martedì 27 maggio 2014

How to prepare Italian pasta with puttanesca sauce

Here is our new video recipe.... sorry for the delay but this was a long weekend of relax!!! We hope you'll try it, I'm sure you'll like it!!! And, we DO sell all the ingredients listed, except for the fresh garlic


Pasta Entree or first course - Vegetarian - Vegan - Lactose free - Gluten free (READ notes below)

1 lb Italian shells (conchiglie)
1 14-oz can Italian San Marzano peeled tomatoes DOP, roughly chopped
1/3 cup Italian dried black olives
1 tbsp Italian capers, packed in salt and rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled and quartered
1 pinch of hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
Italian coarse sea salt

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

In the meantime, in a large non-stick skillet, warm up the olive oil and sautee garlic until golden, the add tomatoes, olives, capers and hot pepper flakes and simmer for 10 minutes or until it starts thickening.

When water starts boiling, add salt, then add pasta and stir, cover with a lid until it resumes boiling, stirring pasta to avoid sticking to each other too much.

When pasta is close to "al dente" (about 5-7 minutes for this shape), drain and transfer to the skillet with your sauce and sautee, stirring , for another couple of minutes. This way your pasta will absorb the sauce flavor, getting much better.

This recipe serves 5-6, depending on whatelse is served.

- Always use capers packed in salt and rinsed: this way you'll get only their flavor instead of brine/vinegar flavor. Sicilian ones are the best: the once from Pantelleria are on top!!!
- Try to use only Italian San Marzano tomatoes: they are the best!
- This recipe should be made with a long cut pasta, but I love this one because of the way it holds sauce!
- There are 2 versions of this recipe: one from Naples (the one I'm posting) and one from Lazio, that adds anchovies. Both of them can be finished with a touch of freshly chopped parsley.
- It's vegetarian, vegan, lactose free. It can be gluten free if you use gluten free pasta.

lunedì 19 maggio 2014

How to prepare the real Tuscan Panzanella

Here is our new video recipe: perfect for summer days!!!!!!!! Have fun and enjoy it!!


Salad or appetizer or entree - Lactose free - Vegetarian and vegan

Old bread, at least 2 days old and dry
2 ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced
1/2 big red onion, sliced
5-6 fresh basil leaves
High quality Italian wine vinegar (red or white)
High quality Italian extra virgin olive oil
Water and salt

This is the recipe for the REAL Tuscan panzanella, a peasant dish created by farmers to use old bread that could not be given to farm animals. There are very little ingredients, bread has to be old (not croutons or anything similar), vinegar is wine vinegar and not balsamic that was not used in Tuscany.

In a big bowl arrange water and wine vinegar. Soak bread in it (you should use ciabatta, preferably, or Italian round, Pugliese or Tuscan artisan breads).

In a separate bowl, the one you'll be serving you salad in, arrange tomatoes and onions, season with oil and salt and stir to comabine all ingredients.

Remove bread from water and squeeze it carefully, then crumble it with your vegetables.

Hand chop basil and drizzle with some more olive oil. Toss to combine nicely.

Refrigerate until it's time to serve.

- I haven't mentioned most of the quantities because it's up to personal taste and liking.
- The use of very high quality (like our Italian vinegars and olive oils) is mandatory in order to obtain a good result, when there are so few ingredients.
- Basil should never be washed: to clean it, just use a damp cloth or paper towel. Also, it should not be chopped: anytime you can, just break leaves with your hands.
- Vinegar in the water is used to add flavor to a bread that (in Italy) does not contain salt and doesn't have much flavor.
- This is the summer paesant dish involving old bread, the winter one is a soup called ribollita.
- Because it's a peasant dish, no other ingredients were used (only the ones available at the farm): to make it a complete dish, you can add tuna or hard boiled eggs; people also add cucumbers.

lunedì 12 maggio 2014

How to prepare Italian Sofficini (fried pockets)

Here is our new weekly video recipe: written version is in the post here below!!!


