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Posts from the ‘Fish & Meat’ Category

How to make meat sauce: a traditional Italian Sunday lunch

italian sauce with meatIf you look at Italy on a map you immediately realize how small it is. That’s why I often ask myself: how it’s possible that in such a small country you can find hundreds of different ingredients and tens of different traditions. Let’s talk for example of the Sunday lunch: that’s a super classic, something that assemble the entire family together but it’s not the same lunch in every house. In some houses, especially in the centre of Italy, spying on the Sunday table you will find lasagne, in other houses you will find pasta al forno (baked pasta) with almost one hundreds different ingredients. In the northern part of Italy polenta with meat or agnolotti (that is a particular kind of ravioli) with broth… In southern Italy, together with pasta al forno, it’s pretty common cook pasta with sugo di carne (meat sauce). I’m from the northern part of Italy, but trust me if I say that, one you’ve learned how to cook this particular sauce, you will never forget it and you will cook it quite every week. The point is not only that is incredibly good, but it’s super easy to do and the most important ingredient is time. Let me explain: to make this sauce you will need around 3 hours and a half but you need to work or actively cooking just for less than half an hour. For the other 3 hours you can watch tv, read a book, or whatever you like to do: the magic is done by low flame and the fat of the meat that slowly melt till create a magical fusion with sauce. I do it with different kind of meat (you can use pork, veal, lamb, even chicken drumsticks, the important thing is to chose a kind that has some fat) almost once a week: that’s because it’s a great way to flavor pasta (and we are Italian so we eat a lot of pasta!) and it’s a complete dish that doesn’t require too much work. Just try it and let me know! Buon appetito!

italian sauce with meat

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Clam chowder (my way), San Francisco & an honeymoon in New England

clam chowderWhen I hear someone say “Oh, the Americans, they don’t know what good food is” my first reaction is to say “Shut up, you idiot!” then I calm down and I think “ok, maybe this poor thing was never lucky enough to eat a clam chowder….” Now, you don’t have to be a genius to guess that my very favourite American dish is… CLAM CHOWDER! I still remember my very first one, at the pier in San Francisco… we arrived there after hundreds of miles and 5 States. Our eyes were full of desert and mountains and endless landscape, while we were driving it seemed impossible that something could border US, but in San Francisco there it was: the sea! That was the limit that also US had to face! And another view filled our eyes, and the sound of a big city after the silence of the desert filled our ears, and the salty scent of the air exploded in our nose. I’m sure that I fell in love with clam chowder exactly in the same moment I fell for San Francisco. Few years later we decided to spent our honeymoon in New England and what was just love became a real addiction. I’m not joking: we traveled New England for 2 weeks and I eat clam chowder and lobster every day for lunch and for dinner (I suppose is not such a big surprise that my scale wanted to died when I came back in Italy!!). I remember waitress asking me: “do you prefer a cup or a bowl” and myself think “oh my god, do I have a cup face?! Why they don’t ask me if I want the entire pot?”. A very special dinner was the one at The Black Cat Tavern in Cape Code: a romantic place is nothing without very good food! Unfortunately I don’t live in the US so I had to learn how to cook a clam chowder (the alternative, meaning don’t eat clam chowder at all, never crossed my mind) and here you find my recipe. It’s quite good and I like it even if it lacks the most important ingredients that makes the original one so good: the view and the smell of the sea! Enjoy!

clam chowder

Ingredients: (serves 4)

– 1 diced carrot

– 1 minced onion

– 1 diced celery

– 50 g diced bacon

– 450 g cubed potatoes

– 150 ml cream

– 3 kg clams + their liquid

– salt & pepper

– 4 scallops

– olive oil

– parsley for decoration Read more

Lobsters, linguine & champagne: happy birthday … to me!

linguine with lobstersRule n. 1: special days need special food! I suppose you will trust me if I say that my birthday IS a very special day… so this post is about getting older, be happy and eating the great food my  husband cooked for me! Lobsters have always been considered a sophisticated and very good food, that’s maybe the reason why they are so expensive (almost in Switzerland!). We really love them and I remember perfectly that during our honeymoon in New England we had one almost every day, starting from the great one that we had at the Boston Legal Seafood the first night! Of course in the US it’s not so common cook lobsters with pasta, but we are Italian and we are used to cook all kind of seafood and fish with pasta and lobsters are no exception.As far as I can remember, every lobster I had in my life, is linked to special and happy moments so I really hope that, together with this recipe, some of my happiness  pass to you! Enjoy!

Ingredients: (serves 2):

– 160 g. of linguine

– 1 clove of garlic

– 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

– 3 lobster tails

– chopped parsley

– half a glass of cognac

– 500 g. of cherry tomatoes

lobster tails– salt

Wash the lobster, break one and coarsely chop the pulp. Cut the other 2 in two halves. In a pan fry lightly the garlic with the extra-virgin olive oil, add the lobster pulp and the other tails. After 30 seconds sprinkle with parsley and add the cognac. After 1 minute add the cherry tomatoes cut in 2 halves. Reduce heat and cook covered for about 10 minutes. Cook the linguine in salted boiling water. Drain the pasta and pour it in the pan with the sauce, mix well and… buon appetito!

 

Cauliflower & tuna balls: the Italian passion for “polpette”!

tuna and cauliflower ballsConfession: every time I make a travel I leave my house saying: “No, this time I swear I won’t go to eat Italian!”… and every time I end up in an Italian restaurant asking myself  “why do they have spaghetti with meatballs in the menu??!!”

The reality is that we in Italy love “polpette” (that is of course the Italian name of meatballs) but I had them for the first with a dish of spaghetti only when we saw Walt Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp”. My brother loved so much the movie that he asked my mother to have a dish like the one in this picture … Read more

Mediterranean crispy chicken, Pericles & a special football match

As you probably know, football is a preatty serious thing in Italy and I love it especially because it’s the perfect excuse to organise a party with friends. But football matches sometimes represent something more… and that’s the case of this evening match: every European journal and tv is talking about the game between Germany and Greece that perfectly represent the internal conflict that is destroying Europe.   But this is a too much sad theme for my blog, kitchen for me is a place for a light heart and for happiness and I really don’t want to tell you the story of how Greeks are knocked down by this economic crisis.

For me tonight it will be only a football match and I suppose that my choice to cook a “mediterranean chicken” probably already told you that this evening I will cheer for Greece, but I will do that not only because in this match Greeks are like Dave against Golia (Germany is really good in football!) but because I fell in love with Greece when I was a student and I discovered that we owe them the democracy idea . It was 461 b.C. when Pericles did the famous speech to the Athenians, and after more that 2000 years these are still the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard about democracy and freedom. Click read more if you want to read some quote from the text and the recipe! Read more