My “original” Italian Ragu Sauce (Bolognese Sauce)!

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!!!

INGREDIENTS

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

Direction

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!

Much love

Silvia

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more! 

Venetian style Cod fish (Baccala’ alla Veneta)

Baccala' alla Veneta

Baccalà alla Veneta (Venetian style Cod fish) is salted cod: codfish that has been dried and preserved in salt.  In the past it was considered the food of the poor, because cheap and not fresh.  The truth, though, is that nowadays is quite an expensive kind of sea food and well cooked baccalà is a delight: firm, slightly chewy, and not at all fishy in flavor.  Baccala' alla Veneta

I made Baccala’ this past Christmas Eve because it’s a traditional Christmas Eve’s dish in the Northern Italy, but I found the courage to post it only today, not because it’s hard to prepare, but just because it was a  little tricky to me explaining in English the method!

As I told already, Venetian Style Cod fish (Baccala’ alla Veneta) is actually stock fish or dried cod. What the rest of Italy calls stoccafisso the “Vicentini” call baccalà, simmered in milk until it becomes libidinously creamy. However, my recipe is unique* because as a child I’ve lived at the border between two Italian “counties” (province): Vicenza and Treviso, so my mother’s styled Baccala’ it’s a mix of the traditional recipes of these two areas.

Before starting with ingredients and method, be aware that Baccalà requires soaking ahead of time,  since it is heavily salted for preservation. Many Italian delicatessens sell pre-soaked baccalà on Fridays, but I recall my mom preferring to buy it and soak it herself, because cheaper, and because she could select the piece she wanted and tailor the soaking to fit it.

Here in Mid West I could easily find a “salted codfish” stored in 1 lb. sized wooden box. To prepare it, I rinsed the salt off and soaked it in cold water for 12 or more hours, depending upon its thickness (remember to keep it refrigerated during soaking,) changing the water 2 to 3 times. Once it has soaked, this kind of cod fish is ready to be cooked.

DIRECTION for a very big pan of baccala’

2 lbs. sea salted cod – 1 kg. baccala’

1 clove garlic – 1 spicchio d’aglio

1 lb. white onion  – 500 gr. cipolle bianche

1 pinch nut meg  – 1 pizzico noce moscata

about 1/4 gal. whole milk – 1 litro di latte intero

1 tbs. Italian parsley to taste – prezzemolo quanto basta

14 oz. Extra Virgin olive oil – 1/2 lt. olio extravergine di oliva

flour for breading – farina per la panatura

1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese – 100 gr. Parmigiano gratuggiato

7 anchovies – 7 acciughe

DIRECTION

First of all make sure to have all the ingredients ready to go: peel and finely chop the onions, peel the garlic, wash and finely chop the parsley, grate the parmesan and pat dry the anchovies. Bread the cod fillets, previously pat dried.

In a very large nonstick pan heat about  8 oz. (250 ml.) Extravergin olive oil and garlic and then cook the cod filets on all sides until brow, at high heat. It will take about five minutes.

Once browned, throw the garlic away, move the cod filets in a plate, add a little of Extravegin olive oil to the same pan and cook the mix of onions, parsley and anchovies for about 5 minutes at lower heat, stirring every now and then to avoid burning.

After about 5 minutes, add the browned cod filets to the onion and keep cooking until the onion becomes translucent and the cod starts breaking in smaller pieces. Add the parmesan and the nutmeg and keep stirring occasionally until the onion is completely cooked. It will take about 8-10 minutes.

Warm up half of the milk (a couple of minutes in the microwave), move the mix in a oven pan, cover the mix with the milk and bake at 360 F (180 C) for about one hour. If after 30 minutes the cod seems too dry, add the rest of milk (previously warmed up). When done, your cod fish will have a yummy crunchy crust on top.

Let the cod cool off a few minutes and serve still warm, possibly sided with polenta.

OMG, this dish is simply heaven! Your house will smell delicious and not “fishy” at all!

LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS AND FACTS:

– Venetian style Cod Fish usually crumbles on the plate when served and I wasn’t able to get a decent picture to post. That is why I used the one from the cook book my mom’s has taken as inspiration*, as feature image (sorry about that!). The book I am talking about  is called “Cucina e Tradizione nel Veneto“, it’s very old and probably not on the market anymore. It’s a collection of Venetian recipes written by the “ISTITUTI ALBERGHIERI DEL VENETO” and this is the cover’s picture:

– Venetian style Cod Fish is a very rich food (think about the quantity of olive oil needed). That’s why it doesn’t require special side dishes but polenta (or maybe a simple salad).

– Leftovers can be frozen and taste absolutely the same when thaw. I usually freeze it in small portions to have just enough for one meal.

– Some fancy Italian Bars serve Baccala’ as appetizer, scooped in small cups over a polenta serving. It warms the tummies and goes very well with “SPRITZ“.

– As I told you, while you soak the cod the previous day, you’ll have to keep it refrigerated. Well, if the baked cod smells delicious, the dried one smells terribly, so I would suggest to cover it with a plastic foil, and – if cold enough – to store it in the garage or in a second refrigerator away from kitchen and living room (LOL).

WHAT DO YOU THINK? HAVE YOU EVER EATEN BACCALA’?

WOULD YOU TRIED IT, AFTER READING MY POST?

I HOPE SO !!!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more! 

Roasted almonds Croccante: share with your friends the Christmas Italian tradition

single servings croccante

almonds croccanteGreetings everyone!

Christmas is almost here and my kitchen is so busy and messy with me preparing all small edible gifts for family and friends (and having all the baking done to make my home bakery’s customers happy)!  As you probably already know in this season I like baking plenty of Italian Cantucci Biscotti and Baci di Dama, but those require quite a bit of time in the oven. The treat I am writing about today is traditional during Christmas period in the South of Italy (Calabria), it’s very fast to prepare and with just three ingredients: oven baked almonds, honey (good quality one) and granulated sugar.  The result is a super crunchy caramel bar, sweet but not too much, and absolutely addictive: once you start eating it you can’t help but keep eating until you’ve eaten whole thing!

I have to tell you that I brought these “Croccante” mini bars to my local Freight House Farmers Market in the past weeks and they sold very very good! One of the reason, besides the fact that it’s delicious, it’s probably  because this treat is EGGS FREE, LACTOSE FREE and GLUTEN FREE. single servings croccante

This recipe requires 10 minutes max, plus the time to bake the almonds if they are not already baked. With these quantities you will obtain about 12 pieces about 3oz. (or 100) big.

Be aware that to prepare the Croccante you will need a food thermometer.

INGREDIENTS

1.10 lb. (500 gr.) oven baked peeled almond

7 oz. (200 gr.) granulated sugar

5 oz. (150 gr.) best quality honey (I used organic clover honey)

DIRECTIONS

If your almonds are not already baked, bake it at 360 F. for about 10 minutes and let it cooling off.

Cover your working surface with parchment.

In a big non-stick pan bring honey and sugar to boil and keep stirring until the mix reaches 338 F. (170 C.). Keeping the temperature controlled will avoid the caramel to burn and taste bitter.

At this point, take away the caramel from the heat, add the almonds, mix quickly the ingredients and  pour the mix on the parchment paper (or on a marble surface). With a wet rolling pin flat the mix as thin as possible. Let it cool off and cut in bars as big as you wish.

The cutting phase will be easier if you’ll use a sharp knife, slightly wet with water.

LEARN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!!!!

TIPS: – When still hot the mixture can be shaped in different shapes, like a star, or a Christmas Tree, or whatever you may like.

– Be very careful while you are handling the hot mixture because it will be very hot and the chances to get burned are very high (especially if you are not an expert). The first time I prepared Croccante I burned all my left fingertips plus my lips because I was so an anxious to eat the Croccante that I put the hot ladle in my mouth! Vey bad idea! But it was soo good!!!

– Cutting the Croccante is not necessary unless you wish to make single servings.single servings croccante

– Best way to store the Croccante is inside a tin, in a cool and dry room. It will last for days.

