venerdì 16 dicembre 2016

Clafoutis pere e mandorle - Pear and Almond Clafoutis



Clafoutis is a French pudding of fruits, traditionally black cherries, mixed with a sweet batter and baked in the oven. So simple and versatile, the clafoutis is the perfect last-minute dessert.

giovedì 8 dicembre 2016

Erbazzone - Swiss chard and Parmesan Pie


Erbazzone is an Italian pie, traditionally made with seasonal greens, flavoured with spring onions and garlic, and bound with eggs and cheese. As simple as that. A true dish from the 'cucina povera', which comes in many variations. 

sabato 3 dicembre 2016

Pollo marinato allo yogurt – Chicken Casserole in a Yogurt Dressing


I like yogurt, I make my own one at home to have it fresh in the morning, with any fruits, jam or honey. I use it in some cakes but I also like to add it to savoury dishes, such as pulse soups, pesto sauces or to replace mayonnaise in salad dressing. Here, I use it to marinate the chicken, getting closer to middle Eastern cooking rather than Italian. 

giovedì 24 novembre 2016

Torta polenta e arance - Polenta and Orange Cake


I like the polenta cake crunchy and moist and it took me a while to make the right one. I prepared it yesterday for few friends and nothing was left for today. What a pity, it is so good also on the next day!

mercoledì 16 novembre 2016

Gnocchi di pane - Bread Gnocchi


Bread should never be thrown away. Stale bread can quickly be recycled as breadcrumbs and crostini, or could become an inspirational ingredient for many dishes, such as soups, gnocchi and cakes. 

martedì 8 novembre 2016

Gnocchi di polenta - Polenta Gnocchi


Nothing is wasted in the 'cucina povera' and the leftovers are often transformed into a new dish.
Last summer, in a tiny restaurant up in the Alps, I tasted delicious gnocchi made out of polenta leftovers. The chef gave me some useful hints, but I had to sort the recipe out. 

domenica 30 ottobre 2016

Torta zucca e arancia - Pumpkin and Orange Cake


Orange and pumpkin combine very well together, not only in terms of colour. Few days ago, in a restaurant, I tasted a delicious soup made with these two bright and sweet ingredients. I enjoyed it so much that I thought: Why not making a cake?

mercoledì 26 ottobre 2016

Vellutata zucca e porri - Squash and Leek Velouté


When I moved to London 23 years ago, I discovered the butternut squash, a kind of pumpkin but less sweet and more fleshy. Unknown in Italy at that time, the squash soon became the main ingredient in my autumn and winter dishes, such as soups, risotto, pasta, meat stews and even cakes. Squash was always in my pantry.

giovedì 20 ottobre 2016

Lenticchie, pomodori e melanzane - Lentil, Tomato and Aubergine Stew


I love lentils: no soaking, quick cooking, very versatile, always delicious and truly healthy. 
I cook lentils at least once a week and I try to explore different combinations, whenever I can. 

domenica 16 ottobre 2016

mercoledì 14 settembre 2016

Farro spezzato con pomodori e ricotta - Broken Farro with Tomatoes and Ricotta


Our eating has changed in the last few years. Today we all eat less than we used to and we tend to eat more vegetables, cereal and pulses, mixing them together in many different ways. Vegetable dishes become main courses at home and in the restaurants,  but we often lack of ideas.  

domenica 4 settembre 2016

Clafoutis more e mirtilli – Blackberry and Blueberry Clafoutis


Clafoutis is a French dessert made of fruits, traditionally cherries, baked in a sweet batter. Easy and quick to prepare, the clafoutis is the ideal last-minute pudding.

giovedì 7 luglio 2016

Uova in Purgatorio - Eggs in Purgatory


The Eggs in Purgatory is a traditional recipe from Naples, where the eggs are poached in a tomato and onion sauce. I like to make the dish a bit more interesting by adding other ingredients, such as olive taggiasche, crumbled goat cheese and plenty of basil. If you make it in summer, you will enjoy the unique sweetness of ripe tomatoes and of fresh red onions.

lunedì 23 maggio 2016

Panzanella


Panzanella is the Tuscan bread and tomato salad. We used to have it for lunch in Forte dei Marmi, in the hottest summer days. Refreshing and light, it is a typical dish from cucina povera that we can find in all the Mediterranean cuisines, with plenty of variations.
Our domestic panzanella was quite versatile too, as it had to satisfy a crowd with different tastes. The grown ups loved spring onions, cucumbers and even yellow peppers in their panzanella, whereas the children preferred the plain one, with just tomatoes, basil and rocket. To please everybody, panzanella was always served in different versions. 

