The Cannoncini alla Crema is a typical Piedmontese sweet, incredibly popular in several Northern and Central Italian regions. Entering into an Italian pastry shop is easy to find Cannoncini filled with different pastry creams, but the most popular filling is for sure the Vanilla Pastry Cream.
Since I’ve started my ITALIANGOODNESS HOME BAKERY there’s not a day that goes by without a customer asking me if I can make CANNOLI which behind any reasonable doubt are for sure the most popular Italian dessert in the world. Cannoli are typical Sicilian pastries made out of a fried cylindrical shortcrust shell filled with ricotta cheese cream and chocolate chips.
BUT, I was happy to introduce my customer to CANNONCINI ALLA CREMA which , again, are typical from the Northern Italy (the area I come from) and are cones made with oven baked puff pastry and filled with chocolate cream or custard (crema pasticcera).
So today I am sharing with you the recipe to prepare CANNONCINI ALLA CREMA which, if you use store brought puff pastry, are truly super easy to make. You will need 20 stainless steel “Horn molds” and a “Sach a Poch” for the filling. If instead you don’t feel comfortable in baking those yourself and you live in QC area (IOWA-ILLINOIS), contact my ITALIAN HOME BAKERY and order some fresh ones.
INGREDIENTES for about 20 CANNONCINI
1 thaw puff pastry sheet
granulated sugar to dust
1/2 dose of my custard recipe:
3 egg yolks
25 gr. corn starch
250 ml. whole milk
1 lemon peel
80 gr. sugar
First of all prepare the custard by following this recipe, but with the quantities listed up here. Once ready, cover the surface with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator.
Then take the puff pastry sheet out of the freezer and while it thaw, butter and flour the stain steels cones: this apparently annoying procedure will allow your to pull out the cones from the pastry shells easily. Instead of butter you can spray those with butter spray. At this point the puff pastry should be soft enough to be rolled out in a 16” (40 cm) long sheet. Cut it in verticoal stripes 0.7” (2 cm) wide.
Now roll each strip around a cone, making sure to slightly overlap the pastry at each round. Place neatly in a oven sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with egg white and dust with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes at 390 F (200 C.). Pull the cones out of the shells when still warm. Be very delicate because they break easily. Fill the Sac a Poch with the CREMA PASTICCERA (custard) and fill each shell to the edge.
Enjoy right away or keep it refrigerated before serving.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIPS: – These pastries have to be enjoyed fresh, they cannot be prepared ahead of time. The empty shells keep their crunchiness for a few days if stored in a sealed container.
– Custard (crema pasticcera) is the most traditional filling, but they taste great even if filled with chocolate custard or hazelnut cream.
I TRULY HOPE YOU LIKED THIS RECIPE!
Please free to leave a comment and maybe tag me on instagram #beautyandfourkids if you’ll give this recipe a try! AY SAFE and KEEP IN TOUCH!
Pear nectar, aka pear juice (with peach and apricot nectar/juice) are the most popular juices sold and consumed in Italy. You’d be surprise if I’d tell you that in Italy apple juice, fruit punch and grape juice (I said juice, not grape distillate LOL) are rare to find. On my side, I was honestly shocked when we moved in Mid West and I couldn’t find any pear juice or peach juice without entering the expensive organic isle at the groceries store.
Well, now you know that pear nectar and peach nectar are a real thing. They have a velvet and full-bodied flavor, and of course they are rich in vitamins, antioxidant, minerals and fibers, preservative free but most absolutely refreshing and delicious. These nectars are ideal for breakfast, for sneak and even as a base for fancy cocktails.
So, would you like to make your own pear nectar, maybe using the organic pears you just harvested from the pear tree in your yard, and spending one hour at the most of your time?
Just make sure you have at your disposal water, pears and sugar and let’s start!
INGREDIENTS for about 2 liters
1 Liter of water (about 33.8 oz.)
1 kg. pears (about 2.2 lb.)
150 gr. sugar (about 0.33 oz.)
1 lemon juice
Peel the pears and cut in cubes, making sure to take away the core and seeds. In the meantime heat up the water and the sugar until the sugar dissolves.
