Category

Recipes

 

Pasta with clams is a great all year around dish. It is easy to prepare, but it require good execution.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of clams
  • 1/2 pound of linguini (see it on Amazon)
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • a clove of garlic
  • Salt, pepper
  • About a quarter of a thai chili pepper  (optional – note that you can use chili flakes)
  • italian parsley (optional)
  • one once of white wine

 

The steps:

Step #0 – Start boiling plenty of water in a pot.  This dish is actually really quick, by the time you get the sauce going you should have the pasta cooking.  I usually start making the sauce as the water starts boiling and I put the pasta in.

Step #1 – In a deeper pan throw in olive oil, chopped garlic and the clams. Cook it over medium heat.  After a few minutes the clams will start opening up and release water.  Here’s a quick tip: take some of the water released by the clam and set it aside, it will be useful later to make sure that the sauce does not get too dry.

Step #2 – After you save some of the water add the white wine and let it reduce for couple of minutes.  Season with pepper/salt.

Step #3 – You are about done with the sauce.  This is where you need to make a judgement call on how how dry the sauce is.  If it seems a little dry add some of the clams’ water you saved.  If you do so, make sure you cook it for about a minute.  The pasta should be done by now and it’s time to blend.  Add the parsley, the chilli flakes and extra pepper.

Step #4 – You are done.  Time to plate!

 

Enjoy!

 

I was at the Metropolitan Market looking for a dinner inspiration and saw that they had lobster tails.  H likes pasta really spicy, so I decided to make a pasta alla “Fra’ Diavola”.  There are different ways to make this pasta and some require way too much work for my taste.   I like a specific variation that is simpler to make and less prone to mistakes.   I had a package of pasta called “bucatini”.  This is a very common type in Italy, but a bit more difficult to find here.  Think of it as a bit larger spaghetti.  No worries though, if you don’t find bucatini you can use spaghetti or penne.

Here’re the ingredients for two people (about 1/2 poung of pasta):

  • two small lobster tails (or two big ones – nobody will complain about too much lobster!)
  • couple of fresh tomatoes
  • one can of crushed tomatoes
  • shallots (although onion and garlic would work as well)
  • half glass of white wine (the same that you’d be serving)
  • parsley, pepper, salt. extra virgin olive oil
  • spicy peppers (i like the thai ones…fresh is way better than the dried ones).

It’s not super quick, but it should take about 25mins for the sauce to be ready.

Step zero:  cut the lobster tails in chunks of about one inch each.  In a different pot start boiling water.

Step one:  in a pan over medium heat add three tablespoon olive oil and the shallots.  When the shallots turn translucent add the lobster chunks.  Let the lobster cook (changing sides every couple of minutes) until the shell turns red.  At this point add the white wine, let reduce for a minute and add  fresh tomatoes (chopped).

Step two: as the tomatoes start breaking down add  the the crushed tomatoes.  I used a small can for two people.  This dish is not supposed to be overly saucy.  This is also the time to spice up the sauce – add the spicy peppers, salt, black pepper and if you want a bit of other spices.  This is also a good time of start cooking the pasta in the boiling water (don’t forget to add salt).  This is how my sauce was looking at this point:

Step 3: as the sauce starts boiling again lower the heat to medium/low and let it cook until the pasta is ready (about 10-15mins).   Drain the pasta (it should be al dente) and mix it with the sauce.  Cook together for about a minute.

Step 4:  you’re done!  Plate the pasta and serve it.

 

If you are in the mood for a good fresh vegetarian pasta with a kick then this pasta should be in your short list of candidates.

It’s not the fastest dish to make. it does take a bit of preparation and good cooking time. I would give it about an hour for a good sauce. More if you have time.

For the ingredients (feeds 2-3 people):

One big eggplant
3-4 fresh tomatoes
the italian sauce “trinita”: onion (12), a stick of celery and half of a good size carrot
half glass of red wine
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 pound of pasta (I like penne, but you could use also a long pasta like linguine or spaghetti)
12 onion, 12 carrot and one stick of celery
salt, pepper, oregano, basil, a bit of fresh chilli pepper (you could use the dry ones as well)
Below the steps to put it together. I usually overlap a few steps to make things quicker. You should do how it would work best for you.

Step 1: Prepare the eggplant. If you don’t “dry” the eggplant you will see that they will not cook properly. I honestly don’t know the chemistry behind this (I should look it up), but empirically speaking it is better to dry them. There are different ways to do it. You can cover the eggplant with rock salt for a few hours. You will see that the salt absorbs the water out of the eggplant. This is probably the best approach, but it is too time consuming so I use a different one. I simply put them on a hot non-stick pan and keep them there for a few mins (about 2 mins each side).

Step 2: Get the sauce going. This is classic approach, that I have discussed a few times in my previous postings. Start the “soffritto” with the olive oil, chopped onion, slices carrots and celery. In the meantime slice the eggplant that you prepared above. When the soffritto is ready (the onion turns translucent) add the the eggplant to the mix. Stir it well. After couple of minutes add a little a little wine. I use red wine. I have used some balsamic vinegar in the past. If you use wine you just need 12 a glass. Couple of pix:

Step 3: Finishing the sauce. Once the eggplant look good add some of the freshed chopped tomato (it gives it a touch of freshness) and let it cook for two minutes. At this point add the crushed tomatotoes and the spices. Let is simmer it for about 30mins .You could leave it simmering more, up to 45-60mins. Just make sure that it does not get too dry…you could add some water (use the pasta water) to balance it. The sauce is done!

Step 4: Pasta and sauce come together. As the sauce is in the last minutes of cooking you can start boiling the pasta. Once the pasta is done you can just drain it and mix it with the sauce. Cook it together for about a minute and your dish it ready to go!!!

