Salt cod: Baccalà

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Chickpea Soup: Zuppa di Ceci

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saffron risotto italian food blog

Italian Food and Flavours

Saffron Risotto
Serves 4
Yesterday I took a trip to a village at the foot of the wonderful Sibillini Mountain national park to meet a delightful Dutch family that for a few years now has produced that most delicate, and expensive of spices, saffron. They produce a fine completely natural product of great quality and value. Their website is under construction but you can check their progress at http://deliciousnature.com
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Ingredients
  1. saffron 2 pistils per person
  2. stick of celery
  3. 2 onions
  4. 1 carrot
  5. bunch of parsley
  6. 1 medium potato
  7. risotto rice handful per person
  8. olive oil
  9. glass white wine
  10. knob of butter
  11. mild cheese - mild pecorino - to taste
Instructions
  1. Allow the saffron to infuse for 24 hours in a cup of warm water, about two pistils per person is sufficient. Prepare a good vegetable broth by boiling the chopped celery, one of the onions coarsly chopped, the chopped carrot, half the parsley and the chopped potato. Boil for about an hour in a good sized pan with 2 ls of water, salt to taste. stir often.
  2. Once you have prepared the broth begin the preparation of the risotto.
  3. Fry the other finely chopped onion in olive oil and when it become translucent add a handful of rice for each person. mix with the onion until well glazed with the oil, about 2 to 3 minutes, then deglaze with the white wine, now begin to add the broth a ladleful at a time, wait until the broth has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next, don't leave the pan! you have to stir constantly. At the end of cooking, when the rice is cooked but still slightly al dente - with a little bite - pour in the saffron water turn up the heat to evaporate the excess water add a piece of butter, the rest of the parsley, finely chopped and grated mild cheese to taste. Take off the heat and leave to rest and absorb the flavour of the saffron for five minutes, give a final stir and serve.
Cooking Holidays Italy http://www.italianfoodandflavours.com/
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Tagliatella fatta a mano al “ragù di carne”

Italian Food and Flavours

 

Tagliatella fatta a mano al “ragù di carne”
Serves 4
Handmade tagliatelle with meat ragu sauce: This pasta is an historic Cossignanese (from my home town of Cossignano Italy) dish and in the post-war era has become very popular due to its simple and easily available ingredients. The elderly ladies Cossignano retain the art of handmade pasta passed down from their mothers, and it is thanks to one of these women Mrs. Nannina, that I was able to learn the secrets of this sublime and genuine pasta.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr
For the pasta
  1. 200g "00" flour
  2. 2 eggs
  3. salt
For the ragu
  1. 200g ground beef
  2. 100g ground pork
  3. onion
  4. carrot
  5. stick of celery
  6. olive oil
  7. red wine
  8. parmesan rind
  9. litre passata
Tagliatelle
  1. The process of making fresh tagliatella is very simple but at the same time its preparation needs attention and much love. Start by putting 200g of “00” flour on a wooden board, make a hole in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into the hole, add a drop of olive oil and a pinch of salt and with a fork then break up the eggs slowly pulling down the flour a bit at a time. Once this step is complete we move on to the “massage” phase. Work the dough with your hands until the dough becomes soft and compact and stretches when pulled, once it reaches the right consistency leave it to rest for around 30 min in a cool place.
  2. Now comes the most delicate phase of the creation of the pasta (in the local “Cossignanese” dialect this is called the “pannella”) it is made by steadily using a long wooden pasta rolling pin to stretch out the dough until it becomes 2mm thin. Use a little more four to prevent the dough sticking to the board or rolling pin. It is important to keep all areas of the dough at a similar thickness as it thins out, put your hands near the centre of the rolling pin when you start and move them to the ends of the pin as you roll so as to keep an even pressure over the whole area of the dough. Occasionally lift the dough carefully and dust with flour underneath to ensure it does not stick to the board. A long thin rolling pin is required to avoid creating flat spots on the pasta as the area of the dough increases.
  3. At this point the dough can lightly rolled up and cut with a knife to creat thin strips 3/4m for “maccheroncino” and 7/8mm for “tagliatella” strips. This pasta is now ready to use, since it is fresh it takes only a couple of minutes in boiling water to reach the “al dente” (to the tooth) stage and can be topped with any suitable sauce, perfect is a “ragu” meat sauce but equally a good mushroom or fish sauce will work well.
Ragu
  1. Here in Cossignano the sauce is usually made with ground beef and pork. This is not “mince” that you might buy in a supermarket. In Italy we buy a piece of meat and ask the butcher to mince it for us so we know exactly what we are eating. Fry a finely sliced onion in a little olive oil, when it becomes soft and translucent add a diced carrot and a chopped stick of celery and cook together for a few minutes. Add 200 grams ground beef and 100 grams of minced pork, brown it with the addition of a drop of red wine. As soon as the meat is browned add salt and pepper to taste pop in a parmesan rind and pour about a quart of passata di pomodoro – pureed tomatoes. Cook for about two hours covered over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom.
Cooking Holidays Italy http://www.italianfoodandflavours.com/
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