– As cute edible Christmas gift, you can cut the Croccante, wrap it in parchment and tie it with kitchen wire.

I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this week, I promise, you will fall in love with this easy treat!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

MUCH LOVE,

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

Butternut squash and porcini mushrooms noodles. Different. Fast. Easy. Delicious.

Porcini mushrooms and butternut squash noodles

Hello everybody! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week, or just a wonderful week for those that live out of the United States! Butternut squash and porcini pasta

Today I would like to share with you the recipe of a super easy and fast pasta recipe, that my family enjoys very much and that is typical in fall and winter in the Alps area where porcini mushrooms are very popular and appreciated. Here in Mid-west porcini are impossible to be found fresh, but the dried ones, if soaked in warm water for a little time, can substitute the fresh ones quite fine.

Porcini mushrooms and pumpkin are two ingredients that get along very well together, and that I like to use also to prepare my favorite soup and favorite risotto.   So if you’d like to try a vegetarian noodles recipe that can be prepared in 30 minutes and tastes delicious, follow the directions below!

4 servings ingredients

1 pack or 60 gr. dried porcini mushrooms

1/2 medium sized butternut squash peeled and chopped in small cubes

1/2 medium sized white onion

4 tsp. rosmary (better if fresh)

1 cloves garlic

about 2+3 tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. sage

pepper to taste

sea salt to taste

1 package or 1 lb. noodles or tagliatelle

DIRECTIONS

First, soak the dried porcini in a cup of warm water for at least 15 minutes, or follow the packaging directions if different. Take away the butternut squash skin and seeds and chop in very thin cubes. Cut the onion very thin. Peel the garlic and take away its “stem”.

Drain the mushrooms, but keep some of the water used to soak them. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve or even coffee filter to avoid sand. If some mushrooms looks too big in size, feel free to cut them in two with a kitchen scissors. Heat a big pot of salted water where you will cook the noodles (or the other kind of pasta you picked) as soon as the water will start boiling, rigorously the Italian way ;-).

In a skillet heat 2 tbs. of olive oil, then add garlic, rosemary and the chopped onion and cook them until the onion becomes translucent (be careful not to burn). At this point, add the porcini, a pinch of sea salt and 1 tsp. nutmeg. Let the mushrooms cook for about ten minutes at medium heat, being careful not to burn them, stirring once in a while. You’ll know they are cooked once they become tender.

In the meanwhile, in a pan, add 3 tbs. olive oil and when the oil gets hot, add the chopped butternut squash, 2 tsp. rosemary, 1 tbs. sage, and a pinch of sea salt and cook until  becomes brownish and tender. It would take about  ten to fifteen minutes at medium heat, stirring occasionally, and always be careful not to burn.

Now that mushrooms and squash are cooked, move the mushrooms into the squash skillet.  Probably the noodles will be cooked, so dry those very well in a colander, then toss it into the mushrooms and squash dressing, mix it very well and serve still warm. YUM! So delicious!

LEANR IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS: – usually noodles are very fast to get cooked, so if you feel a little nervous with this recipe, I would suggest to prepare first the two “dressings”, and then the noodles.

I really hope you enjoyed my recipe this week, and If so, please don’t forget to like it, share it or leave a comment! And if you’ll decide to subscribe, you will be informed weekly and for free about any new recipes I will post!

MUCH LOVE,

SILVIA

If you’d like to experiment more “mushrooms recipes” you may want to have a look to:

1) Velvety dried porcini soup;

2) Butternut squash and porcini in disguise soup;

3) Butternut squash and porcini risotto.