Appetizer or entree - Can be vegetarian (READ notes at bottom)

For the dough:
1 cup Italian 00 flour
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt

For stuffing:
Ham, cheese, tomato sauce, mushrooms, bechamel (and more)

For finishing:
Oil to fry
NON-flavored, fine breadcrumbs
2 eggs

Prepare the stuffing ingredients that need to cool down to room temperature.

Soak a handful of Italian dried porcini in lukewarm water for 20 minutes and slice white mushrooms; warm some Italian extra virgin olive oil, sautee white mushrooms and porcini (squeezed) and add the soaking water, carefully strained (this will give more flavor to your white mushrooms). Simmer util cooked, set aside.

For the tomato sauce, warm up a little Italian extra virgin olive oil, sautee a clove of garlic and add 2 cups crushed Italian San Marzano tomatoes, simmer until it thickens, add some basil and set aside.

Prepare bechamel, if you don't have it ready, with 1 cup milk, salt, nutmeg and flour. Warm up milk; In a little saucepan, on medium heat, put 1 big spoonful of flour, a pinch of salt and nutmeg, slowly add the warm milk whisking to prevent knots. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously (to prevent sticking on bottom), remove from heat as soon as it thickens, and set aside, covered, to prevent film on top

In a heavy bottom saucepan, warm up milk with butter and salt. Just before boiling, turn off the heat and throw flour in, all at once.

Stir with a wooden spoon since it will become hard to work! Set aside to cool down.

In the meantime, prepare the remaining stuffing ingredients.

Dice or roughly chop cheese (I used a mix of Italian provolone and swiss cheese. Roghly chop or strip ham.

When dough has cooled down enough to be handled, start kneading it: it will really soft and sticky so keep flour handy: you'll need it! Try to keep you hands and working surface floured to avoid excessive sticking. Knead until you obtain a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes. (Check our video, link at the end, for reference)

On a floured surface, knead the dough a little more and roll it out to a 1/8" thick. Cut in rounds and stuff them all with cheese and bechamel and one of the other ingredients. Fold and seal the sofficini in a half moon shape, which is the traditional shape. Otherwise, shape them as you prefer: triangles, rectangles, rounds....

Warm up oil (olive or sunflower oil), beat eggs with a little milk, immerse sofficini in eggs, dredge in breadcrumbs and fry until golden on both sides.

Lay on paper towels to absorb excess oil, and serve immediately.

The quantity listed for the dough will make about 10-15 medium sofficini.

- They can be served as appetizer or entree
- It can be vegetarian (DON'T use ham).
- You can stuff them with many other items: marinated artichoke hearts (well drained), spinach and more. You haveto remember bechamel and cheese are necessary to have a creamy stuffing.

lunedì 5 maggio 2014

How to prepare cold stuffed tomatoes

Here is our weekly video recipe, perfect for summer days, given the fact that no cooking is required!!!


Entree or appetizer - Lactose and gluten free - Can be vegeterian (READ notes at bottom)

6 medium tomatoes, ripe but firm
1 can Italian tuna in olive oil, drained and crushed
1 cup peas
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 tbsp Italian capers, packed in salt, rinsed
1-2 tsp Italian anchovy paste

Cut off the top of the tomatoes and set it aside. Remove the inner pulp (save it for future use, like a quick tomato sauce), and lay tomatoes cutside-down on a colander in order to lose its water.

Soak capers in water for 10 minutes. This is necessary in order to remove some salt, given the fact that they're not cooked.

Thaw peas under running hot water. Roughly chop artichoke hearts and capers, crush tuna with a fork; transfer all of them to a big bowl.

In a small bowl, dissolve anchovy paste in a small quantity of mayonnaise, then add to the bigger bowl, mix and add enough mayonnaise to coat evenly.

Stuff tomatoes with this mixture, cover with the "lid" and refrigerate until it's time to serve (a couple of hours, at least)

This recipe serves 3-6 depending on whatelse is served.

- It's lactose and gluten free (when you use gluten free pasta instead of farro)
- It can be vegetarian, provided that you don't use anchovy paste and tuna.
- It can be prepared in advance, even the day before, just keep them in an airtight container (or wrapped with plastic wrap).