At this point add the pears, and let it boil for at least 8 minutes. Turn the heat off, and with an immersion blender blend the pears until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.
Take away the bubbles with a skimmer and add the lemon juice.
Stir the drink and pour it in a glass container, even better if closable with a lid.
Keep your nectar refrigerated, enjoy it cold and make sure to finish it up in 3-5 day. Believe me, you’d be surprise about how delicious it is!
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIPS: – Pears have a delicate taste so you can blend your nectar with orange, celery or mint.
– If you’d like a less dense drink, just add more water. If you’d like it more sweet, just add more sugar but I honestly discourage that because pears are usually very sweet themselves.
– If you’d like to can the nectar (and make it last for months), pour the juice still hot in a cleaned and sterilized glass bottle. Seal the lid very well and turn the bottle upside down until cooled off. Then, double boil the bottles in a big pot full of boiling water for 30 minutes. This way your nectar will last 12/14 months even without the use of preservatives! It may be a smart idea labelling the bottles with the date of bottling. Store the juice in a dark place at constant temperature. Remember, once opened the juice must be consumed within 3/5 days.
Childres usually LOVE peached or pears nectars, so if you want to load them with nutrients and vitamins to boost their immune system.. go ahead with this recipe!!!
– If you are looking for more recipes that included pears, you can check out these:
I know you are all wondering what is it that we are planning for THE GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF 2020!!! Well there are two features this year – a double bubble of family fun for the international blogging community to join along with! This is the first of two posts with all the details of this year’s BAKE-OFF!
THE BAKING CONTEST
For those who have been able to find baking essentials on local supermarket shelves, there will be a BAKE-OFF just like last year. Our kitchen guru and baking legend Jeanne, the creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen will be judging this year’s contest.
Remember: THE BAKE-OFF IS 18/19TH JULY 2020
(But please send your photos in anytime between now and then!)
Last year we gave you a specific challenge, but this year we thought we would lift the restrictions (we are all a bit fed up…
Greetings everyone! I am so proud today to write about this phenomenal Strawberries mousse cake, which I learnt to make thanks to the extraordinary blog by the young amazing baker LUCAKE.IT . Luca reinvents all the classic pastries in a modern key, and honestly I truly admire his job!
Anyway strawberries season is getting closer, and actually here in MidWest you can already find fresh strawberries at a very good price, and considering that this cake is made 50% out of fresh strawberries I though I would finally give a try to a “mousse”, which is a kind of sweet that as always intimidated me a little because it requires the use of gelatin.
This cake is light and creamy, structured in alternated layers of strawberries mousse, sponge cake and fresh strawberries. It is also absolutely scenic and ideal for birthdays or fancy dinners. Making it is not complicated, it just needs time, patience and precision (forget to try it if you don’t intend to use a kitchen scale) . And as always, if I made it, you can definitely make it as well!
INGREDIENTS for a 10″ SPRING FORM PAN (20 servings)
FOR THE SPONGE CAKE
8 oz. (225 gr.) egg whites
3 oz. (90 gr.) egg yolks
5.3 oz. (150 gr.) sugar
1.6 oz. (45 gr.) all purpose flour
1 oz. (30 gr.) potatoes or corn starch
2.6 oz. (75 gr.) vegetable oil (my favorite is coconut oil)
1 pinch sea salt
1 tsp. lemon extract
FOR THE MOUSSE
12 oz. (340 gr.) strawberries cut in small cubes
3.5 oz. (100 gr.) granulated sugar
1.4 oz. (40 gr.) water
0.4 oz. (12 gr.) gelatin leaves
13 oz. (375 gr.) heavy whipping cream
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES GELATIN
8.8 oz. (250 gr.) strawberries cut in small cubes
1.4 oz. (40 gr.) granulated sugar
0.3 oz. (10 gr.) water
0.2 oz. (6 gr.) gelatin leaves
FOR THE FILLING AND DECORATION
12-13 small strawberries, washed and cut in half (for the decoration on the pan’s “edge”)
7 oz. (200 gr.) strawberries (cut in small cubes for the filling)
2 strawberries for the top of the cake.
