One of the most famous Italian sauces is undoubtedly pesto alla genovese, a sauce made by smashing together 5 ingredients: fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese (a mix of parmigiano regiano and pecorino romano). The traditional way of making this amazing sauce requires a mortar and a pestle, its name comes from the Italian verb pestare (= to beat). Pesto alla genovese has a great taste, it’s definitely not shy nor delicate, it has lots of bold flavors which complement each other beautifully.
⦁ 3 Tbsp olive oil (45ml)
⦁ 25g basil leaves
⦁ 1 garlic clove
⦁ 1 Tbsp pine nuts (10g)
⦁ 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (5g)
⦁ 1/4 tsp salt
1. Wash the basil in cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
2. In the mortar, crush the clove of garlic with about 1/4 tsp of salt until the garlic has softened.
3. Begin adding basil leaves about 1/4 of the quantity a time.
4. Add the oil one teaspoon at a time, stirring continuously.
5. Add the pine nuts and crush them as well.
6. Add the nutritional yeast and mix until combined.
7. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container. Refrigerated, it will keep up to one week.
With a crispy crust and a creamy center, these fried zucchini flowers are a stunning Italian appetizer. A budget-friendly, delicious and simple yet elegant treat. I first tried this recipe about 5 years ago and I remember it was love at first sight. Since that particular moment, I’ve been preparing this recipe at lest once a month. When I’m in my veggie garden, admiring my zucchini bush, it fills my heart with joy the fact that I’m able to create something extraordinary from an ingredient that I’d otherwise throw away. Regarding the batter, I’ve trying a lot of recipes that required whether baking powder, sparkling water or cold beer. Hands down, my favorite version was this simple three-ingredient one. It requires only flour, water and yeast, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. These ingredients create a incredibly crunchy crust which hides a delicate and creamy filling.
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
15 zuchhini blossoms
150g all-purpose flour
220ml lukewarm water (38-40C)
15g fresh yeast
- Activate the yeast. In a small bowl combine 1/3 of the water, sugar and yeast and whisk until well combined. Let aside for 5 minutes.
- Form the batter. In a large bowl sift the flour. Add the salt and a pinch of nutmeg and make a well in the center. Add the remaining water (2/3 of the quantity) and whisk until smooth. Add the yeast mixture and whisk until well combined. Cover with cling film and let it proof in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- Clean the flowers. Meanwhile take each flower and remove it’s center, as well as those tiny outer leaves. Clean under cold water and place them in a colander to drain.
- Cook the blossoms. After 30 minutes heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. One by one, dredge the blossoms in batter, shaking off the excess. Gently lay them in the oil, without crowding the pan. Cook, flipping once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes total.
- Serve. Transfer to paper towels to drain and serve warm.
- Source: www.giallozafferano.it
My heart fills with joy when I remember my grandmother’s recipe of cabbage noodles, those fragrant and peppery noddles she used to make for me every Friday afternoon. I used to barge into the kitchen, throwing my backpack on the old, wooden armchair and she used to greet me with a warm smile and a simple bowl of cabbage noodles. That’s all I’ve ever needed, for that matter!
For these delicious noodles with sauteed cabbage you only need about a handful of budget-friendly ingredients and a spare 20 minutes. If you decide to make the noodles from scratch, it shouldn’t take more than 1 hour. For this recipe I used my pasta machine but a simple rolling pin and a sharp knife did the job brilliantly for years (and the proof lays here). Whenever I make them plant-based, I replace the eggs with olive oil and lukewarm water. Since I can’t say I find pale noodles appealing, I add a pinch of turmenic to the flour, which gives the noodles a lovely golden color. So let’s get to work!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
for the pasta:
- 300g all purpose flour
- about 160ml liquid (115ml water + 45ml olive oil)
- 1 + 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp turmenic
for the sauteed cabbage:
- 1/2 kg white cabbage
- 1/2 Tbsp salt
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tsp pepper
- Pasta dough. In a large bowl sift the flour. Add salt and turmenic and mix well.
- Make a well in the center, add water and olive oil and mix with a fork, until you form a ball of dough.
- Bring the dough on a floured working surface and knead it vigorously for 10 minutes, or until the surface becomes smooth and elastic.
- Wrap it in cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Sauteed cabbage. Take the cabbage and discard its outer leaves. Give it a wash and pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Cut it in 4 and chop it finely. Place the cabage ribbons in a colander and place the colander in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the cabage and masaage it for a minute.
- Cut the onion in half and slice it finely. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute it until translucent.