Enjoy it!

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This is probably one of the longest names for a recipe! It’s also very misleading. Usually when you think about “saffron” and “shrimp” you think about something fancy and expensive that you can only get in some sophisticated restaurant.

In this post lets dimistify such belief! This recipe is super quick to make (20mins total) and cheap (I used frozen “quality” ingredients). The result is great!

Ingredients:

a small package of pasta of saffron pasta – I used half pound of “Rustichella D’Abruzzo Laganelle allo Zafferano”, you can also use different type of pastas (see a few examples at Amazon), but i would reccomend you stick to a long pasta.
a cup of frozen peas (organic would be better)
half pound of shrimp (the bigger ones)
1/4 cup of olive oil (extra virgin)
a clove of garlic
pepper and salt
A bit of butter (i used half spoon but you could use more or less)
1/2 glass of white wine
Steps:

The basic – add the oil in a nice pan, warm it up and add the chopped garlic. Let is cooked for a minute or until golden. At this point add the frozen peas and shrimp (on medium heat). As soon as you are done, make sure that you get the water for the pasta going. As mentioned above this is a quick dish.

Sauce is cooking – after the shrimp and peas have been cooking for about 5mins it’s time to add the half glass of white wine, black pepper, salt and if you want to spice it up you can also add a few hot chilli pepper flakes. Let is cook for another 5 mins on low/medium heat (super important – don’t let it dry up!). At this point you should have the water boiling – start cooking the pasta.

Putting it together – after 5 mins you should have both the pasta and the sauce ready (if you have not added butter yet, this is a good time). Drain the pasta and pour it in the sauce, combine for about a minute over medium heat.

Done – yes. you are pretty much done. Time to plate the dish, add some black pepper and serve the dish.

The dish is officially done. As mentioned this should not take longer than 20 mins (end-to-end). It’s a great simple yet sophisticated dish. I would drink it with a nice dry white wine (chardonnay or pinot grigio).

Enjoy!

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The other day I had a few friends over for drinks before we had out for dinner. I wanted to make a few quick appetizers to go along with the martinis.

After a short discussion we went for:

Tuna tartare on crackers
Caprese skewers
Shrimp and prosciutto
We prepared all of them in the afternoon and finished them off in the early evening before the guests arrived. The tartare is really the only one that requires at least an hour so the tuna can marinate properly.

Let’s start with the caprese skewers.

This is really easy. Ingredients:

cherry tomatoes
byte-size mozzarella
lots of basil (one of those big bags they have at the market)
olive oil
salt and pepper
toothpicks – regular skewers are really too big!
Just cut the cherry tomatoes in halves. I used two mozzarella bytes and two cherry halves for each skewer (note I used too. In the food processor add the basil, 3-4 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. When you are ready to serve just spread some of the basil-olive oil mix on top of the skewers! Super easy, super fresh and super tasty!

Prosciutto-wrapped shrimp.

This is also very easy to make. In fact, you can prepare it earlier and just cook it right before (it takes 5mins). Ingredients:

big prawn with no shells
prosciutto slices (no need to buy the most expensive one)
Wrap half slice of prosciutto around the shrimp. Done! I like to cook it over a hot non-stick pan. It almost acts like a grill and the prosciutto gets nice and crispy. The shrimp cook really fast, so you’ll need to cook each of them for couple of minutes (one minute each side).

Tuna Tartare cracker.

In this case I actually used a recipe from one of Ina Gartner’s books. You can also find it online on the Food Network website: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_28673,00.html

My take: you don’t need all the ingredients (but you have to use lemo!) or stick precisily to the quantities indicated. I made this dish, took my liberties and it always tastes good. You must use good tuna! Don’t skimp on the tuna!

A nice presentation helps!

Enjoy!!!

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Linguini with broccoli and anchovies. I had not cooked this dish for at least two years. The first time I had it was when I was leaving in Lisbon. My friend Michele (from Bolzano) thought me how to make it.

I do agree that this may not be ideal for all taste buds and the reaction for many may be “ugh”. I guess you gonna have to try it and see if you like it… I do!

As many of the recipe I have been posting lately the great thing about this dish is that it takes very little work and it’s done in about 20-30 mins (end-to-end…you can do other thngs in the meatime).

Anyway, let’s get down to business. Here’re the ingredients (for 2-3 people, depending on how hungry their are):

1 box of anchovies
1/2 pound of Linguine (De Cecco, Del Verde or Barilla will do it)
Couple of cloves of garlic
Chilli flakes
1 pound of broccoli (I used frozen ones)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin)
The steps:

Bring water to boil in a pot. This is the same pot you’ll use to cook the pasta as well. Before you forget you should also add salt to the water.
When the water is boiling pour the broccoli. You need to cook them for about 5 minutes, after the water starts boiling again.
Once the 5 mins are up and the broccoli cooked, take them out and save them in a bowl. If the broccoli are very big, you can just cut them quickly using a knife.
The water is already boiling and you can put the pasta in. No worries on the “soffritto” for the pasta, it will just take a few mins.
As the pasta is cooklng we start preparing the anchoviesgarlic soffritto. Warm up a deep sauce pan, add the olive oil and the fine chopped garlic. Let the garlic cook for a minute or so, until it start looking “gold”.
Add the anchovies and make sure that you stir it so that it almost create a “paste” (see pix below). Keep the heat mediumlow. This is a good time to add a few chilli flakes.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and pour it in the sauce pan. This is also the time to add back the broccoli as well.
Stir everything well together for a minute over medium heat.
You are done..just need to plate it and add some pepper and fresh virgin olive oil.
Enjoy your dish and let us know how it goes!