Make sure to weight the eggs white and yolks. The quantities must be accurate. In a stand mixer (or with an electric mixer) mix until white and stiff the egg whites, sugar, pinch of salt and lemon extract. Then add the yolks and keep mixing for a few second until well incorporated. Sift in the flour and starch.
Hand mix gently the flour and starch from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter to become watery. Add the oil and keep hand-mixing gently.
Pour the batter in a 20”x14″ (45×37 cm) baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Try spreading the batter uniformly and bake (preheat the oven) in the middle rack at 375 F. (190 C.) for about 12-13 minutes. When you’ll take the cake out of the oven its surface must be still soft.
Get a clean kitchen cloth, drench it in water, squeeze it to get rid off the excess of water, take the sponge cake out of the oven and flip it onto the wet cloth. Peel off the parchment paper and cover the entire cake’s surface with plastic wrap. When completely cooled, cut two circle out of the sponge cake: a 10” one and a 8″ one.
NOW LET’s START TO BUILD THE CAKE! Line the 10″ spring-form pan with parchment and arrange first the 10″ sponge disk, and then – around the pan’s edge – the “half strawberries”.
NOW START PREPARING THE MOUSSE: wet the gelatin leaves in some cold water for at least five minutes. In medium size pot, add water, sugar and the 12 oz. (340 gr.) strawberries cut in cubes. Bring the mix to boil and cook at medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook because you need the mix to be very liquid. Blend the mix with an immersion blender.
Sieve the pulp with a thin strainer to get rid off the strawberries seeds. In a bowl weight 0.8 oz. (375 gr.) of strained pulp and in case you don’t have enough add water to reach that weight. If the pulp is still warm, squeeze the gelatin leaves and melt directly into the pulp, otherwise, warm up a few seconds the pulp in the microwave so it will be warm enough to melt the gelatin.
In a separate bowl whisk the heavy whipping cream until fluffy. Pour the warm pulp (mixed with gelatin) and stir gently from the bottom to the top with a spatula. Pour half of the mousse in the spring form pan, then add randomly half of the strawberries cubes (about 3.5 oz. or 100 gr.).
Place now in order the smaller sponge disk, the rest of the mousse, and the remaining strawberries cubes, making sure they disappear under it. Let the cake rest in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, so that the mouse will set.
GET READY TO PREPARE THE STRAWBERRIES GELATINE: Wet the gelatin leaves in cold water for at least 5 minutes. In a small pan add water, sugar, the strawberries cubes , bring it to boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Blend the mix with an immersion blender and sieve the pulp with a strainer.
In a bowl weight 8 oz. (230 gr.) of strained pulp and in case you don’t have enough add water to reach that weight. Slightly warm up the pulp and melt in the gelatin previously well squeezed.
Let the strawberries gelatin cool down a little and then pour it on top of the gelatin mousse, making sure it covers evenly all the spots. Let the cake rest in the fridge for at least two more hours. When the cake is well set, open the spring form pan, place the cake in a nice platter and decorated it with a few strawberries.
Your super fancy strawberries mousse cake is ready to be enjoy! You’ll leave your guests speechless!
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIPS: -Don’t throw away the sponge cake leftovers: cut it in small pieces, dust with powdered sugar and let bake at 350 F. (180 C.) until golden. They will turn in yummy crunchy cookies.
– Remember to use a spring-form pan otherwise it will be impossible to take the cake out of it.
– For the mousse and gelatin you can use fresh or frozen fruit. Strawberries can be substitute with mixed berries instead.
-If you are not confident in using gelatin leaves, you can use instead 1 and a 1/2 packs of gelatin powder.
– Since during strawberries season they are more flavored and usually less expensive, I would buy a big batch, wash them and cut them in cubes and keep it frozen until you decide to make this cake.
– The flavor of this strawberries mousse cake is absolutely delicate. The texture is velvety and refreshing. Anyone that likes fresh treats will fall in love with it!
I really hope you will like this recipe!
Please, Keep me posted if you’ll try it and don’t be shy to share your thoughts with me!
Social distancing – more or less translatable with “shelter in place” – is effecting my life in many ways. Letting go those aspects related to motherhood (home-schooling, tolerating four “kids different in ages 24/7, find the strength to not live in my pjs and trying working -out regularly), Coronavirus hit my being an home-baker and Italian food lover in two ways: a bad one, and a good one.