martedì 17 maggio 2016

giovedì 12 maggio 2016

martedì 10 maggio 2016

Ribollita


Last chance to prepare ribollita, the traditional Tuscan soup, mainly made with cannellini beans and cavolo nero and served with stale bread. The cavolo nero will be shortly out of season.
This is my family recipe, an inspiration for this popular soup. In fact, our ribollita slightly changed every time we cooked it, according to what we had in the pantry.
However, we always stick to two main rules: we always use dried cannellini, soaked overnight. The tinned ones have no taste and no consistency. We combine cavolo nero with Swiss chard, which brings a sweeter taste, curbing the tangy cavolo nero


sabato 30 aprile 2016

Parmigiana di melanzane a modo mio - My Aubergine Parmigiana


Parmigiana di melanzane is the perfect vegetarian main course to share with family and friends. It's not a last-minute dish but it can be prepared in advance and it is always delicious. Especially in the sunny season, when aubergines and tomatoes are ripe and sweet.
In my Parmigiana, I make few changes to the original recipe from Naples.

lunedì 25 aprile 2016

Torta di riso al caramello - Rice and Caramel Pudding



This recipe is one of Maura's many legacies. Maura was a Tuscan lady who helped my grandmother and my aunt in the kitchen for almost 50 years.
She was a natural chef, who never wrote her recipes on paper, but just cooked them from memory: no measures, no cooking times and temperatures. When Maura died last year, we decided to keep her best dishes alive by writing them down. To do so, we could only rely on our memory, recalling her advices and the tastes and textures of her dishes. 

giovedì 7 aprile 2016

Insalata di fine inverno con bulgur e limone - End of Winter Salad with Bulgur and Lemon


Bulgur is a legacy from my dearest Lebanese friend Claude, who left for Boston last year.
9 years ago, when we started running Libaliano - Lebanese and Italian cooking courses - in London, I immediately introduced bulgur in my cuisine. Easy to cook and to combine with any pulses and vegetables, bulgur soon became an essential ingredient I always have in my pantry.


domenica 3 aprile 2016

Crostata ricotta e arance - Orange and Ricotta Tart


I enjoy recipes that speak about friendship: they keep alive the pleasure of sharing.
My friend Carla gave me this recipe long ago. So light, delicate and easy to prepare that it soon became my favourite tart. I often made it at home, I gave the recipes to my friends and taught how to prepare it in the cooking courses I have been running with Carla in Richmond for years. 
Then, I stopped, as I switched into new ideas. 

mercoledì 23 marzo 2016

Pasta finocchi e radicchio - Fennel and Radicchio Pasta


I like dressing my pasta with any seasonal vegetables available in the market; it's a light and satisfying dish everyone enjoys. Simple food made with good ingredients.

venerdì 11 marzo 2016

My One-off Friday Soup



I always cook a soup on Fridays and always a different one, as I prepare it with any vegetables left over in the fridge. I enjoy the feeling of inventing a dish with just what I have, without wasting anything. No recipes on Fridays, just the pleasure of cooking what I like. 

giovedì 25 febbraio 2016

Testaroli al pesto


Testaroli are an ancient dish from the Lunigiana region, a valley between Tuscany and Liguria. Simply made of flour and water, they are pancakes that turn into a delicious pasta, dressed with pesto.

mercoledì 17 febbraio 2016

martedì 2 febbraio 2016

Torta di spaghetti – Spaghetti Pie



Here I propose a spaghetti cake to relief the hustle of last minute cooking. 

It's a delicious and beautiful dish, which could be easily prepared few hours in advance and just baked 45 minutes before eating. 
The plain tomato sauce will bring colour and would enhance the Mediterranean flavour.
It is a perfect one-course dish for a family meal or one of main courses for a bigger gathering. 

giovedì 28 gennaio 2016

Pesce spada alla catanese - Swordfish from Catania


I know that the swordfish season would be on late spring and summer, but yesterday my fishmonger had such a fresh one on display that I couldn't help buying two thick slices, beautifully pink and shining.
Few friend from Catania gave me this recipe, with plenty of variations, as it always happens in the Italian cuisine. Still, everybody agreed that he secret of this Sicilian recipe is baking the swordfish on low temperature (150°C), to keep its delicate flavour and the moist texture of its firm and meaty flesh. The thicker the slices, the better the outcome.

giovedì 21 gennaio 2016

Insalata tiepida d’orzo con cavolo riccio e feta - Pearl Barley Salad with kale and feta cheese


Today I felt like having a simple grain salad for lunch. It is a light and fulfilling meal, which I always enjoy to prepare by combining the ingredients I have in the pantry. 

domenica 17 gennaio 2016

Pere al vino rosso - Poached Pears in Red Wine


This is a fruit pudding I like to serve after any winter meal. It is a plain but generous dish. Easy to make, it infuses its aroma over the house - better than any scented candle -, it  enchants the eyes with its warm red and delights the palate with its delicate sweetness. The vanilla ice cream would enhance the deep colour and the smooth syrup of the dish. 

venerdì 8 gennaio 2016

Orecchiette con cime di rapa


This is one of the most well-known dish from Bari (Apulia). Traditionally prepared with homemade orecchiette, it is a good example of pasta dressed with vegetables, which is so popular in the south of Italy. 

Here I propose  a quicker version of the recipe,  using the dried orecchiette. 
Cime di rapa are similar to the English turnip tops, but softener. Broccoli could work as well but with a slightly different result, both in terms of flavour and texture.