Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Walnut Pesto

We first tasted walnut pesto in Florence a few years ago but it has taken us a while to get around to making it ourselves. This works equally well for a casual dinner or in smaller portions as a starter and it tastes really special. You can make this with fresh walnuts which you buy whole and shell yourself but it also works well with shelled walnuts, provided you make sure they are fresh (we buy our walnuts from Lidl which come in a sealed foil bag). You can keep the pesto in the fridge for up to a week and it freezes well too.

Wine Suggestion: we like to drink dry white wines that have texture and a certain crunchiness with walnuts, which aren’t always easy to match. Italian whites come to mind first and the nutty ones work very well, like Verdicchio, but it has been dry (sec) Jurançon that has proved a stellar match, like Cauhapé’s Chants des Vignes. A wine with a vibrancy of fruit, a fresh acidity like a crunchy green and red apple mix, some white flowers in the aromas and a texture on the palate that carries through with a long length and food friendly finish.

Pasta with creamy walnut pesto – serves 4 (with some pesto left over)

  • 400g orecchiette pasta
  • 175g walnut halves/pieces
  • handful fresh basil, roughly torn
  • 100g Parmesan, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
  • 50g butter
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 50ml double cream

Cook the pasta for the recommended time on the packet.

Meanwhile, put the walnuts and garlic in a food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Add the basil, cheese, butter and oil and pulse for a few more times, then season.

Pour the cream into a pan and warm through. Add tw0-thirds of the pesto, then gently heat to loosen it.

Take 2 tbsp of water out of the pasta pan before draining, then mix the pasta and the water into the sauce. Serve immediately with some extra Parmesan and a few basil leaves.

(Original recipe by Ursula Ferringo in BBC Good Food Magazine, April 2009.)

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Summer risotto

On a balmy summer evening we podded local broad beans and picked some french beans from the vines in our back yard. We used a stock made from a previously roasted chicken which was subsequently used to poach chicken fillets for a Coronation Chicken. The only thing out of place were the frozen peas, but we think unless you pick the pods fresh and eat them almost immediately, frozen is often best. This is based on a risotto primavera or Spring risotto which usually contains asparagus.

Wine Suggestion: a fresh, summery Godello caught our eye. The La Sonrisa de Tares from Bierzo had enough weight to balance the starchy creaminess and depth of the Parmesan while a lovely textural freshness and summery zing made the beans and peas sing with all their fresh flavours.

Summer Risotto – serves 4

  • 200g shelled broad beans (you will need about 800g of broad beans in their pods to get this quantity or you can use frozen broad beans, defrosted)
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 250g green beans, trimmed and cut into short lengths
  • 1.5 litres home-made chicken stock (you might not need it all)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 80g butter
  • 350g Carnaroli or other risotto rice
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 100g Parmesan, finely grated

Start by double podding the broad beans so you are left with bright green beans. To do this just blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and squeeze to remove the papery skin. If you’re using frozen beans you might be able to remove the skins when defrosted without having to blanch first.

Put the stock into a large pot and bring to a simmer.

Heat the oil and 40g butter in a wide heavy pan with a lid. Cook the shallot, scallions & garlic for a few minutes until soft and transparent but don’t let them brown. Add the rice and keep stirring for a few minutes until the rice is hot and starting to sizzle, then pour in the wine. Continue to stir until the wine has evaporated.

Now start gradually adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Only add another ladleful when the previous one has been absorbed by the rice. Continue stirring and adding the stock for 14 minutes, then add the broad beans and peas with some salt and black pepper. Meanwhile, cook the green beans in the simmering stock for 6 minutes or until soft, then add these to the rice too. Continue stirring and adding stock until the risotto has a creamy texture and the rice is soft but retains a little bite.

Remove the pan from the heat and add half the parmesan, the rest of the butter and one last splash of stock to retain the moisture. Put the lid on the pan and leave to rest for a few minutes off the heat. Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Read Full Post »

Spaghetti al cartoccio

This starter portion of pasta is perfect for entertaining as it can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and finished off in the oven when required. We had this as a second course after broad bean bruschetta and followed by barbecued balsamic beef and then home-made ice cream and summer berry compote for dessert.

Wine Suggestion: lovely with a slightly chilled red, and naturally, given the inspiration from the food we’d suggest Italian. A light, lively, youthful and fruity Sangiovese hits the spot in the form of a Rocca delle Macie Chianti Vernaiolo given 30-40 minutes in the fridge before serving; chilled but not ice cold. The fresh acidity works perfectly with the fresh tomatoes and olives and the combination speaks to us of summer.

Pasta al Cartoccio – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 450g ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 280g dried spaghetti
  • 100g large black olives
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper, about 30x20cm.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat, add the garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove the garlic, then add the tomatoes and chilli and season well. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring now and then.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan oven 180C.

Cook the spaghetti in salted water for half the time given on the pack, then drain well.

Add the olives and half the parsley to the tomato sauce and stir in the pasta. Taste and season to taste.

Divide the spaghetti between the pieces of paper, piling it into the middle of each. Scrunch the edges of each parcel  to seal tightly. Put the parcels in a roasting tin and bake for 7 minutes after which time the spaghetti should be al dente.

Remove the tin from the oven and transfer each parcel to a warm plate. Let everyone open their own parcels and sprinkle the spaghetti with the remaining parsley and some parmesan.

