Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

I like to make Italian food especially pastas which is easiest and quickest meal to prepare with flavorful ingredients and rich sauce. This dish with oven-roasted cherry tomatoes along with a healthy portion of shrimp and veggies is perfect for a week night dinner or weekend lunch and warms up nicely for leftovers. The tang of cherry tomatoes really brighten the flavor of the dish. This recipe works well with any shape of pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • To roast the cherry tomatoes, wash and slice it in half and place it on a baking dish cut side up. Drizzle with  olive oil and then sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper. Mix the tomatoes around on the tray with your hands so they’re all coated with the oil.
  • Roast the tomatoes in the oven for 2 hour. Let cool on the baking sheet.  You don’t want the tomatoes to be totally dried up, there should still be some moisture left in them.
  • You can store the tomatoes in a jar or container in the refrigerator for a week. Usually I do this step couple of days ago and use it whenever I want. Make sure to collect all the juices released from the tomatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb bow tie pasta (farfalle)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced in big chunks
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced in big chunks
  • 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and devined
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • fresh black pepper to taste
Method:
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • Toss the shrimp with ginger-garlic paste, salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep aside for 4-5 minutes.
  • Warm a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the marinated shrimp in the pan and sauté the shrimp, turning over as needed, until just cooked through. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Cover to keep warm.
  • Using the same skillet (do not clean), warm the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and garlic. Sauté just until the onions are tender about 2-3 minutes. Season lightly with salt,pepper, oregano and red chilli flakes.
  • Add the peppers to the skillet. Continue to cook just until the peppers is crisp tender about 3-4 minutes.If the pan seems too dry, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and scrape up any browned portions from the pan.
  • Stir in the dried cherry tomatoes, cooked shrimp and stir gently, to bring everything together, and let the mixture cook for 1 minute to bring the liquid in the pan to a boil. Add the cooked pasta, stirring frequently, cook for 1-2 minutes until the pasta is heated through. Taste, and season with black pepper. Add the coriander leaves, and toss to combine.
  • Serve hot.

Pesto

Posted: May 25, 2011 by incidentalcooksuman in Italian, Pasta
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Recently, we have been to farmers market and there I saw some fresh and beautiful basil leaves which was very difficult to pass by. Hence even without thinking of any recipe I have decided to buy two bunches of those fresh herbs. It was so fresh that I was in love with the sweet and pungent smell of the leaves. Immediately after coming home,I started looking for some recipes with it. Then thought the best way to use both the bunches would be making some pesto.

The word pesto derives from the Italian for pestle, pestello. Pesto is a versatile sauce, can be made in different ways using different ingredients. Traditionally it is made with basil leaves and olive oil using a mortar and pestle. I have had a pesto pasta long time ago in one of Italian restaurant. Ever since then, I wanted to make some  at home. To my surprise, this is the easiest and versatile sauce to make. You can pair this with any kind of pasta and make a light and fresh meal anytime. Also, pesto can be used in marination for veggies, fish and chicken dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  •  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  •  2 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  •  2 tablespoon toasted walnuts
  •  3 cloves garlic
  •  1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

  • In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the pine nuts, walnuts, garlic and process for 1 minute or so.
  •  Add the fresh herbs, parmesan cheese and run until it’s a thick paste.
  •  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the paste leaves the sides of the bowl and looks like a thick sauce.
  •  Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin-film of olive oil on top.

Focaccia is a flat oven baked Italian bread which is seasoned with olive oil, herbs and other ingredients of your choice. It looks similar to pizza but called Focaccia. The inside texture is soft, and light to touch where as the outside is crispy and golden brown.Since it’s baked at high temperature which gives a crunchy golden brown bottom.You can use focaccia bread dough as pizza dough too or can be used a sandwich breads.

Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

This is the first time I have made bread from the scratch, although I’m not of a yeast-bread baking expert yet but this time this really turned out great and gorgeous looking.

