All posts filed under: Italian

Tortellini, edible pockets of goodness

Many have been the solutions we’ve given to two basic needs: prepare food ahead and transp orting it. Convenience, portability and efficiency have determined the evolution of the solutions.   Nomadic cultures have very efficient and simple ways to eat on the go without interrupting their journeys, typically involving dried or cured meats, transporting dried fruits, roots or nuts. Rotting, smoking, dehydrating, pickling and baking are common methods to preserve meats, fruits and vegetables. Some great solutions for transporting involve edible pockets: Pasties, dumplings, empanadas, pies, vareniki, calzone… The vessel always responds (at least historically) to the needs of the eater: How far ahead in the day will the food be eaten Travel conditions Can it be eaten cold Will it be the only meal Will it require cutlery… and here is when the refinement of each dish comes into play.  We can easily picture farmers or miners happily munching a pasty – pastry and all– at this point the beauty of the food is irrelevant as long as the content is safely preserved and the pastry merely complements …

Panis Focacius

The Latin name for this bread literally means bread baked on an oven’s floor. It seems that the recipe can be traced back to the Ancient Greece and Etruria (central Italy). There are many kinds of typical Italian toppings fort the focaccia, but perhaps the most popular are olives; rosemary and coarse salt; caramelised onions or potatoes.   Impressive as they might seem, they are really easy to make. The secret to achieve a really open structure with big air holes, is that the dough has to be really wet. The recipe contains loads of water and olive oil that helps emulsifying the dough allowing it to remain moist and soft. The tricky bit is that “wet” doughs are a bit messy to knead. They require a bit of muscle to develop a good gluten structure but really apart from that is a very straight forward bread. To make one generous focaccia or two medium, you will need: 500g white flour 2 tsp salt 10g dried yeast 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more to drizzle, …

No Fuss Week Pasta Dinner

Sometimes less is more, and thank God for that. When I ponder about how our lives can be so  unbearably  hectic, the last thing I want is to stress over dinner. There’s no shame in trying to simplify cooking, specially if the result is a healthy, fast and flavourful meal, the secret to success is very simple: a well stocked fridge and a highly functional pantry. As long as you have those things covered, food preparation shouldn’t be a painful task.

Easy Peasy Radiant Ravioli

I remember the first time I made pasta, it was epic, I’m not saying it was perfect, it was EPIC. We had some friends coming over, got our aprons on, cracked numerous eggs, got started and in no time we were all-covered in flour. Many years had to past until I attempted making pasta again, but this time I did a thorough research, cross referenced many recipes and took a plunge. The first result was very decent and like many things, with some practice my skills have improved. I went from making farfalle to linguini, lasagne and ravioli. Making pasta is surprisingly  simple, however you must learn to differentiate simple from fast.