Easy and cool with cod and quinoa

It looks nice doesn’t it? (… it was evening, hungry, no time for white balance, the photo is horrible…). But in less than half a hour I put together this seriously nutritious dish in a beautiful presentation. The preparation in few steps:

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Gli gnocchi italiani

Ingredients to prepare gnocchi are so very simple that is difficult to go wrong with the recipe, even though the procedure requires attention, and to achieve a good result some expertise in cooking is needed.

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Valentine’s special: Salmon with orange and fennel

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A very special Valentine dinner for you and him? Happy post-dinner fun guaranteed with this plate 😉

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A cooking marathon for folks and friends

… and how to organize a successful holiday buffet party for 15 people in 1 day and half and not die. No recipes in this post, my purpose is only to give you some ideas for a holiday buffet menu where all preparations are intended to be easy to pick and eat in plastic dishes, standing, talking, mingling.

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Greens, fruit, and cheese: the perfect combination

Thanksgiving is approaching quickly. As an Italian I would feel quite uncomfortable to give you the recipe for a traditional turkey, duck, or the various turducken combinations with casseroles that ensure American families a sensational Thanksgiving meal. So I will give my little contribution for tasty and light dishes for the days in between the festivities nosh-ups. A choice of two interesting and unusual salads that in a larger portion can be a main course. I read the recipes in my precious collection of Sale & Pepe magazines and I find the combinations delicious: fennel and orange, and radicchio and persimmons.

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The pork and the apples on the run

spezzatino-maiale-mele

(for two/three persons)
Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
2 large Granny Smith apples, skinned and chopped
1/2 white onion, slice thinly
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup marsala, or porto wine
1 cup water with two teaspoons of bouillon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 bay-leaves
Preparation:

Remove excess fat from the pork, if any, and slice the loin in 1 1/2 inch pieces. The Crock Pot would be perfect for this preparation, but I still don’t have it, so I used a normal cooking large pan. Place water and bouillon in the pan over heat, when the bouillon is completely melted, add all ingredients together. Stir gently to mix well. Cover with lid and cook on low heat for about 2 hours. Check often during cooking and make sure that the preparation doesn’t dry. If this happens, have prepared and add some vegetable broth.

(for two/three persons)

My mum uses to tell me “cooking for few people is very different than cooking for many”, I know she is very right. I learned with the experience that cooking big pieces of meat and get them soft, tasty, and with a rich sauce, requires a lot of time and attention. But, with a limited quantity, you can use less time and a little less attention and you can still put together a recipe that looks like “oooohhhh you must have spent a lot of time in the kitchen!”.

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Put the accent on the contrasts

(For two)
200 gr. spaghetti or linguine 
200 gr. pearl or cherry tomatoes
two handfuls baby spinach
fresh basil, a small bunch
extra-virgin olive oil, three spoonfuls
cloves of garlic
two spoonfuls pine-seeds
Bring the water to a boil in a pot. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the cloves of garlic. Cook over low-medium heat until the garlic turns to a gold color and remove it from the oil. Add the pineseeds and toss for few seconds, add tomatoes, some cut in halves some whole, add salt and let it cook to a medium heat for few minutes. In case the sauce is too dry, add a little water. Turn off heat and add spinach, adjust with salt and sprinkle with black pepper if you like. Once pasta is cooked, drain it and pour it onto the sauce. Add the fresh basil now and stir gently. 
The “accent” of this very simple dish is the roasted prosciutto on the top. I had a few leftovers slices of prosciutto in the fridge and I thought that it could be a nice addition as a decoration and also to create an interesting contrast of flavours, the intense salty taste of the prosciutto vs. the mild sweet of the spinach and pineseeds, and also a contrast of consistencies adding the crisp prosciutto to the smooth spaghetti. Serve with a dry white. Very nice.

spaghetti-spinaci-prosciutt

The “accent” of this otherwise very simple dish is the roasted prosciutto on the top. I had a few leftovers slices of prosciutto in the fridge and I thought that it could be a nice addition as a decoration and also to create an interesting contrast of flavours, the intense salty taste of the prosciutto vs. the mild sweet of the spinach and pineseeds. It is also very pleasant the contrast of consistencies of the crisp prosciutto with the smooth spaghetti. 

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