(Original recipe by Ursula Ferrigno in BBC Good Food, August 2001.)

Read Full Post »

Rick Stein’s Venetian Bolognese Ragú

We ♥ Pasta!

Wine Suggestion: We often advise to serve food with wine from the same region as they tend to naturally complement each other. This is never more the case than with Italian reds and tomato-based sauces. Italian red wines, such as Sangiovese, are high in acidity and are a perfect match for acidic tomato sauce; so find a good Sangiovese as you’ll need one for this recipe anyway – and it would be plain wrong not to drink the rest.

Ragù Bolognese – serves 6-8 

  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 300g beef mince
  • 300g pork mince
  • 100g lean smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 15 turns black pepper
  • 100ml Sangiovese wine
  • 60ml water
  • 500ml passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • cooked tagliatelle & freshly grated Parmesan to serve

In a heavy-based saucepan, fry the celery, carrots and onion in the olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Add the beef, pork and bacon and brown. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the wine, water, passata, tomato puree and rosemary. Cook, covered, over a low heat for about 2 hours.

Serve with the cooked pasta and freshly grated Parmesan.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Venice to Istanbul, Penguin, 2015.)

Read Full Post »

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A classic recipe that we always find full of flavour and very satisfying. A good veggie dish for a cold night.

Spinach & ricotta cannelloni – serves 4

  • 60g butter, plus a bit extra
  • 300g spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 425g ricotta cheese, drained
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 16 dried cannelloni tubes
  • 45g plain flour
  • 450ml whole milk
  • 40g Grana Padano cheese (or use Parmesan)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Grease a medium-sized, shallow, oven-proof dish with a little butter.

Bring a large pan, containing 1cm depth of water, to the boil, add the spinach, and stir until wilted. Drain and press out the excess water, then chop.

Melt 15g of the butter in a medium pan and sauté the garlic for a couple of minutes. Stir in the spinach and season well. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and nutmeg. Fill the cannelloni with the spinach mixture and arrange the tubes in a single layer in your buttered dish (use both ends of a teaspoon to help fill the tubes).

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 45g of butter in a large pan. Whisk in the flour over a low heat and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce generously with salt and pepper and pour over the filled cannelloni tubed. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

Read Full Post »

Beef shin braised in Chianti

Take a shin of beef and braise it for hours in a bottle of Chianti until it can be carved with a spoon … what’s not to like!

Wine Suggestion: the obvious choice is Chianti but given the richness and depth in the food make sure it is one with a bit of depth; younger, or more basic Chianti is just too light. We tried one by Tenuta Sant’Alfonso which comes from a specific vineyard with clay-rich soils which was opulent and fuller structured. It had licorice, dark cherry and mocha flavours which was a great match.

Tuscan slow-cooked shin of beef with Chianti – serves 6

  • 1kg beef shin, off the bone
  • olive oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely sliced
  • 750ml Chianti or other robust red wine
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 150ml beef stock

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.

Season the meat, then brown in a large casserole with a little olive oil.

Remove the meat and cook the onions, celery, carrot and garlic until softened, adding a bit more oil if needed.

Pour in the wine and bring to the boil before adding the tomato purée, bay leaves & beef stock.

Return the beef to the pan and bring to a simmer.

Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 4 hours or until the meat falls apart.

When ready, pull the meat into chunks and stir through the sauces.

Serve with mash or fresh pappardelle pasta.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, September 2015.)

Read Full Post »

Penne alla norma

We love Rick Stein’s recipes as everything seems to come from true inspiration and has been tested in a real world kitchen so it all works. This recipe is no exception and delivers in flavour and balance perfectly.

Pasta alla Norma is traditionally made with spaghetti but worked just as well penne pasta as a substitute.

Wine Suggestions: Aubergine tends to work with Southern Italian reds really well, but we had an unexpected burst of sunshine so opened a Provençal rosé, Chateau Vignelaure La Source, which is an old favourite. It worked a treat and  will definitely try it again with other aubergine dishes.

Pasta alla Norma – Pasta with Aubergines, Tomatoes, Chilli & Cheese – serves 4

  • 500g aubergines (2 large ones)
  • 500g well-flavoured tomatoes or top quality tinned plum tomatoes, drained (Italian brands are best)
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 400g dried spaghetti
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ tsp crushed dried chillies
  • A large handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 100g finely grated ricotta salata or crumbled feta cheese

Trim the aubergines and cut into two across the middle, then cut each piece lengthways into chip-sized sticks. Toss with 1 tsp of salt and set in a colander over a bowl to drain for 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, if using fresh tomatoes, squeeze them over the sink to get rid of most of the juice and seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil (about 4.5 litres) and season generously with salt (about 8 teaspoons).

Pat the aubergines dry with kitchen paper to remove the salt and any liquid. Heat 4 tbsp of the frying pan, add half the aubergines and fry until lightly golden. Lift onto a plate lined with kitchen paper  and leave to drain while you fry the next batch. After removing the second batch of aubergine, leave the oil in the frying pan to cool.

Put the spaghetti into the boiling water and cook according to the packet or until al dente. 

Before the pasta is ready, add the remaining oil and the garlic to the cooled frying pan and return to the heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle gently, add the crushed chillies and the tomatoes and cook over a high heat for a few minutes or until they have broken down into a sauce. Season well and stir in the aubergines.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce with the torn basil and half the cheese, then toss well. Divide between warm bowls and serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »