Who would believe that you can cook an Italian meal for four with half an aubergine, a clove or two of garlic, a punnet of cherry tomatoes and a few other flavourings but you can, and easily in under 10 minutes.
Browsing: THE ITALIAN KITCHEN
Peaches are one of those fruits that continue to ripen when you get them home. Leave them in a windowsill to catch the sun. For this recipe you can substitute the crushed meringue nests with crushed ginger nuts or amaretti biscuits. Serve hot or cold.
When you add mascarpone to a cake it gives it a rich creamy texture. It’s a heavier cake than a pound cake and it benefits from being left for a day before eating. Serve it simply dusted with icing sugar, with sour cream and fresh raspberries or any other fresh or poached berry fruit. A chef in a small restaurant near Milan gave us this recipe years ago, written on a small shard of blue-lined note paper.
Morels have a rich woody flavour and they are a decadent treat. Like truffle, they should be used simply. Use fresh or dried pasta for this recipe though we prefer the silky texture of fresh – you’ll find it in the chilled section of most supermarkets. Check the pack for timings, fresh pasta takes about 6 minutes to cook and dried pasta between 7-12 minutes depending on the type you choose.
This is a great way of getting children to eat a vegetable: if you serve the courgette or zucchini ‘boats’ at room temperature they can even eat them with their hands. The traditional recipe below uses pork and beef but you can use one or the other. If you can find the round courgettes use those, they look very pretty on the plate or use half courgettes and peppers.
A Roman speciality – ‘cacio’ is the word used locally for Pecorino, the cheese used in this classic Italian recipe – cacio e pepe is effectively a dish of spaghetti with cheese and black pepper. Those simple ingredients don’t make it any less special – if anything this must surely be one of the dishes that proves why Italian cuisine is up there with master cuisines such as French and Chinese.
A small sized pasta is correct for this dish because the chicken and broccoli are cut into small pieces so that you can eat a spoon of pasta with chicken and broccoli in one bite.
We’ve taken to making a batch of tomato sauce on a Sunday when we have time – we store it in glass jars, in a plastic tub or in freezer bags ready for action. It lasts a few days in the fridge or you can freeze it in portion sizes. We use a spoon or two to make a quick bruschetta with a slice of cheese or Parma or Serrano ham on Monday before dinner. On Tuesday we toss it through cooked tagliatelle with a few basil leaves or we make Spaghetti All’Arrabiata by adding a healthy pinch of dried chilli flakes before we reheat the sauce. On Wednesday we add the rest of the sauce to fried minced beef with a tin of kidney beans to make quick enchiladas.
When you have bread left over make our nutty breadcrumbs which you can toss through pasta, use to top a macaroni cheese and sprinkle over vegetables. You can also use panko if you don’t want to use leftover bread. It’s an economical way of making a dish more substantial and adding texture using a food that would otherwise be thrown out.