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

5 Favorite comforting but light Italian wintery soups

Fall is such an hard season for me: on one side, I love it, with all the colors, the mild temperatures and Halloween, but at the same time I loathe it, because the end of summer makes me sad, I  would say it kind of depress me, and (it may be good or bad) it makes me crave for food, and inevitably makes me gain weight! However, I have a strategy to “contain” the food cravings (and the number of extra pounds, LOL) which  is warming myself up and satisfying my appetite with delicious but healthy homemade soups. top five most popular italian soups

Here is my favorite top 5 Italian soups list that I prepare every week, alternating one to another weekly to not get bored, and that all my family members appreciate and enjoy with me (well, not all of them, precisely 😉 ):

Italian light vegetable soup 1) VEGETABLE SOUP: this is the easiest to make, few and cheap ingredients are required, if you skip the potatoes (and minimize the olive oil) it’s like zero point on the weight watchers, and can be enjoyed all week long (if refrigerated). It can also be frozen, so you can prepare a big pot of it and storage in one serving containers if necessary.

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Orange buttenut squash soup2) ORANGE CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP: besides the pain of cutting the squash in pieces,  this soup is super easy, absolutely creamy and delicious and if you cook in it small pasta’s kinds (like farro) it looks like macaroni and cheese, without cheese! Not to mention all the benefits of orange food: abundance of antioxidant, vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients, good for your skin, eyes and heart.

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Leeks, potaotes and broccoli velvety soup3) LEEKS, POTATOES and BROCCOLI VELVETY SOUP: This one is really fast to make, the broccoli taste blends perfectly with the potatoes and leeks and somehow you can barely recognize their taste, it’s delicious and my favorite one when I feel like I have to detox after the holiday’s binges.

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butternut squash and porcini mushrooms soup4) BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PORCINI IN DISGUISE SOUP: add a pack of dried porcini mushrooms, some nutmeg, and a mushrooms bouillon to your butternut squash soup, and you will obtain a scrumptious porcini mushrooms soup “in disguise”.

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Dried porcini mushrooms soup5) VELVETY PORCINI SOUP: This one is the one my kids have refused to try (I hate when they decide they don’t like a food without even giving it a try!), maybe because of the its brownish color, but to be honest, it’s so delicious that my husband and I are quite happy to keep it all for ourselves! This last soup it’s not that light, it’s not fast to be made, has not cheap ingredients (make the butternut squash “in disguise soup” instead if you want). But believe me, once you’ve tried it, you will place it in your top soups list!!!!

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Now that I’ve refreshed your memory with my favorite winter soups, I wanted to apologize for not posting new recipes lately (yes, it’s always my new home bakery business’ fault), but I promise I will try my best to share new contents soon, but in the meanwhile I’d like to hear from you:

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FALL-WINTERY SOUP?

WUOLD YOU BE WILLING TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE WITH ME?

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I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

Italian Pumpkin Flowers Fritters: at the Pumpkin Patch don’t forget to pick up those flowers too!!!

Last week I went to a field trip to the Pride of the Wapsy Pumping Patch with my preschooler, and , fun thing, while the children (mine included) where walking trough the field to find the perfect pumpkin I was picking those beautiful “male” pumpkin flowers that made the patch yellow and bright!   Few minutes before, indeed, the farmer was explaining us how the “female” flowers fall from the pumpkin when it grows meanwhile the “male” ones – which are not attached to any fruit – keep blossoming during the season.

Well, long story short, in Italy those flowers (and the zucchini flowers) are very well known as a delightful ingredients for amazing fritters. When the farmer told me to help myself, I harvested a bag of those, took them home, and prepared this very popular Italian recipe, which is also a very common finger food you can find at wedding’s buffets, and fancy restaurants.how a pumpkin flower fritter looks like

Super easy, just three ingredients (plus the peanut oil for frying) and get ready to try this deliciousness!!! Just to be clear, this is my family recipe, but I know for sure other Italians may tell you that the batter needs also eggs, or baking soda, or freezing water. Nothing to say about those other recipes: to me, my mom’s one works perfectly. The flowers will taste crispy and tasty, they won’t absorb too much oil, and be perfect for an “alternative” snack or as a finger food appetizer.  One last thing, depending on your preferences, you can drizzle the flowers either with sugar (if you are more for sweet treats) or sea salt (if you are more a “savory food” lover), and in this latest case, you can also decide – before to immerge the flowers in the batter – to stuff it with Provolone or Asiago cheese, to make it even more appealing!

