THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: PACCHERI GAMBERONI&ZUCCHINE

Hello!Am I in time for FiestaFriday also this week?!Unbelivable!This Friday I cooked a simple pasta dish – classic Italian style –  with prawns and courgette. I used a big type of pasta named “pacchero”, they’re like maccheroni but bigger, and they’re made by durum wheat flour.

INGREDIENTS: (4 persons)
– 350 gr paccheri
– 200 gr shrimps (to clean)
– 1 zucchino
– salt&pepper
– extra-virgin olive oil
– chopped parsley
– tomato passata (1 spoon)

PREPARATION:

We start first from cleaning the shrimps: separate the heads from the bodies, and remove the shells. In a frypan, warm up two spoon of extra-virgine olive oil with red onion and a butter curl. Let the onion lightly fry and the butter liquefy. After that, you could add the zucchini previously chopped, to pieces or slices. Flavour them with salt, pepper and add the chopped parsley, and the spoon of tomato passata.

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At this point you can add the shrimps heads, and let all the ingredients cook for a while on low fire, then switch off the stove. In the meanwhile, put another pot with salted water on the stove, and wait till the water will join the boiling point to add the paccheri.

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The coooking time for paccheri is about 12-13 minutes. When the pasta is “al dente” (not too hard, not too soft) you can drain the pasta. Transfer the pasta in the frypan together with the courgette and the shrimps and cook them together for 2-3 minutes.

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Buon Appetito!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: LEMON CAKE

Hello! I’m glad this Friday to be able finally to participate again to FiestaFriday. Lately, I tried some new dishes, but I give up to post them on the blog because of the lack of time to write. Today I would like to show you a simple classic Lemon Cake, ideal for breakfast or a tea break.

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INGREDIENTS:

– 120 gr flour 00
– 250 gr butter
– 250 gr sugar
– 4 eggs
– 8-10 gr yeast
– 2 small lemon
– 120 gr maizena (it could be replaced with the same quantity of potato flour)

PREPARATION:

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To start preparing the cake cut the butter in cubes and let it became soft at room temperature, then put it in a bowl and add half of the sugar quantity previewed for this recipe. Start mixing (with the mixer or with the whisks) till you’ll obtain a soft and spumy mixture, then add the egg yolks (one by one). When the eggs will be fully blended, add the lemon peel.

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At this point you add the flour, the maizena and the yeast, previously sifted all together. Mix well all the ingredients then transfer the mixture in a clean big bowl. Use another time the mixer (or the whisks) to beat until stiff the albumen and the remaining quantity of sugar.

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When you have approximately finish to beat the egg whites, add slowly the lemon juice, then continue till you’ll obtain a rich and dense mixture. Add at last delicately the edd yolks you previously prepared, mixing from bottom to the top, not to disassemble the albumen. Mix until all the ingredients all fully combined.
Transfer the mixture in a round baking tray – diameter 22-24 cm – covered in wax paper, and put the cake in the preheated oven for 1 hour time at 180°C. When the cake it’s ready, let it cool down and then sprinkle powdered sugar on the top.

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Advice: If you notice that, while cooking, the cake became darker on the top, after 40 minutes open the oven and cover the cake with an aluminiun foil, then continue the cooking for the time suggested.

Buon Appetito!

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: SEDANINI TONNO, POMODORINI E OLIVE

Hello!Spring is here, and this week I thought to present you for FiestaFriday one of my common and simple pasta dish: i love this version of sedanini (they’re tiny maccheroni) with tuna, pachino tomatoes and olives (this time I used the taggiasche type). A perfect fresh pasta dish for the hot mounths!

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INGREDIENTS: (4 persons)

– 360/380 gr sedanini pasta;
– 1 can of tuna (extra virgin oil, or natural)
– 50/70 gr taggiasche olives (pitted);
– 150 gr pachino tomatoes;
– extra virgin olive oil;
– onion, or (garlic, if you like it);
– salt&pepper;
– oregano

PREPARATION:

First of all, cut the tomatoes in half, eliminating all the seeds and the water in the inside. (squeezing them lightly) In a small saucepan, put a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and let it warm up for 2 minutes. In the meanwhile, cut a tiny piece of onion (and/or garlic) and put it in the pan together with the oil, to flavour it. When the oil start to sizzle, throw away the onion. Add the cutted tomatoes to the oil, and let it “rest” for a bit out of the stove.