- Remove the liquid from the cabbage ribbons using your hands. Add the cabbage to the saucepan, give it a stir, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to minimum. Saute the cabbage until tender (for about 15 – 20 minutes). When it becomes tender, season with salt (only if necessary) and plenty of black pepper and leave aside.
- Cutting the noodles – If you don’t own a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin to roll the dough and a sharp knife to cut the noodles, like I did in this recipe. Take the dough out from the fridge, cut it in 4 and form 4 balls of dough. Take 1 ball, flatten it with your fingers and fold it in half. Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting and feed it through the pasta roller. Repeat the step. Change the setting to mark 2. Fold this piece of dough into thirds, and press it with your fingers. Pass it through the pasta machine. Repeat the step. Continue passing the dough through the machine until the desired thickness. For these noodles I like to stop after the 5th mark.
Recap: fold, mark1x2, fold, mark2x2, mark3x2, mark4x2, mark5x1
- Run each sheet of pasta through the pasta cutter.
- Take a large pot, fill it with water and add a handful of salt. Cover with a lid and let it boil. When the water starts to boil, put the noodles into the pan and let them cook for about a minute and a half (90 seconds). Drain pasta and rinse them with cold water. Toss them over the sauted cabbage and give it a gentle stir.
- Serve immediately.
Lachha paratha is an Indian multi layered flatbread. For this simple recipe you’ll only need a handful of budget-friendly ingredients. The dough for lachha paratha is a mix of flour, water and oil, with a pinch of salt and sugar. After the dough has rested for a while, it is divided into 6 balls, and each ball is flatten into a disc with a rolling pin. And this is where the magic begins. Each disc, after being brushed with oil and powdered with flour, is folded into a fan and the fan is shaped as a pinwheel. Each pinwheel is flatten with a rolling pin into a flatbread. All the steps mentioned above are responsible for those lovely, flaky layers of goodness. Lachha paratha is more labor-intensive than a regular flatbread, but the result is absolutely spectacular; these multi layered flatbreads are not only a feast for the taste buds, but also for the eyes (and even for the ears).
Ingredients (for 6 – 8 flatbreads):
- 280g whole wheat flour (2 cups) * + extra 70g for rolling (1/2 cups)
- 75ml olive oil (5 Tbsp)**
- aprox 140ml lukewarm water (38 – 40°C)***
- 5g salt (1 tsp)
- 5g granulated sugar (1 tsp)
* I used whole wheat flour. This recipe can be made with all-purpose white flour or with a mixture of all-purpose and whole wheat flour.
** One Tbsp of olive oil is added to the dough and 4 Tbsp are used for brushing the rolled flatbread.
*** The quantity of water depends on the type of flour. The water is added 2 Tbsp at a time until you form a soft ball of dough, a ball that doesn’t stick to the bowl. For 280g whole wheat flour I use about 140ml water.
- Prepare the dough. In a large bowl combine white flour (sifted), sugar, salt and oil and make a well in the center. Add about 2 Tbsp of water at a time and mix with your fingers until you form a ball. The ball should be soft but it shouldn’t stick to the bowl.
- Knead the dough. Bring the dough to a floured working surface and knead it for 2 minutes. Place the dough in the bowl, cover it with a damp towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough into triangles. After 30 minutes, place the dough back on the working surface, knead it and cut it into 6 triangles. Shape each triangle into a small ball.
- Roll the first piece of dough. Place one ball on the floured working surface and cover the other 5 with the same damp towel. Roll the first ball with a rolling pin until it gets 2mm thick.
- Olive oil & flour. Brush the first flatbread with olive oil and sprinkle with flour. Beginning with one end, fold it to form pleats.
- Make a pinwheel. Take one end of the fan and roll it like a pinwheel.
- Roll the flatbread. Flatten the pinwheel with a rolling pin until 3 – 4mm thick.
- Cook. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When you see pockets of air forming at the surface brush the raw surface with oil and flip it. Brush the cooked surface with olive oil too. Flip it again and cook until golden brown.
- Repeat with the other pieces of dough. Proceed the same with the remaining flatbreads. I prefer to roll the second one while the first one is cooking. It saves times.
- Serve. Serve warm with curry, chutney or different vegetable spreads.
These soft boiled quail eggs are marinates in soy sauce, charred on the grill and served with a sweet and salty sesame dust. Given my almost annoying culinary curiosity and the fact that I never run short of eggs, I often discover new and exciting quail egg recipes. This recipe is definitely exciting, it is both visually pleasing and extremely delicious. Not to mention that the technique is really simple.