INGREDIENTS FOR ABOUT 15 FLOWERS

7 oz. (100 gr). all purpose flour

7 oz. (200 ml.) beer (any kind works but better a blond one)

peanut oil for deep frying

DIRECTIONS

When you pick up and bag your flowers it may be that during the ride home some bugs come out. Don’t freak out, it’s quite common finding bugs in flowers. Once home, just was the flowers well but delicately,  pat them dry and take away the stems and pistils.

Prepare the batter by hand whisking the flour and beer, and let the batter resting in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.  In a medium sized pot, pour enough peanut oil to fry the flowers, and bring it at 350-350 F.  (170-180 Celsius).

Meantime take a flower at a  time and deep into the batter making sure is well covered all around. Once the oil reaches the right temperature, fry the flowers (not more than two-three at a  time to not bring the oil temperature down) for about a minute for side, then using a holed ladle,  take them out into a plate covered in paper towel (to absorb any oil in excess).

Sprinkle with sea salt or sugar (depending if you’d prefer a savory or sweet treat) and serve still warm. YUMMMMM!This is how a pumping flower fritter looks like

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!!!!

TIPS: – Ideal would be frying the flowers the same day you picked them up. But If you don’t, seal them in a container and keep them refrigerated until it’s time to fry them.

– Even if they look withered when you pick them up, they will taste great anyway. Just be carful they don’t are rot (black and bad smelling).

– these flowers are delicious even in risotto or noodles, and they match perfectly with squash (of course!), cheese and other vegetables.

– When I prepare this batter, if I don’t have pumpkin flowers, I fry sliced zucchini, or sage leaves, or broccoli and carrots, and they all turn out amazing!

Have you ever tried pumpkin flower fritters? What do you think about it?   

I really hope you liked my post this week, and if you did,

please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

Puff pastry and apples roses: what a cute and yummy recipe!

Ciao a tutti! I felt so guilty last week when I published that (apparently) complicated and extra wordy post about macarons that today I decided to share with you a recipe that is easy and fast but not traditionally Italian.  Besides, it’s super popular and mostly absolutely appropriate for this period of the year where we are about to say goodbye to summer and welcome fall.    I am talking about these super cute roses made with puff pastry and apples, that I’ve wanted to try in a long time and that only yesterday I decided to experiment. There are tons of tutorial and recipes on Pinterest I’ve read as inspiration, and I came out with my own, which I am sharing with you in few minutes.

These absolutely adorable and tasty roses can be prepared with any kind of apples but those with red skin would work better as for the esthetic effect. For 6 pieces you will need only a bunch of

INGREDIENTS

1 puff pastry sheet

2 apples

1 lemon juice

2 tbs. water

cinnamon to taste

apricot preserve

They are so easy to prepare that you will want to give it a try asap!

DIRECTIONS

If you are using frozen puff pastry, make sure to take it out of the freezer and store in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before.

Wash the apples, take away the stem and core, and cut in very thin slices (thin because otherwise it will be impossible to shape them).

Place the apple slices in a bowl with 2 tbs. of sugar (even the brown one works very well), the lemon juice and a couple of tbs. of water and microwave for about 2 minutes.  Once microwaved, drain the apples in a strainer to get rid off all the extra juice.

Take the puff pastry out of the refrigerator, roll it out on a parchment paper sheet and cut it in six stripes about 2″ wide (5 cm.). Microwave for about 1 minute a bowl of apricot preserve.

At this point,  brush one puff pastry stipe with  the melted apricot preserve and arrange the apples on one side of the stripe, making sure each apple slices overlaps the other. Dust with cinnamon to taste (optional). Fold the stripe to “wrap” the apples. Roll up the stripe to shape it as a rose, making sure to let it a bit loose so it will have room enough to raise once in the oven.

Arrange the rose in a oven sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat for each puff pastry stripe left. Dust with sugar.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 400 F (200 C.) in the oven middle rack.

Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy still warm…. YUMMMMMMMM! So delicious!!!

LEARN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips: – These roses are delicious even the day after, but be careful: if you microwave to get them warm again the puff pastry will get chewy and lose its crispiness.

– My daughters had lot of fun helping me preparing these roses: they had no issues at arraging the apples and rolling the pastry.

– My family is not very fond of cinnamon, so I made only two out of six roses with cinnamon: I tell you, those with the spice were ten times better!

– Usually puff pastry sheets are sold in couples, so when you approach this recipe, be sure to have four apples instead of only two.

– Since Fall is approaching and you may be considering to pick up apples at an apple orchard soon, save this other apple desserts recipes… they may come handy soon:

 Tell me the truth, this is not the first time you have seen these apple roses around…

Tell me the truth, have you ever given this recipe a try?

I am very curious to know your thought about this recipe, and eventually your opinion about it!

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog!

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my

(almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

       

 

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders in the QUAD CITIES AREA.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

“Pesto alla Genovese sauce” recipe: ten tricks for the best result

Buon giorno a tutti! Now that I am back to my routine, I catch myself thinking about my Italian vacation pretty often, and of course many of these memories are about food and one in particular sounds perfect for this time of the year: my family’s “Pesto Alla Genovese sauce” recipe, which my mom prepared for us right after having harvested her beautiful basil from her garden.

Before starting with ingredients and method, I should share with you those 10 simple tricks that would make your pesto the best one ever: the whole point, of course, is using the fresher basil possible,  but there are other factors that would help your sauce to be more tasty and bright, avoiding it to turn darker and sour:

  1. If you grow a garden, harvest your basil only few minutes before preparing the sauce;
  2. If you can choose, use basil with small leaves, or big and large leaves but avoid the type with long and narrow leaves because it tastes a little like mint;
  3. I know it sounds gross, but if you grow your own basil and don’t use chemical, don’t rinse the leaves under water because you will loose a lot of its taste and perfume. You can  just  pat gently the leaves with a clean cloth trying not to break them: the more you press, the more you’ll ruin the leaves, more likely your basil will get black spots (oxidize) and give your pesto a sour aftertaste.
  4. Even if the ancient would use a mortar and pestle to prepare the sauce (which for sure will be the more authentic way to prepare it), it’s ok to use the food processor. BUT – always to contain the chances of oxidation – keep the food processor’s blade in the refrigerator or freezer for at least half an hour before preparing your sauce.
  5. Use only coarse salt: it will help the chopping process.
  6. Don’t process the sauce too much: it has to be crumbly and not too smooth. And be fast at preparing it: one of the causes of oxidation is the exposition to oxygen… the faster your work, the less chance you have to oxidize your sauce.
  7. Commonly the Genovese pesto requires the use of pine nuts, but don’t be surprise if you’d hear from other Italians that you should use walnuts instead: every Italian family has – in the years – modified the original recipe.
  8. Commonly Pesto sauce requires Pecorino cheese as main ingredient, but personally I prefer using  only Parmesan, or possibly Parmesan and Pecorino. Your choice, follow your taste!
  9. If you can, take away the interior part of the garlic clove (in Italy we call it the garlic “soul”), because that part itself is a little sour and would leave that taste to the sauce.
  10. Use the best Extravergin olive oil available: the sauce is raw, so the taste of the oil will not be covered by anything. The best the oil tastes, the best your pesto will taste as well!

Now that I’ve annoyed you with my mom’s tip for the best pesto sauce ever, here the ingredients to dress about 1.5 lbs of pasta or 6-8 pasta servings (P.S. I had to spy on her and force her to weight the ingredients because – of course – she always eyeballs those!!!)

INGREDIENTS for a sauce which would dress 6-8 servings of pasta

1 pinch (about 10 gr. – 0,3 oz.) coarse salt

about 3.5 oz. (100 gr.) fresh basil

2 garlic cloves peeled an deprived of the “soul”

about 3.5 (100 gr.) parmesan (or half parmesan half pecorino)

about 3.5 oz. (100 gr.)  extravergin olive oil

about 1 oz. (30 gr.) pine nuts

DIRECTIONS

In your food processor with a freezing cold blade, place IN ORDER the basil, garlic and coarse salt and nuts first: chop intermittently for few second (the heat of the food processor could oxidize the basil). 

