Wash and cut the aubergine and courgettes into chunks. Dry them well and fry in some vegetable oil. While frying change the oil at least twice, place all the fried vegetables on absorbent paper to dry up any excess oil. In a large pan sweat the shallots (sliced thinly) in a little olive oil and then add the tomato passata. Salt and bring to the boil for around 10 minutes, stir occasionally.
Add the vegetables to the sauce and let the flavors amalgamate on a low heat for a few minutes. Now let the sauce drop to room temperature. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until half cooked, once this is done drain it in cold water. Add the pasta to the sauce along with half the parmesan, the basil and 2 of the eggs (well beaten and seasoned with salt) and pour half of the mixture into the oven proof dish, now add a layer of mixed mozzarella and cover with the rest of the mix.
Whisk the last egg and add the rest of the parmesan, brush the top of the pasta with this mix. Finish cooking by placing in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Wait for the dish to drop to room temperature before serving.
Although courgettes are now available all year round, they are actually in season in the summer months and so for cost/taste reasons I like to use them more in the summer.
Ingredients (4 People)
5 Medium Courgetts (grated)
3 Large organic eggs
1 Generous handful of Parmesan
1 Handfull of parsley
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
Wash the courgettes and then grate them. Add the grated courgette to a bowl and mix in the egg, the parmesan, the parsley and the garlic. Mix well. Leave to rest in the fridge for around 30 minutes. Shape pieces of the mix into little hamburgers and leave to one side. Heat some sunflower oil and fry the fritters on each side until nicely brown. When cooked leave place them on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
To make the dish a little interesting you could make a quick tomato sauce with basil and garlic, cover the fritters with it, top with more parmesan and finish off in the oven.
It has been argued that Panzanella is a recipe originally from Tuscany however it is a dish popular in all of Italy. All that is needed is some slightly stale crusty bread and seasonal veg to make a beautiful light dish. Note – this recipe is a Tuscan recipe, the southern Italian version is even simpler.
Ingredients (4 people)
4 think slices of hard crusty bread
1 red onion
2 stalks of celary
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt + Pepper
Put the stale bread in a bowl with a little water to soften it for around 20 minutes, after that shake off any excess water and crumble into a salad bowl. Slice the onion into thin slices, cut the the celery, cucumber and tomatoes into smallish pieces. Mix the vegetables with bread to mix all the flavours. Add the oil, salt, pepper and basil and mix again. Panzanella should be kept in the fridge at least 1 hour before it is due to be eaten so that it is eaten at its best.
I have found a great list of fantastic Italian movies for you guys to watch. Just head over to http://www.lifeinitaly.com/italian-movies/best.asp to check them out. If that fails check http://worldfilm.about.com/od/italianfilms/tp/italy101.htm.
This is a fantastic dish that always takes my back to my mums home cooking. We used to use homemade sausages with fennel seeds but good quality pork sausages can also be used. This dish is a great party dish as it relies on the quality of the ingredients and requires little preparation, allowing you to enjoy the company and the wine.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
8 Pork Sausages
2 springs of rosmary
4 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Peel and wash the potatoes, cut them into large chunks. Boil some water in a pan and cook the chunks for around 3 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place them in an oven dish, add a splash of olive oil, a little salt, pepper, the rosemary, fennel seeds and the whole cloves of garlic (pierced with a toothpick to allow you to remove them easily). After mixing well add the sausages to the oven proof dish. Cook at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes without moving the potatoes too much so to prevent them from breaking up. Serve up this great peasant dish when all the ingredients have been browned and roasted beautifully. This dish goes beautifully with a dish called “Panzanella” and I’ll post a recipe for that tomorrow.
If any of you are interested in serie A or Italy’s chances in the forthcoming worldcup I would reccomend taking a look at the following site - http://italy.theoffside.com/ It’s a great source of information and is regularly updated with quality news from all the major European leagues.
Despite the fact Saviano’s book Gomorra and the subsequent film that was made (which goes by the same name) have done little for the reputation of southern Italy and particular the Naples area, it highlighted one of the endemic problems of Campania. The following video goes someway to explaining the despite Napoli and it’s hinterland being the birthplace of the Camorra, it has become very much a European problem.
Although trout is quite popular in some areas of Italy, this doesn’t seem to be the case in the UK. Trout is often caught locally, is cheap, is healthy and tastes fantastic! Give this summery recipe a go with some beautiful trout bought from your local fishmonger.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
1 cup of flower
2 anchovy fillets
Wash a good handful of parsley and break it up with your hands into a pestle and mortar, add the capers, the anchovies and a few olives. Mix in the breadcrumbs, lemon juice and a little olive oil so that the mixture binds and crush to make a rough paste, season to taste (if you don’t have a pestle and mortar you can use a bowl and the end of a rolling pin).
Wash the trout well and de scale them if your fishmonger hasn’t done so. Make sure to remove the gills. Now salt them inside and season the outside
In a frying pan heat 3 spoon fulls of olive oil with 40g of butter. Flower the outside of the trout and fry both sides of them under a moderate heat for a few minutes.
Now put the trout into an oven dish and stuff them with the paste. Finish cooking in an oven at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes. Serve with a nice salad dressed with lemon, salt and olive oil.
This is a great summer omelette recipe, give it a try!
1 small aubergine
400 gr Ricotta
2 spoonfuls of breadcrumbs
1 clove of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Wash and clean the vegetables and cut them into cubes.
Heat a spoon full of the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Fry the garlic off and remove it when it has gotten a bit of color. Add the vegetables to the frying pan (make sure they’re dry) and season well. Fry for around 10 minutes.
In a bowl beat the eggs and season them, add the pecorino, ricotta, basil, the mint, breadcrumbs and finally the vegetables.
Oil a 22cm oven dish and pour the mix in, cook in an already hot oven at 170° for 40 minutes. Alternatively fry on the stove in a frying pan. I’m going to eat this with some beautiful pugliese bread I bought from the market yesterday.
So an easy question for a lazy Sunday morning. What would you guys like to see appearing on this site? All suggestions are welcome. Have you ever had a dish at a restaurant and want to know how to recreate it in the comfort of your own home, without spending a fortune? I’ll do my best to give you a recipe for it. I want to try and keep this site interesting to it’s readership and asking you guys directly seems to easiest way to do this. Have a good Sunday/Buona Domenica!