pour polenta in a round baking pan and, once cold, broil it to seal it. Then top with the other ingredients.
- It's perfect in a mixed appetizer.
- You can give your crostini the shape you want!!

lunedì 19 marzo 2012


Pasta - lactose intolerant safe

1 lb farfalle
1 big bunch of Italian parsley, leaves only
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp capers, packed in salt and rinsed
3 anchovy fillets
Very good Italian extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

In the meantime, wash parsley and arrange it in a blender with garlic, capers and anchovy fillets. Blend adding oil in a thin stream, until you obtain the consistency of pesto.

Add salt and pasta and cook for 8 minutes.

Drain, toss with the green sauce and serve immediately.

This recipe serves about 4.

- This recipe is superfast to prepare. It's not suggested to sprinkle with parmigiano.
- You can keep this sauce refrigerated (in a closed glass jar), covered with a thin layer of olive oil, for weeks. You can add a hard boiled egg, but it will shorten the sauce life a lot.
- This sauce is great with boiled (or grilled) meat, fish, eggs... all ingredients that can complement your dish.
- You can use anchovy paste (2 tsp) instead of the fillets, if you want. The quantities of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste.
- Do not add salt to this sauce.... there's enough salt provided by the ingredients!!!!

lunedì 12 marzo 2012


Entree - vegetarian

For the crepes:
2 eggs
1 cup 00 Italian flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter, melted

For the stuffing:
3 oz Italian dried porcini mushrooms
1 shallot, chopped
4 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

For the bechamel:
4 cups milk
4 tbsp flour
Salt and Nutmeg

Parmigiano reggiano, grated

First of all, soak mushrooms in lukewarm ater for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare bechamel. Warm up milk (this will speed up the preparation); in a saucepan with heavy bottom, arrange flour, salt and nutmeg. Add warm milk in a thin stream, whisking in order to avoid lumps; bring the saucepan to medium-low heat and stir constantly until the sauce thickens. COver with a lid and set aside.

Remove mushrooms from water, squeeze them to eliminate excess water and roughly chop them. In a skillet, warm olive oil, sautee shallot until it becomes slightly golden, then add mushrooms; season with salt and cook for about 15 minutes, sprinkle with parsley and set aside.

Prepare crepes: in a bowl beat eggs with all ingredients, until you obtain a smoothe batter. Warm a 7" non-stick skillet and grease it with a little olive oil. When warm, pour a ladle of the batter and tilt the skillet until all bottom is covered. When top side begins getting firm, flip it over and cook the other side. It usually doesn't take more than 2 minutes per side. Arrange it on a dish and repeat until you finish the batter.

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine half of the bechamel with the mushrooms and divide it among the crepes, fold them as you prefer.

Lightly grease a baking pan, layer some of the bechamel on the bottom, arrange the folded crepes and top with a layer of bechamel. Sprinkle with Parmigiano and bake for about 10-15 minutes.

This recipe serves 6-8 people.

- When you prepare bechamel, the warmer the milk, the faster the preparation.
- If you have crepes left (these quantities are for about 6 people), you can freeze them with parchment paper between them.
- If you have bechamel left, you can freeze it and use it at a later time.
- You can prepare more mushrooms and combine them with all the bechamel, giving your dish a more intense flavor.

lunedì 5 marzo 2012



1 cup 00 Italian flour
3/4 cup Italian polenta (corn flour)
2/3 cup sugar
7 oz butter, at room temperature
5 oz crunchy amaretti, finely crumbled
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 shotglass cognac (brandy, amaretto liqueur)

In a bowl, sift together 00 flour, polenta and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk soft butter with sugar, yolks, cognac and amaretti.

Slowly add the flours/baking powder mix and combine well.

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk egg whites until they form pick, then gently fold into the mixture, mixing from bottom to top.

Grease a 9" cake pan and lightly dust it with plain, fine breadcrumbs (the REAL Italian ones).

Pour batter into the cake and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Let cool down completely before serving it, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.

- If this cake goes to kids, also, substitute liqueur with milk
- It is easier to whisk egg whites if they are room temperature and you add a pinch of salt to them (you won't taste salt).
- It is easier to fold whisked whites if you begin incorporating a few tablespoons and, after they are well combined, add the remaining.