Also, making bread requires a lot of patience and time which is really worth it at the end. Hence don’t try to rush this recipe, give plenty of time to rise. You may have to plan ahead if you are going to bake this bread as it requires at least 2 hours to rise properly. At this stage, it’s good to let it rise for as long as you can. The puffier it gets the more soft it bakes up. Since I am a person who will check every minute or so, to see whether the yeast is working or not, so what I do is I go out for shopping or to the park with my son in this way my dough gets plenty of time to rise without any disturbance and peeking… 🙂

Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

Onion and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon warm water

For topping:

  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and  minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, cut in long strips

Directions:

  • To make the dough, mix honey and yeast in luke warm water and let it sit for several minutes, until it begins to bubble, that means yeast is working its charm here and you are going to be successful in making a gorgeous focaccia bread.
  • Stir together the yeast mixture, salt and flour and mix everything well. Knead by hand for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough forms into a smooth round, still soft and a bit sticky. Coat a big bowl with the tablespoon of olive oil, drop in the dough, and coat with oil all over. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.
  • While the dough is rising, toss together the sliced onion, cherry tomato halves, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes and keep it aside to marinate.
  • Brush a Cookie sheet with olive oil and keep it aside.
  • Punch down the dough on a floured surface, roll out  dough into a rectangle,  press the same on oiled brushed baking sheet.
  • Brush olive oil over the rectangle shaped dough and set it aside until it gets fluffy, for about 1 hour.
  • Make dimples on the dough with your thumb and top with grated mozzarella cheese, marinated onions, fill the dimples with cherry tomatoes halves and drizzle the rest of marinated oil on top of it.
  • Bake at 425 until golden, about 20 minutes. Garnish with thinly Julienne basil leaves. And enjoy your slices!!
Onions and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

Onions and Cherry Tomato Focaccia

I like to make Italian food especially pastas which is easiest and quickest meal to prepare with flavorful ingredients and rich sauce.

Traditionally, this sauce is served with spaghetti, although you can use any pasta you like. The flavors of Kalamata Olives and Capers in this dish compliment each other very well.

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounce Spaghetti, cook as per package directions
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 anchovies fillets, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 small white onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon capers, washed and drained
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and cut in halves
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large fresh tomato, chopped
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnishing

Method:

  • Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat, add onions, garlic, anchovies fillets and crushed pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and anchovies completely melted in oil about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add onions, tomatoes, capers to the skillet and cook covered until the sauce is bubbly and thickens a bit.Stir occassionaly about 7-8 minutes.
  • Now add kalamata olives , black pepper to taste and cook until your pasta is ready.
  • Toss sauce with cooked pasta, basil leaves, grated cheese and serve.
Spaghetti Puttanesca

Spaghetti Puttanesca

 

Recipe Adapted from: Food network

Tiramisu is one of the most popular Italian dessert. It is made with biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with mixture of egg yolks, mascarpone cheese and cream. And garnish with unsweetened cocoa powder sifted on top which compliments the sweetened cheese mixture.

And the best part about this dessert is you do not have to go through the hassle of baking and cooking. It just required some whipping and layering. And you end up with most heavenly, utterly gorgeous and decadent dessert.

Whenever we go out to eat Italian, it’s never happened that I have not ordered this dessert. As soon as I get the menu the first thing I see if they have tiramisu on the menu and the rest you can figure it out…:).  So, far the best tiramisu I had is from Olive Garden and now made by ME.

This is my 100th post and what better dessert than this to celebrate and enjoy..

So, coming back to the recipe:

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mascarpone Cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 24  Italian ladyfinger biscuits

For Garnish

  • 1 square semisweet Chocolate bar, grated
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, dusting

Preparation:

  • To start with I chill the bowl I will be whipping the cream in.
  • Combine the egg yolks with sugar on a double boiler. I do this by keeping a bowl over a boiling water.
  • Stir it constantly, reduce the heat to low and cook this for about 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove the mixture from heat, whisk the mixture in an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment for about 5 minutes or until it turns thick and pale yellow.
  • Lower the speed to medium, add mascarpone and whisk until smooth.
  • Take out your chilled bowl from fridge and whip cream until soft peaks are formed.
  • Gently fold in the egg yolk and cheese mixture and keep it aside.
  • Mix instant coffee granules with 1 cup of hot water and keep it in a swallow bowl. This will be your espresso mixture.
  • Dip both the sides of each ladyfinger in espresso mixture and line the bottom of a dish.
  • Pour half  of the cream mixture on top of the biscuit layer.
  • Repeat with dipping both the side of biscuits and placing them in a second layer in the dish.
  • Pour the rest of the cream mixture on the top. Smooth the top and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Before serving, sprinkle the top with grated chocolate bar and also dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
Tiramisu

Tiramisu