Let’s start with the good one: I have more time and motivation to experiment new recipes.
Bad one: whatever I bake or cook (always too much even for a family of six) we eat.
So today I’d like to share with you this strawberry bundt cake recipe because 1) it’s a new one I tried (and modify) from the Italian blog cookaround to get rid off some strawberry yogurt my daughters refused to eat: 2) it’s a low fat one, so my extra-baking would have a lower impact on our waist lines 😉 LOL.
To prepare this strawberry yogurt bundt cake I used the “bundt cake pan” because I love its shape and I feel like it makes such a simple pound cake so appealing, but believe me, I’m sharing this strawberry yogurt bundt cake recipe with you because it’s absolutely delightful, perfect for an healthy snack or an afternoon tea party, or just because you need some comfort in these days. Its strong strawberry scent will pervade your whole kitchen and it will be hard resisting to take it out of the pan only when completely cooled.
INGREDIENTS for a bundt cake pan or a 9” baking pan
4 eggs at room temperature
9 oz. (250 gr.) granulated sugar
1 lemon zest or 1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup (130 ml.) vegetable oil (my favorite is coconut oil)
10 oz. (250 gr.) strawberry yogurt at room temperature
2 cups (290 gr.) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (50 gr.) potatoes or corn starch
2 tsp. (16 gr.) baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
Using an electric whip, with eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon extract (or zest) in a big bowl, for at least 5 minutes.
Keep whisking and add the oil and yogurt. When well incorporated, sift in flour, starch, baking powder and sea salt.
Preheat the oven at 375 F (175 C.). Start stirring gently from the bottom to the top (to avoid the batter to get runny) until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated. Your batter will look lumpy. Don’t worry about that. Avoid stirring too much otherwise your cake will be dry and gummy.
Pour the batter in a greased 9″ round cake pan (I’d prefer a bundt cake pan, but’s its’ optional) and bake for 40 minutes in the medium rack (check with a stick if the cake is ready, otherwise keep it in the over for few more minutes).
Let the cake cool off, flip it into a nice platter, dust it with powdered sugar and decorate with fresh strawberries. YUM!
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
– If you don’t have coconut oil at home feel free to use any other oil but avoid the “olive oil” because its strong taste would overcome the strawberry flavor.
– This cake can last up to three days if stored in a container with a glass dome, otherwise it will get very dry very quickly.
I warn you: this cake is highly addictive, anytime my girls and I prepare it (they love helping me in the kitchen) it’s gone the same day!
– If you’d like to try other “butter free” cakes and treats check out also:
I have never been jealous about my family cooking experience, traditions, and recipes, and the first proof of it is this blog! Nevertheless I confess lately I’ve been feeling guilty because many friends keep asking me why I haven’t posted yet my original ITALIAN RAGU SAUCE recipe (otherwise known as “BOLOGNESE” sauce), since it is probably the most popular worldwide! Well, the recipe is not a secret, simply the true is that:
1) I cannot promise that the recipe I am sharing with you could be considered the “only and original Italian Ragu Sauce” because in every different Italian region they have different methods and main ingredients to make their “Ragu Sauce” (Bolognese Sauce). For instance, in Emilia Romagna (the Region of Bologna) to make Ragu Sauce they use minced loin of pork, beef, bacon and ham; in Campania (the Region of Naples) they use pork and beef as well, but not minced (and needs to be cooked for at least 6 hours!); in Veneto (Venezia Region, and the one I come from), they make Ragu Sauce either out of duck, turkey or pork with the particularity to make the sauce more creamy by using whipping cream…. I could go on for each of the 20 Italian Regions!!!
2) My mom never gave me an official lists of ingredients she uses to make her amazingly delicious Ragu’ Sauce, nor the quantities, but I have always watch her eyeballs the ingredients and use some of them (broth or wine for example) according to their availability at that moment. So my Ragu Sauce (Bolognese Sauce), is cooked differently each time I make it, but I will try to sum the most important part here, so you will be able to make YOUR original Italian Style Ragu Sauce!