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In another pot, put 750 ml of water on the stove, add two teaspoon salt, and let the water reach the boil. When it’s ready, add the sedanini and let them boil for 8-9 minutes.

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In the meanwhile, add the taggiasche olives and the tuna to the tomatoes in the small saucepan. When the pasta is ready – al dente -, drain the pasta and put it in the saucepan, and finally cook all until creamy – 2 minutes -.

Buon Appetito!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM CUPCAKES

Hello to you all! This week I receive a special request from Mons to translate one of the firsts recipe that I published on the blog. I was really honoured by this, so I decided to share with everybody the translation of my previous post. After all, yesterday started a brand new FiestaFriday party, isn’t it?

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INGREDIENTS: (10-12 cupcakes)

– 125 gr. butter (room temperature)
– 1 vanillin bag
– 165 gr. granulated sugar
– 150 gr. flour 00
– 3 eggs
– 1 teaspoon baking powder for desserts
– 60 ml milk
– grated lemon peel (optional)

FOR THE BUTTER CREAM

– 200 gr. powdered sugar
– 100 gr. butter
– 100-125 gr. milk chocolate

PREPARATION:

Preheat the oven at 180°C. Amalgamate well all the ingredients with the mixer: you start mixing the sugar and the butter together. After that, you add the flour, the vanillin and the baking powder. In the end, you add the eggs and two-three spoon of milk. Continue mixing the ingredients at maximum speed until the dough will turn into a soft and yellow cream.
Pour the mixture in a  muffin pan (every mould must be half-filled) or use directly the cupcake wrappers. Cook the cupcakes in the oven for 15-20 minutes till they become lightly golden on the surface: now let the sweets cool down before decorate them.

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For the chocolate butter cream: use the whisks to amalgamate well 200 gr. of powdered sugar – previously sifted – with 100 gr of butter at room temperature. Now you can flavour the cream: I added the liquefied milk chocolate. (molten at bain-marie) Amalgamate again with the whisks till the mixture will be uniform. Use a pastry piping bag to decorate the cupcakes with the chocolate butter cream. Add some coloured sugar flowers on the top.

SWEET VALENTINE/2

Hello! This Friday I was busy preparing a cake for Davide, my sweetheart. This year I choose something so quick to make that I’m a bit bashful of my choice, dictated from the lacking of available time.
However, the result is similar to a Margherita cake, with chocolate chips inside, with a decoration of chocolate and caramel. I mean, everybody can make this cake!I’m really attached to this recipe, because my granny teached me: it reminds me at my childhood. Here the recipe (so late for FiestaFriday!):

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INGREDIENTS:

– 300 gr flour 00
– 250 gr sugar
– 150 gr of butter (not too cold)
– 1 bag baking powder for desserts
– 3 eggs
– juice of an half lemon (or orange, if you prefere)
– chocolate chips
– a glass of whole milk

PREPARATION:

First of all, put the butter chopped in cubes and the sugar in the mixer, to obtain a soft and grainy mix. Put the mixture in a bowl, and add the egg yolk – which you had previously divided from the egg whites-  to the mixture, one after another. Every time you add a yolk, mix with a spoon to amalgamate better.

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Aside from this, add the baking powder to the flour and mix them together. Start adding the flour and the baking powder to the mixture of sugar, butter and egg yolks: add it inch by inch, mixing every time. In the meanwhile, you could start adding also the lemon juice, and after the glass of whole milk, always in several times.

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At this point you must have obtained a great yellow, elastic dough. Put the chocolate chips in the dough and mix again from bottom to the top to amalgamate them.
Aside, beat the egg whites until stiff, and then add it to the mixture as final ingredient. Mix again from bottom to the top in two-three times.

