Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pizzoccheri - pasta with potatoes, savoy cabbage and cheese

The smell of melted cheese, a nice texture of the pasta, smooth potatoes and cabbage, the richness of fresh butter all together in a great dish for this cold season.
Once prepared only in a small mountain valley in Lombardy (Valtellina), this pasta is now easy to find in supermarkets and I recommend it because it is delicious and easy to prepare.

If you want you can even make your own pasta, mixing together 180 grs of buckwheat flour, 30 grs of all purposes flour and some water. Actually I never found the floor where I live, so prepared pasta is fine and good enough!

Ingredients (for 4 people)

200 grs. pizzoccheri
2 medium potatoes
1/2 savoy cabbage
80 grs butter
1 onion, sliced
250 grs Casera dop (local cheese) try with Fontina or any other midium seasoned cow cheese (the ones with pungent smell...)
6 sage leaves
4 spoons Parmigiano reggiano (or grana padano) grated

Dry Pizzoccheri

1. Wash the vegetables. Peel and cube the potatoes into irregular cubes 1/2 inch wide. Slice the cabbage and cut off the stems.

2) Put the vegetables in a pot of boiling, salted water and let them cook for 5 minutes. After that time add the pasta and let it cook as shown on the package or until soft.

Pre- heat your over at 180°C/

3) In the meanwhile slice the onion and sauté it with the sage in the melting butter until soft.

4) Cut the cheese into small pieces/slices.

5) Drain the pasta and the vegetables in a colander and pour half of them in a baking dish. Sprinkle half of the cheeses on the first layer, put half of the butter and onions on top, then cover with the remaing pasta and vegetables, add the cheeses and the butter/onion/sage mix.

6) Put the baking dish in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheeses melt, take out of the oven and serve immediately while hot.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

3 fruit marmalade (orange-grapefruit-lemon)

Make the most of these seasonal fruits with this old recipe, it will be a great gift to give at Christmas or to enjoy all year around.

Making home made marmalade can be fun, if you have a free afternoon and some empty jars. You can re-cycle used jar, but I recommend to buy new lids, to make sure that they close perfectly and that the rubber does not contain any bacteria or does not give bad tastes.
Keep the jars in a dry, cool place, label them clearly, and use it within 1 year from cooking.
This marmelade is great on bread and butter, a chocolate cake...

Ingredients for 6-8  240 ml - 1/2 lb jars

4 organic oranges
1 organic lemon
1 organic grapefruit
2kg/4.2 lb. granulated sugar
Water (about 2,5 litres/10 cups)

1)      Wash the containers and the lids in the dish washer, and then put them and a pre-heated oven at 100°C (212° F) for 10 minutes. Let them cool.

2)      Wash the fruit very well, put it in a large pan, all of them should be on the bottom, and add water up to ¾ of the fruits. 

    3)      Cover with a lid and bring the water to the boil.

   4)      Turn the heat to the medium, remove the lid and let simmer for a 1 and 1/2 hours. The citrus must be soft.

   Let them cool down in the water.

  5) Quarter the fruit, remove the pulp and add it to the pan with the cooking     liquid.

  6) Cut the rinds into slivers and add them to the pan. Gently heat the fruits, add the sugar and stir well to dissolve it.
   Bring it to the boil and cook until it decreases by 1/3 and setting point is  reached. 

    You will reach the setting point when a drop of marmalade on a cold surface keeps the shape and getting cold it makes a sort of film on top of it. Feel the texture with a finger when cold. This is very important: the marmalade should not be too runny.

  7) While the marmalade is still very hot, pour it into sterilised jars, seal with the lids and put the jars upside down until cold.
   Store in cool, dark place.