Since it takes many hours to make Ragu Sauce (and be aware: Italians don’t use the slow cooker, actually they absolutely don’t know it exists), I usually make a big pot of it (approximately 4 pounds), because I know that even if I’m not using it all immediately, I can freeze it without loosing any in taste or texture. My Ragu Sauce recipe is quiet quick (not more than three hours of cooking), easy about the ingredients (just ground beef and Italian sausage), and of course, according to my family, the best Ragu Sauce ever!!!
2 lb. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage (ground pork, without fennel seeds)
1 medium sized white onion
1 big (or 2 medium sized) carrots
2-3 sticks of celery
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tbsp. dry rosemary
1 pinch nut meg
1 pinch dry thyme
1 pinch dry sage
2 can plain tomatoes sauce
1 cup water
about 4 tbs. olive oil (or 1/2 stick of unsalted butter)
1/2 cup red wine or meat stock
optional: 1 meat bouillon
Peel the onion and wash carefully celery and carrots. Chop it all very finely. (You can use your food processor). With a fork, split the mince meat (beef and pork) as much as possible.
In a big nonstick pot, pan fry at medium heat the onion, celery, carrot in the olive oil (or butter if you prefer that option). When the vegetables look cooked, add the meat, turn up the heat and brown the meat until it changed color and its liquid is evaporated completely. Stir every now and then and season with the spices (rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, sage), and salt and pepper to taste.
When the meat has changed color, add a glass of red wine (or meat stock) and allow it to evaporate in the mixture. Then add the tomato sauce and a cup of water. Reduce the heat so you don’t burn the meat but keep it high enough for the sauce to keep the boil, and simmer for at least two more hours. After the first half hour, taste the sauce and if it seems too bland, adjust with sea salt and add a beef bouillon. Again, every now and then check your sauce and stir it.
The sauce is done when all the liquid of the tomatoes and water are evaporated and the meat have the color and consistency as shown in these pictures.
At this point you can spread a slice of fresh bread with Ragu Sauce and enjoy it on the spot (I am guilty of that). When the sauce is completely cooled off, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer.
Remember to heat up well the sauce before dressing your noodles or tagliatelle.
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!
Tips and anecdotes:
– As with any Italian traditional recipe, every family has its own and generally the Ragu Sauce (or Bolognese Sauce) is lauded as the best family ever. When I lived in Italy I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the sentence “my mom’s Ragu sauce is the best” or “the ragu that I do it’s not like yours” 😉. Obviously this depends on whether the family recipes are adapted to the tastes of their components, to meet the consensus of them all.
– Besides “tagliatelle”, Ragu Sauce is the best to dress home made lasagna (for my family home made fresh past recipe click here), or home made gnocchi. My daughters love Ragu Sauce on top of a slice of fresh bread (as I do, after all!)
– If you are wandering how to store the sauce, I use sandwich sized Ziplog bags, fill them with about 1 lb. of sauce and freeze it. With 1 lb. sauce you can dress up to 1.5 lb. tagliatelle.
I so hope you will find this recipe interesting, appealing and easy enough to be followed.
I believe this is the perfect recipe to try during this period of mandatory social distancing!
I would love to know how you are coping with this dark period of our history and
which are the recipes you like to prepare the most in these days!
You know me well and you know how much I love cooking and baking so in these days of forced self isolation (because of COVID Pandemic) I am trying new recipes, that possibly could involve also my daughters in the kitchen, and that would satisfy our sweet tooth without being too caloric.
I found this Yogurt and Chocolate Chips muffins’ recipe at the Italian blog Spadellandia.it and get temped by it because it uses Yogurt as fat component for the muffins. So – with my girls – we tried it, modified it a little according to our tastes, and we loved it! What we liked about these Yogurt and chocolate chips muffins is that they contain yogurt instead of butter, some flour is substitute with starch to make it lighter, and because you basically mix all the ingredients together, bake it, and enjoy it! We love having them with our morning latte, or for a yummy and low fat snack.
The batter makes 6 big muffins, or 12 medium muffins or 24 mini muffins, we tried all the options and we preferred the last one the most, so we could eat “more” with less sense of guilt.