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 24 quail eggs
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tasp dark Muscovado sugar
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- Fill a medium saucepan with water and cover with a lid. Bring the water to a boil and add the eggs. Reduce heat to minimum and let eggs simmer for 2 minutes. Drain eggs, let them cool in cold water and peel them.
- Take a zip-lock bag and prepare the marinade by mixing together the soy sauce and the olive oil.
- Rinse the soft-boiled eggs, pat them dry and add them to the bag. Mix well and leave the eggs to marinate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile toast the sesame seeds in a skillet until golden brown over medium temperature. Let them reach room temperature and spoon them in a mortar. Add the salt, sugar and chili and break the seeds down with a pestle.
- Heat grill pan over medium – high temperature. Drain the eggs and carefully place them on the grill. Grill them for 20 -30 seconds on each side, until browned.
- Serve them warm, on a skewer, dipping them in the sweet and salty sesame powder.
I’m a big potato fan, I love them in every shape, color, size or combination. From white and purple to sweet potatoes, from mashed, baked and wedges, to fries, rösti and potato salad. But for that particular moment when I cannot figure out whether I’m craving fries or mashed potatoes, there is a wonderful recipe called Hasselback Potatoes. This recipe combines both the earthy crunchiness of fries and the buttery creaminess of mashed potatoes. This adorable fan-shaped spuds are not only good-looking, but also delicious and healthy.
The technique is quite simple; the potatoes are sliced into thin parallel slices but they aren’t cut all the way through; after that they are generously greased with butter, they are roasted in the oven until they become golden brown. To make my work easier, I simply place the potato in a large spoon and I rest the handler on a paper towel roll (picture). The edges of the spoon will stop you from slicing the potato all the way through. I wanted to make this recipe vegan, so I substituted butter for some quality olive oil. I tried to mimic that rich flavor that butter gives to the dish and I placed some garlic and thyme between the potato slices. The result was (muuuuuch) more than satisfactory. Continue reading Hasselback Potatoes (Vegan)
Tahini is a delicious Middle Eastern sesame spread. It has a velvety smooth texture and a lovely nutty flavor. Tahini can be found in the ethnic department of almost every large grocery store but it can also be made at home, from scratch. It’s so easy to make and it’s significantly less expensive than the store-bought version. Tahini is made from only 3 ingredients: sesame seeds, vegetable oil and salt. The process is very simple: the sesame seeds are lightly toasted just until they turn golden and fragrant, and after that they are ground using a food processor (or you can use a mortar, if you’re into extreme sports). The addition of the oil turns the fragrant sesame crumbs into a golden silky spread.
I must confess that I enjoy tahini almost daily. I use it to prepare hummus and baba ganoush, I use it to make salad dressings, I pour it over steamed veggies, rice or pasta or I simply enjoy it with homemade bread, with lime, chili flakes and chives sprinkled on top. Tahini brings flavor to many dishes but it also brings a high amount of nutrients – tahini is high in protein, unsaturated fats, calcium and vit B complex). Tahini is simply divine, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to discover it yet, I strongly advise you to whip up a batch! Continue reading Homemade Tahini
Lascute (quadratini / quadrucci in Italian) are the adorable small pasta that my grandmother used to make when I was a child. They are nothing else but some tiny squares with 5 mm side length. They are so delicious in chicken soups, tomato or bean-based soups. They are really easy to make, they require just a few things: some flour, salt and eggs. You also need a rolling pin, a sharp knife and some spare time. I like to make a large batch and I dry them overnight. Once nice and dry, they last for weeks.
For this pasta recipe I use all-purpose white flour, chicken or duck eggs and Himalayan salt. Chicken eggs make some delicious homemade pasta, but duck eggs simply elevate the dish. Duck eggs are higher in fat, compared to chicken eggs, which improves both the texture and the taste of the pasta. Also, duck eggs have a higher yolk to white ratio than chicken eggs, which provides a more vibrant color to the final product. Continue reading Lascute (homemade square pasta)
I might have the perfect recipe for Milanese Pork Chops! Why do I dare to call them “perfect”? Because these beauties have a flavorful crispy crust, so crispy that you would never believe that they are baked and not fried. The juicy and tender meat is coated with a golden crust made from whole-wheat bread crumbs, parmesan and thyme. So, in my humble opinion, this dish is the perfect lunch: easy to make, satisfying and very healthy. Continue reading Baked Milanese Pork Chops With Aïoli Sauce and Arugula Salad