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Now the dough is ready to be cooked: light up the oven at 180°-200° C, and cook the cake for 45-50 minutes. For Valentine Day I used a heart-shaped mold, of course.

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Let the cake cool down and when ready, sprinkle it with powdered sugar: now it’s just ready to serve. This time I have added a decoration also with caramel. This cake is perfect for those who love the ciambella dough and the soft cakes. You’ll love it! Hoping that a spent a lovely Valentine’s day. Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: PISTACHIO CREAM TART

Oh my! Last Friday I missed the first part of the Fiesta Friday party, I had really few time – not a bit news, right? Do you think I could join now? Am I in time for desserts? 😉
I was tired of the simple fruits tart, as well as the chocolate and the Nutella ones: so, I wanted to try a Pistachio Nutella, a special product that is not so easy to find in Northern Italy. The consistency is like the Nutella, but this cream has a light green colour and a delicate sweet taste of pistachio. Really yummy!One of my colleagues brought me from Sicily. For this special edition of Fiesta Friday, I prepared a Pistachio Cream Tart with dark chocolate chips and whipped cream. I found it just delicious to eat. Here’s the recipe:

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FOR THE SHORTCRUST PASTRY (PASTAFROLLA)

INGREDIENTS:

– Flour 00: 250 gr
– Butter: 125 gr
– Powdered sugar: 100 gr
– Eggs: (yolk): 2 or 3 if small
– a pinch of salt
– a hint of vanillin

FOR THE FILLING:

– 250 ml cream to whip
– dark chocolate chips
– 250 gr pistachio nutella cream

PREPARATION:

The preparation of the shortcrust pastry starts with a process called “sabbiatura”: first of all sift the flour, and put it in the mixer, together with the cold butter chopped in cubes, and a pinch of salt. Blend the ingredients till you’ll obtain a sandy-like and floury mixture, then transfer it on a floury pastry board. Now you could add the powdered sugar. (always sifted before), and the vanillin.
Make a well in the centre of the flour, then pour in the center the 2-3 egg yolks and the grated lemon peel; start to amalgamate with a fork till the egg yolk will absorb the flour, then follow kneading powerfully till you’ll obtain a compact and elastic dough. Shape a block and wrap it into the plastic wrap, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before using it. Spread out the dough on a pastry board, then transfer it in a baking tray covered with wax paper. Riddle with holes the dough, fill the tart with dry beans and then cook it in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180° C. When the borders are golden, remove the beans and then replace the tart in the oven, and cook again for other 20 minutes.

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You could also cook the Pistachio Nutella, but I prefer it cold in the filling, it’s more creamy; when the shortcrust tart is ready, fill it with the pistachio cream mixed with the dark chocolate chips, and put the tart in the fridge for a while.

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Then, you could start prepare the whipped cream: be careful to use a cold bowl and cold whisks; put the cream in the bowl together with the powdered sugar and start mixing at maximum speed, always in the same direction. When the whipped cream is ready and fluffy, you could decorate the tart on the top. When you cut it, you’ll have three coloured layers. Pretty, isn’t it?
Put the tart in the fridge for at least two hours before serving.

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THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: POLPETTE DI PATATE E GAMBERI

Hello! Last week I was so busy that i couldn’t cook a bit even on Friday and make it in time for Fiesta Friday…so sad! This week I made a super easy and delicious second course, polpette (balls) with potatoes and shrimps, just ideal if you have few time.

INGREDIENTS: (4 PERSONS)

– 4 potatoes
– shrimps, already cleaned;
– 1 egg
– 2 or 3 milk spoon
– bread crumbs
– parsley
– garlic, salt & pepper
– nutmeg

PREPARATION:

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Fisrt of all, peel the potatoes and wash them under the water. Put the potatoes in a pot and let them boil for 30-40 minutes. When they’re ready, you’ll squash them with a fork (you could use also a vegetable mill) to obtain a purée. In the meanwhile, wash the shrimps under the water and cook them with steam for 10 minutes. Whip them a little in the mixer, paying attention not to make a too refined mixture. Put together the whipped shrimps with the potatoes, add garlic and parsley chopped finely. Finally, add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

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The final step is to shape the polpette: then let them pass first into the beaten egg together with 2 spoon of milk, then into the bread crumbs. Fry them in lot of seed oil. When they became golden on the surface, you’ll drip them on the blotting paper to eliminate the oil in excess. Polpette are now ready to be served hot.