1 cup (8 oz. or 160 gr.) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (4 oz. or 100 gr.) potatoes or corn starch
1/3 cup (80 gr.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (250 gr.) plain yogurt or vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup (6 oz. or 180 gr.) granulated sugar
1 tbs. lemon extract OR 1 tbs. vanilla extract
3 tsp. (16 gr.) sifted baking powder
1/2 cup (4 oz. or 80 ml.) vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
a pinch of sea salt
In a big bowl sift the flour, starch and baking powder so your batter will not have any lumps. In a separate bowl mix eggs, sugar, sea salt and whisk it well by hand. Then add the lemon or vanilla flavoring and the oil, mixing well.
Warm up the oven at 360 F (180 C.). Pour the liquid ingredients in the bowl with the flours (or vice versa), add also the chocolate chip and mix the ingredients well enough to get an even batter, but not too much otherwise your muffins will become gummy.
Pour the batter in the muffins pan and bake for about 20 minutes.
Take it out of the oven, let it cool off and enjoy!!!!
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
– If you are having a party or you need a big batch of muffins, don’t be afraid and just double the ingredients. I’ve tried that and it turned out great.
– Use the lemon or vanilla flavoring only if you truly love their aftertaste: their flavors will come trough very strong.
– These muffins are absolutely heaven when fresh baked. If stored in a sealed container they will last up to a week but their consistency will get drier.
Calling all the Valentine’s Day lovers!!!! Valentine’s at my house is more a celebration for the kids than for my husband and I, so I am planning to prepare these super easy Molten Chocolate Lava mini cakes for breakfast on Valentine’s Day… ready in 15 minutes, they are perfect for a sweet themed breakfast, and I know for sure It will make my family very happy!
Before to start listing ingredients and sharing directions keep in mind that: 1) you will have to put in the freezer the Nutella at least three hours ahead of time, so if you are planning to make these for breakfast, go ahead and set it the night before. 2) You will need a 6 Cavity Silicone Heart Mold for shaping your mini cakes. Even a regular 6 cavity muffin mold will work, only you will not have the “heart” shapes.
INGREDIENTS FOR 6 HEARTS
2 eggs – 2 uova
5 0z. Nutella -150 gr. nutella
1.5 oz. all purpose flour – 40 gr. farina
3.5 oz. granulated sugar – 100 gr. zucchero
1 stick unsalted butter – 100 gr. burro
4.4. oz. good quality dark chocolate – 130 gr. dark cioccolato fondente
dark cocoa for dusting – cacao amaro quanto basta
optional: whipping cream for decorating
The night before (or at least three hours before baking the hearts)
Scoop six equal servings of Nutella in six holes of a plastic ice cube tray. If you don’t own it, go to your closest Dollar Tree store to get one.
15 Minutes before servings your molten lava mini cakes.
Butter the silicon hearts mold, and evenly dust it with dark cocoa. Double boil the butter and dark chocolate (previously chopped in tiny pieces) until melted.
Take the melted mix away from the heat, add the sugar and hand-whip. Then add one egg at a time and keep whipping. Finally, add sifted flour and stir.
Preheat the oven at 410 F (200 C.). Once the flour is evenly incorporated to the batter, scoop one tbs. of batter to each heart. Take away the Nutella from the freezer and place each single frozen block of Nutella in each heart. Cover the nutella with the remaining batter.
Bake only 10 minutes. Once baked, place each heart in a nice plate, decorate with whipping cream, and enjoy still warm! The molten nutella inside the heart will make the trick!
YUM!!! So delicious!
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
– My family and I are addicted to these cakes, so I’ve made those multiple times. I tried substituting the butter with Coconut oil! I loved it, but some of my family members disagreed. If you’d like the idea of using oil instead of butter, follow the same direction and ingredients but use 2.2 oz of coconut oil instead of butter.
– Leftovers are still good but Nutella will harden.
Greetings everyone! This past week I wrote a post for the QUAD CITIES MOM’S BLOG, to help anybody who are planning to prepare a romantic home made Valentine’s dinner, in an easy and affordable way.
If you trust my cooking experience, and don’t mind the idea… keep reading!!!!
