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Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Chicken with an agrodulce sauce

A quick and healthy Italian-style sweet & sour dish for midweek. We weren’t completely sure about the celery but it smells amazing in the pan with the red onions and tastes perfect in the finished dish. Serve with new potatoes and a green salad or steamed tenderstem broccoli.

Wine Suggestion: We served this with a fuller Italian white, the l’Insolito by Michele Biancardi from Puglia. This is made from Minitolo which used to be thought of as a sub-variety of Fiano. Honeysuckle and white flower aromatics are tempered by a good citrus twist … sort of like the agrodulce.

Chicken with Agrodolce Sauce – serves 2

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp flour, well-seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • a small handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover the 4 pieces of chicken with baking paper and flatten gently with a rolling pin. Dust the chicken pieces with the seasoned flour shaking off any excess.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the chicken really well, then remove from the pan. Throw the onion and celery into the pan now and cook for about 3 minutes, then season. Add the tomatoes and cook for another few minutes or until they start to break down, then add the vinegar and sugar.

Return the chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through, then stir in the parsley.

Serve with green salad or steamed broccoli and some new potatoes if you like.

(Original recipe by Jennifer Joyce IN: BBC Olive Magazine, April 2009.)

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Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

Easy, tasty, prawns, chilli & spaghetti 🙂

Wine Suggestion: A great match was the Biancardi Solo Fiano from Puglia which was aromatic, floral and vibrantly fresh.

Spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola – serves 4

  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 dried chillies, crumbled (or you could use a tsp of chilli flakes)
  • 400g raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 small wineglass of wine – about 175ml
  • 2 heaped tbsp of sun-dried tomato purée or 6 sun-dried tomatoes blitzed in a blender
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 handfuls of rocket, roughly chopped

Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and chilli.

When the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns and sauté for a minute, then add the wine and tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a little bit of cooking water.

Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, the lemon juice and half the chopped rocket and season to taste (add a bit of the pasta water at this stage if needed).

Divide between plates and scatter with rocket and lemon zest before serving.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

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Sausages and green lentils with tomato salsa

Italian-style comfort food with honest, rustic flavours. Generous portions of deliciousness and tastes even better on the second day. Do seek out proper Italian sausages if you can – some of them are gluten-free as well for our coeliac friends.

Wine Suggestion: playing on the rustic theme works well by looking for an earthy wine match, you also need a bit of acidity which you can often find in Italian wines. We’ve successfully tried some cheaper Rosso Conero from the Marche made from Montepulciano and simple Chianti made from Sangiovese. Alternately the Insoglio del Cinghiale from the Maremma steps it up a notch, and then a step further the Pira Luigi Serralunga Barolo.

Salsicce con lenticchie verdi e salsa de pomodoro – serves 4

  • 8 good-quality Italian sausages
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • 500g purple-sprouting broccoli or cima di rapa
  • juice of ½ a lemon

FOR THE SALSA ROSSA:

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small stick of cinnamon
  • 1-2 small dried red chillies, crumbled
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes

FOR THE LENTILS:

  • 400g Puy lentils or lentichhie di Castelluccio
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped and stalks reserved
  • red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • a small handful of thyme tips

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Start with the salsa by heating some oil in a saucepan and cooking the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and chilli over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft. Turn up the heat and add the red wine vinegar, then turn the heat to low and add the tinned tomatoes (chop them up with you hands or with a wooden spoon). Simmer the sauce slowly for about half an hour while you cook the lentils.

Put the lentils into a large pot, cover with water and add the whole cloves of garlic, the bay leaf and the parsley stalks (tied together so they’re easy to remove at the end). Simmer for about 20 minutes, checking to make sure the liquid still covers the lentils. Check regularly near the end of the cooking time to make sure they don’t overcook.

Toss the sausages in a small bit of olive oil and bake in a roasting tray for about 25 minutes until golden.

When the sausages are cooked either boil or steam the broccoli until cooked, then drain and toss with some lemon juice, good olive oil and seasoning.

Fish the parsley stalks and bay leaves out of the cooked lentils and pour off most of the water. Mash the garlic cloves with a spoon and mix into the lentils with 4 tbsp of good olive oil and 1 to 2 tbsp of vinegar. Stir in the chopped parsley, then mix and season.

Pour away any fat from the sausages and slice thickly.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the salsa and season well.

Put the lentils onto plates, spoon over the salsa and top with the sliced sausages. Sprinkle with the thyme tips and serve with the broccoli.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2005.)