UPDATE OF THE SATURDAY MORNING
Yesterday I cooked really a lot! I would like to share another dish I made, a soup with spelt, cannellini beans and shrimps. Here the recipe:

INGREDIENTS: (4 PERSONS)

– 250/300 gr spelt (already precooked)
– tomato sauce
– parsley –
– a can of cannellini beans;
– 20/25 shrimps tail
– vegetable broth
– salt&pepper

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PREPARATION:

In a pot, make a sauté with extra-virgin olive oil, onion and garlic, if you like it; then add the tomato sauce and let it go on a low heat. You add first the vegetable broth, then, when the broth has been well absorbed, the spelt: cook it for 15-20 minutes. In the meanwhile, in a frypan, cook the cannellini beans with extra-virgin olive and garlic. Add the shrimps, already cleaned, and add some chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Put the cannellini beans and the shrimps into the pot with the tomato sauce and the spelt. Let the spelt take the flavour of the shrimps for some minutes, then you could serve the soup. Buon Appetito!Cris

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BIRTHDAY CAKE

Hello!Last Friday I was really busy preparing this great cake for Davide’s birthday. I worked all the morning and also for half afternoon, but now I can say that the result payed my efforts. I took some shots during the preparation, it would be nice to hear your comments about it… Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:
– 115 gr wheat flour;
– 100 gr sugar;
– 4 eggs;
– 100 gr butter;
– 175 gr dark chocolate;
– 10 gr baking powder for desserts;

FOR THE FILLING:
– 250 gr Nutella cream;
– 200 ml fresh cream to whip

For the butter cream:
– 250 gr powdered sugar
– 125 gr cold butter;
– 1-2 milk (or cream) teaspoon;
– vanilla (or almond) extract

Decoration:
– Sugar paste (yellow and orange) as needed;

PREPARATION:

First of all, put the chopped dark chocolate together with the butter in a bain-marie. Wait till the ingredients are completely liquefied. In the meanwhile, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, sift the ingredients such as flour and sugar, then mix with a wooden spoon the egg yolks together with the sugar. Then add the liquefied chocolate and the butter and blend all the ingredient well.

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After that, add the flour with the baking powder, little by little, and blend the mixture every time you add a small quantities of flour; finally, whip up the egg whites and add them to the mixture. Mix always bottom up, till you’ll obtain a soft and compact dough. Warm up the oven and cook the cake at 200 °C for 30 minutes. I choosed to make two different round baking tray (diameter 18 cm) to make a cake with two layers – but you could also cook the mixture all in one baking tray. (diameter 26 cm)

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Until the cake is in the oven, you’ll start preparing the butter cream: this is the cream you’ll use to cover the cake. The preparation is really simple: cut the butter into cubes and put it in the mixer. Work the butter at maximum speed for 30 seconds. Then sift the powdered sugar (to avoid lumps) and add it to the butter, two spoon at a time, always using medium-high speed. From time to time, remove the sugar stucked on the borders of the mixer. When you have finished the sugar, you can add the vanilla extract. Work the mixture for a last time (5 minutes) till the cream will have a soft, light colour.

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The cake in the meanwhile is ready: take it out from the oven and let it cool down on a grid. It’s time to decide which cream you’ll use for the filling; I choosed a nutella cream and I prepared fresh whipped cream. I assembled the cake with the two layers of stuffing, then I started to cover it with the butter cream: during this last step, pay attention to spread equally on the cake surface the butter cream, using one or two spatula.

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Put the cake in the fridge for one hour, then take it out and start to decorate it with sugar paste and chocolate syrup as you prefere. When you finish, you can conserve the cake in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Happy Fiesta Friday and Happy Halloween to you all!Cris