“It seems like yesterday we celebrated Christmas, and yet it is already time to get ready for Valentine’s Day. Here is an idea to surprise your significant other in an easy, affordable and very romantic way: a private “Italian Style” home-cooked dinner, where the cooking part is the gift to each other! In my years as a private cooking class teacher and private dinner chef I’ve been invited many times by couples that wished to learn how to cook some basic Italian dishes, but I believe that your night will be more romantic if you cook together and enjoy your Valentine’s dinner without any intrusion. More special, and much more affordable! So here is the step by step guide to arranging an easy (but perfect), affordable and romantic Italian Style Valentine’s dinner at your house:
Ask in advance for grandparents, best friends or godparents to babysit your children for a few hours. Of course, it would be amazing having the whole evening alone, but most of the time it’s impossible, so plan to spend about three hours alone together. The first two will be dedicated to cooking and eating, the third one… your choice!
Shop at the Dollar Tree for a few cute and cheap Valentine’s things to decorate the table. It could be heart-shaped charger plates, centerpiece or candle holders, or matching aprons. It’s important to set the right atmosphere for romance.
Have an easy menu in mind. Read the recipes multiple times and have the groceries ready by the night before and … your easy and affordable Italian Style private Valentine’s dinner is set!
But let’s take a step back and find the right menu that could be easy, fast and romantic for you. I think around here, most of us like bacon, so here are my choices for authentic Italian dishes for you for on this special occasion:
WHILE YOU ARE COOKING: A middle-age aperitif could be perfect to warm the atmosphere before starting the cooking phase. It’s not too alcoholic to blur your judgment, so you should be good following cooking directions even while sipping it! This cocktail is quite simple to prepare but collecting all the ingredients may be complicated since they are hard to find locally. If you don’t feel like making things too complicated, just skip this and pass directly to the main menu (I will talk about the “wine pairing” later).
Time of preparation: 20 minutes. Resting time: 30 minutes in the freezer.
Level of difficulty: easy.
Ingredients cost: about $8 (if you already have Rum at home).
Now that I’ve listed the recipes I’d pick, I would like to disclose some tricks and tips to manage your time while cooking these dishes as a couple-in a fun way-but mostly, with the certainty of an excellent dinner!
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION of the COOKING: for your easy and affordable romantic, Italian Style, home-cooked Valentine’s dinner to turn out exactly how you desire, follow these tips:
1) First half an hour, let one of the puff pastry sheets thaw out on the counter and in the meantime prepare the dessert. (If your coffee is super hot, don’t worry, the rum will balance it and get it to room temperature).
2) When the dessert is made, put it in the freezer and begin arranging the starter. (It will not take more than 10-15 minutes).
3) Once the puff pastry hearts are in the oven, start the pot of water for the spaghetti on the stove. It should reach the boil once you are done eating your appetizer, and while the noodles are cooking (it usually takes about 13 minutes for the thick spaghetti) you will have time to prepare the pasta sauce. If you want to make sure you are cooking the spaghetti in the authentic Italian way, read this quick tutorial.
4) Enjoy the dessert at any time you please.
5) Please avoid the temptation to cook all at once, and then eating all at once, because a) it is very “not Italian”- eating all different kinds of food at the same time b) each recipe I suggested (besides the dessert) tastes delicious only if eaten still warm.
ONE LAST IMPORTANT DETAIL: The wine pairing. I would like to suggest to you a couple of wines that you can find at ALDI that are absolutely affordable, terrific in taste and authentic Italian. The first one is “Prosecco di Valdobbiadene“- it will be perfect as “aperitif” while you wait for your appetizer to be done, and again while enjoying your dessert. It’s dry with a little sparkle. I think it’s impossible not to fall for it. The second one is the “Alberone“- it’s a red wine, not too full-bodied, but yet very aromatic and absolutely delicious if enjoyed with the spaghetti!
I believe I’ve shared with you all my best suggestions for an easy and affordable romantic, Italian Style home-cooked Valentine’s dinner, but please, if you need more information or have any questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment!
Happy Valentine’s Day!”
I really hope you enjoyed this post, and I would love to know if your’ll decide to prepare this menu on Valentine’s Day or any other day!!!