lunedì 27 ottobre 2014

Informal Italian cooking class

A few photos of our last informal cooking class


Entree - Vegetarian

For the dough:
300 gr. Italian semola rimacinata (milled twice)
300 gr. Italian 00 flour
6 extra large eggs

For the sauce:
18 whole walnuts, roughly chopped
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1/3 cup milk
Italian extra virgin olive oil
Chopped fresh sage (4-5 leaves)
Italian seas salt

To minimize cleaning arrange flour in a bowl, create a “well” in the middle and place eggs in it. Working with a fork, mix flour and eggs enough to be able to transfer “crumbles” on a lightly floured surface without messing your kitchen too much. Knead, until you obtain a smooth dough, at least 10 minutes: the time depends also on the quantity of pasta you're preparing. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Flour gets “stressed” when you knead it and if you don't allow it to rest, it will compromise the results.

While your dough rests, prepare the sauce.

On medium-high heat, warm olive oil in a non-stick skillet and sautee sage and walnuts for a couple of minutes. Dilute ricotta with milk, then stir it in the skillet and simmer for 5-10 more minutes. Set aside.

Cover your working surface (usually I work on my table) with an old but clean tablecloth, one of those you won't use anymore.

Cut a slice from the dough and flatten it so that it will fit through the rollers of a hand-cranked pasta machine. Set rollers at widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 2 or 3 times, folding and turning pasta until it's smooth. Arrange the pasta sheet on the cloth. Roll pasta sheets through the machine, decreasing the setting, one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta), passing all sheets through the same notch before decreasing it, until you reach your desired thickness. Let pasta dry for about 10-15 minutes, flipping it once or twice.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Now feed your dough through the fettuccine attachment and spread them on the cloth, to allow a little more drying time.

When water boils, add salt then your handmade fettuccine and stir immediately.

Pasta will cook in about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness. Pull it out of the cooking water and transfer it directly into the skillet with sauce, toss to coat on medium heat, adding a few tbsp of cooking water, if needed.

This recipe serves 6

- In the photos you'll actually see pappardelle, you can easily obtain them by loosely rolling the sheets and cutting them wider than fettuccine (about 1" wide). Unroll immediately and set to dry.
- In a more humid climate you may need more than 10-15 minutes of drying time before you cut into fettuccine.
- Given the presence of ricotta, I would not use Parmigiano, but that's up to you.

lunedì 20 ottobre 2014

How to prepare Italian Apple fritters

And here is the video to our weekly recipe, the written version is here below


Dessert - Vegetarian (can be vegan, lactose and gluten free - READ notes at bottom)

This recipe is the result of FRIENDSHIP!! Our friends Sally and Brenda gave us the apples and our friend Simo gave us the recipe! Thanks to all of you!!!!

1 to 4 apples, depending on the size
100 gr Italian 00 flour (1 scant cup)
40 gr. sugar (about 4 tbsp)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk, be flexible with the quantity
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 tsp baking powder
Italian extra virgin olive oil to fry

Peel, core and thinly slice apples, then arrange in a bowl with the lemon juice; stir to coat all the slices, to prevent them form darkening.

In a large bowl, stir all dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and grated lemon zest), then add the egg and enough milk to obtain a smooth, thick batter. Add apples with the lemon juice and adjust with milk, if batter is too thick (refer to our video to check on the batter thickness).

Refrigerate until oil gets to the right frying temperature.

Spoon apple batter in the oil 4-5 fritters at a time, so the temperature won't drop too much. Turn them a couple of times until they are golden on both sides. Remove and line on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

These quantities made 20 medium fritters. The actual quantity will depend on how big you'll make them.

- Remember to adjust the heat underneath your oil because it will get warmer with time, resulting in "burned outside" and "not cooked inside" fritters.
- If you want to use cinnamon, don't use lemon and add a pinch of it to the dry ingredients: a pinch, not a truck load... it's supposed to enhance apple flavor, not cover it.
- you can rol them in sugar, or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, or leave them as they are.
- It's vegetarian.
- Use lactose free milk for intolerance, or if you are vegan (avoid the egg and use a little more milk).
- Try using almond flour, if you're celiac; you may need to adjust liquid ingredients quantities, given the different consistency of the flour.
- You can find our video here

lunedì 13 ottobre 2014


Side dish - Vegetarian/Vegan - Lactose and Gluten free - Perfect for diet!

4 Zucchini
1 bunch parsley, leaves only
3 tbsp Italian extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch Italian sea salt

Thinly slice, better with a mandoline so all your slices will be at same thickness, all your zucchini.

In a large non-stick skillet warm the olive oil on medium-high heat, and saute the zucchini slices until tender. Stir occasionally to prevent from sticking to the bottom and season with salt.

While zucchini cook, roughly chop parsley and, when zucchini are ready, sprinkle them with it.

Serve immediately.

- At the end some slices will be more golden than other: it's normal!
- Given the very short ingredients' list, use onlivery HIGH quality ones, like our olive oils and sea salt; and try to get your zucchini at the farmers' markets if you can: they are way more flavorful!!!
- They are perfect also at room temperature!

lunedì 6 ottobre 2014


Entree or appetizer - Gluten free - Vegetarian (READ notes below)

4 Red, orange or yellow bell peppers, or a mix of them
1 container ricotta cheese, well drained
6 oz prosciutto, chopped
1/2 cup Parmigiano, grated
1 1/2 cup Italian strained San Marzano tomatoes
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
Italian sea salt

Cut bell peppers in half, lengthwise, then remove seeds and inner ribbings.

In a big bowl mix ricotta, prosciutto, parmigiano, parsley, nutmeg and season with salt. Stuff your bell peppers with this mixture.

Put a large saucepan with lid on medium-high heat and warm up the strained tomatoes (with some herbs, if you like) and cook the stuffed bell peppers in that sauce. Cover with the lid, and simmer until bell peppers are tender.

This recipe serves 4-8, depending on what else is served.

- You can cook them in the oven, too, if you like it.
- You can substitute prosciutto with ham, if you prefer it.
- 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.
- It's gluten free and, if prosciutto is left out, it's vegetarian.