 

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Spaghetti with walnuts, raisins & parsley

A simple weeknight dish with very few ingredients. Typical of the type of dish we have at the end of the week when we’re determined to use what we’ve got without having to return to the shops.

Spaghetti with Walnuts, Raisins & Parsley – serves 4

  • 300g spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 5 tbsp raisins or sultanas
  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 5 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • small bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the pack.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions for 8 to 10 minutes or until soft and golden brown. Add the raisins and stock and cook for a few minutes until hot through. Toss with the pasta, Parmesan, walnuts and parsley.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chianti-baked Meatballs

These smell delicious even before they go into the oven. Serve with top-quality pasta like our favourite, Martelli from Panzano in Tuscany, or potatoes roasted with rosemary.

Wine Suggestion: naturally this goes with Chianti, but feel free to adventure a bit further if you like as a good Brunello with a bit of age will make this feel a bit special despite the humble ingredients. Don’t use your best wine in the sauce though; we used a nice, but inexpensive Bordeaux which had good fruit and tannin.

Chianti-baked Meatballs – serves 4

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • 500g beef mince
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 50g black olives, stoned and chopped
  • 50g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped parsley

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250ml Chianti (or other red wine)
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • a large handful of basil, chopped

Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl – the easiest way is to use clean hands. When everything is mixed together really well, wet your hands and roll into small or large meatballs (aim for 12 large meatballs or 20 small ones).

Gently toss the meatballs in 2tbsp of olive oil in an ovenproof shallow casserole or roasting tray. Try to find one that is just big enough to fit the meatballs but not so they are squashed together.

Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, then pour over the wine and turn the meatballs over to make sure they are coated. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar and basil, then cook for another 20-25 minutes or until bubbling and thickened.

Serve with pasta or roast potatoes with rosemary.

(Original recipe by Jo Pratt in BBC Olive Magazine, March 2007.)

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Italian Baked Rice

We vowed to set Jamie’s 5 Ingredients book aside for a while but we keep coming back to it – this time as we only needed to pick up one ingredient. This is definitely not conventional cooking as we know it but it works, and we’re continually surprised by what read like pretty ordinary dishes. This makes a great midweek meal served with a rocket salad but would also be a good side for roast or barbecued meat.

Wine Suggestion: What you choose may depend on if there’s meat being cooked too, but we ate this initially on its own so went for the Dog Point Chardonnay which was both rich and round as well as fresh and vibrant; perfect.

Italian Baked Rice – serves 4

  • 2 onions, peeled, quartered and divided into petals
  • 60g fennel salami
  • 300g Arborio rice
  • 1 heaped tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 40g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.

Put a large shallow casserole over a high heat. Throw the onion petals into the pan and char for about 4 minutes, tossing regularly.

Reduce the heat to medium and stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil and the salami, then the rice and cook for 1 minute. Add 1.2 litres of boiling kettle water and the mascarpone, then stir in the Parmesan with some sea salt and black pepper.

Bake the rice in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and is just cooked through. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and season to taste before serving.

(Original recipe from 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, Michael Joseph, 2017.)

 

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Winter minestrone

We’re never in our own house for Christmas as we travel up north to be with family. That doesn’t stop us on insisting that the stock left in the pot in which the ham was cooked, goes into the freezer ready for us to take home and make minestrone with. The perfect foil for all the over-indulgence in the days preceding.

Winter Minestrone – serves 6

  • 500g cavolo nero, remove any thicker stalks and shred thickly
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced, with a few leaves
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g pumpkin/squash flesh, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
  • 1 potato
  • 400g cooked white beans – we used a tin of cannellini beans
  • 1.5 litres of ham stock, water or bean broth (if you’ve cooked dried beans)
  • A parmesan rind (always good to keep in the fridge to add extra depth of flavour to soups)
  • A small sprig of sage
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Wash the cavolo nero, strip any particularly thick stems from the leaves and roughly chop. Roll up the leaves and shred thickly.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan and slowly fry the onion and celery with a pinch of salt, until soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the pumpkin/squash to the pan along with the cavolo nero stems and a tiny pinch of salt, stirring until each chunk glistens with oil. Add half the cavolo nero leaves, half the beans, the water and the parmesan rind.

Turn up the heat so the soup is almost boiling, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Five minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the rest of the cavolo nero and beans. Taste and season, then add the chopped sage. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then serve with some freshly grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe by Rachel Roddy in The Guardian24th November 2017.)

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