An Italian Cooking Abroad

Struggling to preserve the Italian culinary tradition oversea

Category: From the oven (page 1 of 2)

HERB-STUFFED TOMATOES

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

4 medium tomatoes / 1 large onion / 2 garlic cloves / 12 black olives / olive oil / a quarter cup of panko / 2 tablespoons of chopped oregano / 3 tablespoons chopped parsley / 1 tablespoon chopped mint / 2 tablespoons capers / black pepper

Preheat the oven at 200C. Trim off the top of each tomato and discard. Use a little spoon to remove the seeds and most of the flesh, leaving a clean shell. Lightly salt the inside of the tomatoes and place upside down in a colander, to drain off some moisture. Meanwhile, put the chopped onion, chopped garlic, roughly chopped olives and 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, to soften the onions. Remove from the heat and stir in the panko, herbs, capers and some pepper. Add salt. Wipe the inside of the tomatoes with a paper towel, then fill them up with the herb stuffing, pressing down very gently as you go. Place the tomatoes in a greased ovenproof dish and drizzle lightly with oil. Bake for 40 minutes.

FOCACCIA

INGREDIENTS

800 g all purpose flour / 600 g room temperature water / 18 g salt/ 15 g honey / 1.6 g (or 1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast / 40 g extra virgin olive oil / toppings

In a bowl add honey to water and mix until dissolved, then add yeast and do the same. In a large bowl mix the flour and the salt and make a hole in the middle where you will pour the liquids. Stir with a spatula incorporating the flour with movement from bottom to top until the sides of the bowl are clean. Let it rest for 20 min covered with cling film.

Add the oil and using the same technique continue mixing until it’s fully incorporated in the dough. Now bring the edges of the dough into the center following an imaginary clock and continue going around the clock till the dough allows you to turn it over easily. Cover with cling film and let it rest 20 more minutes. After this time repeat the clock foldings again. Let it now rest until doubled in size. Once doubled in size you can either follow the next instructions straight away, or put it in the chiller over night (just remember to take it out and let it reach again room temperature before you continue with the recipe).

Oil a 30 x 40 cm pan and pour the dough in. Gently stretch the dough putting your hands underneath it until it fills the pan. Don’t force the dough to do so, better let it rest 20 min and then continue stretching it. Let the dough in the pan for 1.5/2 hours, then dimple it with your fingers and put your toppings on it. Let it rest for 30 more minute and in the meantime preheat the oven to 250 degrees celsius. Bake for 20- 25 min ( first 10 minutes in the lowest shelf, then in the middle) until the bottom crust is crisp and brown. Let the focaccia cool on a rack.

Toppings:

You can simply put some salt and rosemary on top of your focaccia. It will be perfect as a bread substitute to go with soups and hams/cheeses.

You can make onion and tomatoes focaccia (cut your cherry tomatoes ahead of time and let them soak in oil for 3 hrs and let some onion soak in 1/3 vinegar 2/3 water for the same time).

Another idea could be tomatoes and anchovies (use some juicy Roma tomatoes, sprinkle the juice on top of the focaccia and then garnish with some anchovies).

NEW POTATOES TATIN

INGREDIENTS

cherry tomatoes 1 1/2 cups / olive oil / salt and pepper / 500 g new potatoes (the small ones) / 1 large onion / 3 tbsp sugar / 2 tsp butter / oregano / goat cheese / 1 puff pastry sheet

Preheat the oven at 200 C, halve the tomatoes and place them skin-down on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to dry for 45 minutes. Meanwhile cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes. Drain and let cool. trim off a bit of the top and bottom of each potato, then cut into 3 cm thick discs. Sauté the sliced onion with the olive oil for 10 minutes. Once you have prepared all the vegetables, brush a cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. In a small pan cook the sugar and butter on a high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to get a semi-dark caramel. Pour the caramel in the cake pan and tilt it to spread evenly over the bottom. Scatter the oregano on the caramel. Lay the potato discs close together, cut-side down, on the bottom of the pan. Gently press onions and dry tomatoes into the gaps and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread the slices of goat cheese evenly over the potatoes. Cut a puff pastry disc that is larger in diameter than the pan. Lay the pastry lid over the tart filling and gently touch the edges down around the potatoes inside the pan. Preheat the oven at 250 C, bake the tart for 25 minus, reduce the temperature to 200 C and continue baking for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, let settle for 2 minutes. Hold an inverted plate firmly on top of the pan and carefully but briskly turn them over together, then lift off the pan.

MAC’N’CHEESE

INGREDIENTS

250 g maccheroni / 50 g butter / 50 g flour / 300 mL milk / 100 mL fresh cream / 200 g pecorino / 200 g gruyere / nutmeg / paprika / salt / pepper

In a small pan melt the butter over medium heat, add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. The pour in the pan the warm milk, slowly, keep stirring and let it simmer for 3 minutes so as to have a béchamel sauce. Remove from the heat then add the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper, 3/4 of the gruyere and the grated pecorino. In the meantime, cook the maccheroni and drain them “al dente”. Mix the pasta with the cheese sauce in a bowl, then pour everything in a baking dish, cover with grated gruyere and pecorino, a pinch of paprika, and cook in the oven at 180 degree for 20 minutes.

