Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Spaghetti with Artichoke Cream

The aftertaste of artichoke is so delicate and fresh that you won't even need to brush your teeth after your meal. I wish my toothpaste tasted like artichoke.
I got the inspiration for this dish after my last visit in Rome. I went to " Al Pompiere", an awesome restaurant specialized in Roman-Jewish Cuisine and they served me this amazing plate of  Tonnarelli with Artichoke and Pecorino.
This is my own way of bastardizing the recipe.

For the sauce you will need:
  • Artichoke heart ( if you have the fresh one then it is great, I have used the one in the can...)
  • Garlic Cloves
  • extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • Parmiggiano ( Pecordino Romano is better)
  • Vegetable Stock-
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
 Start by pan frying the garlic with some extra virgin olive oil. Add the chopped artichokes to the pan and saute them for 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 ladles of Vegetables Stock, cover the pan and let it cook for 15 more minutes or until the artichoke are nice and tender. I have added 2 table spoon of double cream just to create a nice cream with the tender artichoke and the grated Parmiggiano ( be generous).

Cook the spaghetti " al dente" and add it to the pan with the sauce for few minutes so that the sauce can marry with the spaghetti. Drizzle with some Extra Virgin olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Salmon, Pak-Choi and Cherry Tomatoes Tart

Quiche and Tart are normally my way of cleaning up the fridge. This doesn't mean it can't be super rewarding. It helps when you have awesome leftover like Pak-choi from a previous Chinese dinner feast and some Scottish salmon.  The trick to make a good quiche is to be generous with the eggs and with the double cream/ or Milk.

Here are the ingredients: 

4 eggs 
Smoked Scottish Salmon
Pak-Choi or Chard 
Cherry Tomatoes
400ml of Double cream
Puff Pastry

Preheat the oven at 180 and roll the puff pastry over a tart tin.  
Cook the Pak-Choi in a non stick pan with a crushed garlic clove and season it to taste.

Tuck the Pak-Choi into the tart case in between the salmon pieces and the cherry tomatoes. Gently whisk the eggs and cream, pour into the case and bake for 25 minutes, or until set. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Paprika Vegan Sausage Soup Bomb with Orzo

I have always been a bit skeptical about those meat surrogate for vegetarian. It is just seemed wrong to use them until now. I must admit that it is otherwise very limiting to cook without them when it comes to preparing second courses or stews. 

Here is a delicious Soup Bomb with vegetarian Sausage, flavored in a lot of Paprika and Cajun Pepper with Orzo. I swear you will not miss the pork!

To make this you need: 

1 liter of Vegetable stock
1 Big Onion
1 Carrot
1 Celery
1 can of chopped tomatoes
6 Vegetarian Sausages
1 cup of Orzo
1 Glass of Wine

For seasoning:

A lot of Paprika, 
Cajun pepper 
Salt to taste
4 peppercorn 
1 bay leaf

Start by dicing the vegetable, oil a large pot and start gently cooking the vegetables. In the meantime seasoned the Sausage with a generous amount of paprika ( i like the smoked one), a little but of Cajun pepper to add a bit of heat. Dice the Sausage and add them to the pot. Pour the glass of Wine into the pot and higher the flames so that the alcohol can evaporate.

Once the alcohol has evaporate, add the stock, the can of tomato, french peppercorn and bayleaf into the pot. Once the soup reaches the boil, lower the flame, cover the pot and let it cook for at least 60 minutes. 

Season with salt, add the Orzo to the soup and let it cook according to the instruction in the package

Once the orzo is cooked, you can serve the Soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and and some Parmiggiano ( if you are not Vegan)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Morning Glory Muffin

If you are thinking about hosting a great veggie brunch or want to make something tasty for a pic-nic date, then here is the recipe you need: Zucchini Muffin with sun blushed tomatoes on top 

To make 6 of these babies you'll need: 

Wet ingredients: 

3 eggs
100ml of Milk 
50ml of Sunflower Oil
50g of Herb's Flavored Cream Cheese ( Ricotta is also good) 

Dried Ingredients: 

200 g of Flour
a teaspoon of Baking powder

 For the filling: 
 2 Zucchini diced and sauteed in a non-stick pan  with a little bit of oil and seasoned with salt,pepper and fresh thyme

sun blushed tomatoes ( cheery tomatoes are also good)


Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl and then start to slowly add the dry ingredients using a sieve. Add the zucchini and pour the batter into the muffin shapes. Before putting them into the oven at 180°, don't forget to put the tomatoes on top. They should be ready in about 25 minutes depending on how big they are and how good your oven is. Better to start checking them after the first 20 min!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Tasty Vegetarian Sandwich

How can you make a sandwich without a nice slice of prosciutto crudo?! First of all, I think that if you make sure to have some " jolly" ingredients , as I like to call them, in your kitchen like tapenade, olives, hummus, any vegetables in a jar like artichokes or caperberries in this case, it is much easier, faster and tastier to make a vegetarian quick snack.

I have thin-sliced and grilled some zucchini and then i have seasoned them in a bowl with salt, pepper and fresh rosemary. I have toasted some bread, and then I have started to build my sandwish with:
- Some slices of grilled and seasoned zucchini
-  Fresh Mozzarella
- Slices of Tomatoes and Radish
- Hummus
- Caperberries

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Vegetarian Alternative to a Sunday Supper

The most challenging thing about being vegetarian is keeping the tradition alive. Especially when you come from Emilia Romagna and it is Sunday, and you kinda wanna eat some Lasagne, Tagliatelle or…Pasticcio. This is my Vegetarian alternative to the most famous dish of Ferrara: Pasticcio di Maccheroni.

As I have turned vegetarian only 3 months ago, I still have fresh memories of how the original one should taste like and I have to admit that the meat plays an important role in this recipe. But if you can pimp your vegetarian ragù with the right spices you are more than just fine.
For the pastry, the béchamel, how to cook the pasta and how to build this masterpiece follow the instruction of the previous post about the original pasticcio.
The only thing that changes is the ragù.
First, diced 1 carrot, half of a big white onion, 1 celery and some green cabbage. Oil the pot and put the diced vegetables. Cover and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. If you have one zucchini, this is the time to dice it and throw it inside the pot. Add a bay leaf. After 10 more minutes add a glass of red wine and higher the heat. You can add some tomato concentrate diluted in some warm water or just leave it “ white” with no sauce. It is up to your own preference. For pasticcio I prefer not to put tomato sauce but if I were making lasagna, I would add tomato to the veg ragù.
Now it is time to pimp the ragù with some smoked paprika, salt and pepper. I found that smoked paprika is like an injection of pork flavoring but without actually involving any pork.  
Once the ragù is ready, you can start mixing it with the béchamel, the pasta and start building the masterpiece.

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Many people have been upset by my decision of turning vegetarian, especially my 94 years old Granma Curti Giannina aka Carmen who has survived all of these years with a diet of cappelletti, cappellacci, cotolette and lasagne. 

Here is a veg recipe that will cheer everyone up. 

First prepare the marinade for the mushroom by adding all of these ingredients in a mixing ball:

·      3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

·      3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

·      3 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

·      Salt and pepper

Clean the Portobello mushroom and brush them with the marinade and let them soaked for 1 hour. After that, heat a grill pan and grill the mushroom.

I have made a fresh salsa with tomatoes and Danish blue cheese, olive oil and salt to taste. Add some mixed salad green and if you want, you can add some shaves of Parmesan cheese.

But don’t forget to steam the buns!!!