Next add the pecorino or parmesan grated or cut in cubes and keep chopping until your sauce looks even but still crumbly (again, chop intermittently, few seconds at a time).

Only at the end pour the olive oil a  little at a time, activate the food processor for a few seconds. And you are done.. dress your pasta… and enjoy this deliciousness!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS:  – IF YOU HAVE TO, you can store the fresh made sauce in a sealed container for not more than 2-3 days making sure the top of the sauce is completely covered by a layer of olive oil.

– The sauce can be frozen, and should let thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature (no microwaves please!).

– Pesto sauce can be used also on top of pizza, or with bruschetta. There are really many ways to eat it!

– In LIGURIA (the Italian Region where pesto tradition comes from), they sometimes dress the pasta with both tomatoes sauce and pesto. OMG it’s delicious!

– Always in LIGURIA they cook the pasta (usually the short kind called “trofie” – see picture below) with potatoes cubes and green beans, and when cooked they mix it with Pesto sauce…. OMG this is even better!

WHAT DO YOU THINK? What’s your favorite or traditional pesto recipe?

I hope my (or better, my mom’s) little tricks will help you mastering you pesto sauce! 

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog! And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my (almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!

        IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW,

my ITALIAN desserts are available upon orders.

Check out my HOME BAKERY PAGE to learn more!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summery fast and easy tomatoes salad: ready in five minutes!

Hi everyone! Yes! It’s still summer and during my five weeks in Italy I suffered the heat a lot! Oh Lord, it seems impossible that even your appetite can be jeopardize by the extremely high temperatures!

Of course Italians have their ways to make you hungry even if you are hot 😉 and this salad is the perfect example of a light meal full of taste and vitamins and at the same time very refreshing: in other words, perfect as a light lunch or side dish. Not to mention that it’s so colorful and bright that it will light up your table and be perfect also as appetizer or side dish during a cook out!     Grab some tomatoes, capers, green olives, red onions, fresh basil and Italian dressing, and your colorful salad is ready!   For this recipe you don’t need quantities… just fill your plate with sliced tomatoes (better if the heirloom kind)  as much as you want and decorate it with the other ingredients… I hope you will like it as much as I do!

INGREDIENTS

 ripe heirloom tomatoes

green olives (deprived of their water)

capers (deprived of their water)

fresh basil

sea salt to taste

olive oil to taste

a sprinkle of red wine vinegar

finely sliced red onion

optional: black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Wash the tomatoes, take away the stem and slice them  1/4″  thick.

Arrange the tomatoes nicely in a dish, and spread on top the red onions first, then the capers, green olives, and basil.

Dust with a pinch of sea salt (and black pepper if you’d like), sprinkle with red wine vinegar, “give it a round” of extravergin olive oil and serve it!

It’s impressive how such a simple dish it’s so delicious!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVE IT!

TIPS: – If you don’t like the idea of a vegetarian salad, you can pair this dish with hard boiled eggs or tuna in olive oil… it would turn even better!

– This salad can be prepared all year long but of course it’s better if made during the tomatoes season… seasonal produce always have a better taste!

How about you? Do you have a favorite summer salad that you like to enjoy in the most hot days? Please, feel free to let me know you thoughts by leaving a comment… I really enjoy learning others tastes and recipes! 

I really hope you liked my recipe this week, and if you did, please  share it, like it, and support my blog! And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to subscribe: it’s completely free and you will receive my (almost) weekly recipe directly at your email address!

MUCH LOVE

SILVIA

 

YOU CAN ALSO FIND ME HERE:

on FB: Italiangoodness – A taste of Italy on your table every day

on INSTAGRAM: Silvia Italiangoodness

on PINTEREST: Italiangoodness, Italian recipes and more!