SPINACH AND RICOTTA LASAGNA

INGREDIENTS

8 lasagna slices / 450 g frozen spinaches / 250 g ricotta cheese / 100 g grated parmesan cheese / 1 glass of milk / 1 mozzarella / salt

Boil the spinaches, drain them and blend them in the mixer. Add the ricotta, grated parmesan, milk and a pinch of salt, then mix everything together. To build the lasagna, cover the bottom of an oven tin with a spoonful of the spinach pesto, the add the lasagna slices. Pour some more spinach mix and spread it well, add some diced mozzarella. Continue adding more lasagna slices, the spinach mix and mozzarella until you have done 4 layers. Finish with some pesto and parmesan cheese. Cook in the oven at 150 C for 20 minutes then change to grill for 5 more minutes.

AROMATIC ROLLS

INGREDIENTS (6-8 servings)

600 g fresh lasagna / 500 g ricotta cheese / 100 g grated parmesan / 400 g béchamel sauce / 20 basil leaves / fresh thyme / 1 egg / half a glass of milk / extravirgin olive oil / nutmeg / salt and pepper

Blend together the thyme with the basil leaves and 2 spoonfuls of olive oil. Pour the mixture in a bowl, add the ricotta, grated parmesan cheese, the egg yolk, a pinch of salt and grated nutmeg. Spread one lasagna dough with the ricotta mixture, roll it and cut it in small cylinders 1-2 cm long. Continue the same way with the remaining ricotta mix and lasagnas. Pour half the béchamel sauce in a baking tin, position the standing pasta cylinders on top of it, one next to each other, cover everything with the remaining béchamel sauce diluted with the milk. Cover with grated parmesan and cook in the oven at 180 C covered with tin foil for 25 minutes. The uncover the baking tin and let the pasta rolls grate for 10 more minutes.

GREEK SPINACH AND FETA QUICHE

INGREDIENTS

2 rolls of puff pastry / 350 g feta cheese / 1 kg fresh spinach / 3 onions / 3 eggs / extravirgin olive oil / salt

Dice the onions and let them brown in a pan with olive oil. In a large pot add the spinach and a glass of water, cover with a lid and let them steam for few minutes. Then drain them and press them so as to lose the water. Add them to the onions in a bowl, together with the eggs and a pinch of salt. Dice the feta cheese and add the cubes to the bowl. Mix everything together. Roll the first puff pastry on a baking tin, with a fork make tiny holes in it, then pour the filling of feta and spinach.Level the filling and cover with the second puff pastry, pinching together the edges. Bake in the oven at 180 C for 50 minutes.

SALMON LASAGNA

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

6 lasagna pasta/ 400 g fresh salmon filet / 300 g robiola or philadelphia cheese / 100 g smoked salmon / 1 shallot / butter / 100 mL milk / grated parmesan cheese / extravirgin olive oil / salt and pepper

Brown the sliced shallots in the butter, add the salmon filet, season with salt and cook until it’s well done and crumbled in small pieces. Blend the sliced smoked salmon with the cream cheese and add some milk to make it into a smooth cream. Nos build the lasagna by spreading some salmon cream on the bottom of a square oven pot. On top of it add 2 lasagna pastry, cover with some more cream, half the salmon pieces and a handful of grated parmesan. Add two more pastry, the salmon cream, the rest of the fresh salmon and more parmesan. Finish with the last two lasagna pastries, a lot of salmon cream, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, drops of oil and butter flakes and pepper. Add some more milk at the four corners of the pot then cook in the oven covered with tin foil at 180 degree for 15 minutes , and 10 more minutes uncovered.

GREEN BEANS PLUM CAKE

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

250 g green beans / 250 g flour / 100 g Roquefort cheese / 100 mL milk / 50 g walnuts / 8 g of yeast / 3 eggs / 3 spoonfuls of extravirgin olive oil / salt

Clean the green beans and dice them, boil them in water for 5 minutes, then drain them. Mix flour and yeast in a bowl, add the whisked eggs, a pinch of salt, milk and oil, and work the dough with a whisk. Add the green beans, the crumbled walnuts and the crumbled Roquefort and mix well. Butter a plum cake tin and pur the mixture inside, cook at 200 C for 35 mites. Once ready let it cool for 5 minutes in the oven, then take it out and serve.

SALTY CARROT CAKE

INGREDIENTS

puff pastry / 400 g carrots / 200 g soft cheese (crescenza or burrata) / 50 g parmesan cheese / thyme / extravirgin olive oil / slat and pepper

Unroll the puff pastry in a baking tin. In a bowl mix together the soft cheese, the grated parmesan, pepper and thyme. Spread this cream on the bottom of the puff pastry with a spoon. Slice the carrots with the veggie peeler and cover with them the top of the cake. Add a sprinkle of oil and salt. Cook in the oven at 180 degree for 25 minutes.

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