Risotto ai funghi

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina

250 g Arborio, Vialone Nano or Carnaroli risotto rice
25 g salted butter
1 small (150 g) white onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 litre of vegetable/chicken stock
200 g of porcini mushrooms, fresh or about 50 g dried
a small bunch of flat-leaved parsley (I had dry thyme)
1 cupful of white, dry wine
100g freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Soak dried mushroom in hot water for 20 minutes or, if fresh, chop up. Heat half the butter and olive oil in the saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until fragrant. Heat the stock in a separate pot. Now toast the rice in the pan for a couple of minutes, stirring until coated in the oil. Add the wine and stir to evaporate. Now begin ladling the stock into the rice one ladle at a time. Continue stirring the rice and adding stock each time the liquid begins to dry up. Add the mushrooms. If you run out of stock, and need to cook the rice more, substitute the broth with hot water to avoid over-saltiness. When the rice grains are still al dente, add the rest of the butter, the parsley, and  freshly grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

~Jessica

Pappardelle al ragù alla bolognese

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

olive oil
1/2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 carrot, trimmed and finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g turkey mince
400g plum tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, dried oregano, 2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
125ml red wine
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)
basil leaves, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
75g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
400g pappardelle (or tagliatelle or fettuccine if you like)

If using meat, cook the bacon first. Saute onions in olive oil/butter on medium heat until fragrant. Add garlic and cook a couple minutes. Add the carrot, then the celery and cook until softened. Add the ground meat and wine. Cook a bit. Add the tomatoes and puree/water, the chili pepper if you like, and all herbs. Let stew for 30-60 minutes. Boil water for the pasta meanwhile. Cook pasta one minute short (al dente). Add the pasta to the sauce and swirl to coat thoroughly. Serve immediately, topped with freshly grated Parmesan and torn basil. Buon appetito.

~Jessica

Creamed spinach

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sorry it’s only in the background!

Adapted from Tyler Florence

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags of baby spinach
  • unsalted butter + extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • heavy cream
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 50 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Wash the spinach several times. Drain the spinach.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, then add the spinach, turning frequently, until the spinach has wilted down evenly.
  3. Remove the garlic and drain the spinach in a colander. Press out as much liquid as possible.
  4. Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat and add the cream and nutmeg; cook until it reduces a bit, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is hot, about 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Cacio e pepe

Adapted from Mario Batali

500 g bavette or linguini fine
extra-virgin olive oil
110 g butter
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Cacio di Roma
freshly grated Pecorino Romano
2 pinches of Kosher salt

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Cook the pasta al dente. Drain but reserve the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan. Add the butter and toss. Add cheeses and pepper. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

P.S. Yes, yes, I know I sauteed onions, garlic, and 1/2 a carrot in the butter and olive oil. And I threw in a handful of fresh parsley because I had it and color is pretty. Your concerns are duly noted.

No-yeast pizza dough pizza

Adapted from the BBC Good Food

350 g flour
2 pinches of baking powder
pinch of salt and sugar
2 spoonfuls of olive oil
170-225 mL warm water

Mix the dry ingredients separately, then add in the water and olive oil. Combine until you form a ball. Let this sit in the fridge (preferably 4-5 hours), covered by a damp cloth, while you prepare the toppings.

Pre-cook your toppings (e.g. ham, mushrooms, artichokes, San Marzano tomatoes, onions, etc.) in some olive oil/butter, sliced onions, and minced garlic. Don’t overcook, as they will bake in the oven as well. Grate your cheese (mozzarella di bufala Campana, pecorino romano, scamorza, etc.).

Punch down the chilled dough, and roll flat (a wine bottle works here). Top with chopped tomatoes, then the vegetables. Brush olive oil on the crust. Bake at 200 deg C for 10 min, add the mozzarella (or other cheeses), then put back in for another 15-25 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.

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~Jessica

P.S. Different Italian pizza types:

  • pizza napoletana
  • pizza alla marinara
  • pizza capricciosa
  • pizza pugliese
  • sfincione.

Tian de Courgettes au Riz

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin Adapted from smitten kitchen, From Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II. Serves 6

~1 kg zucchini (I used 3 green & yellow squash)
90 grams plain, uncooked white rice
1 medium onion, minced (I used 2 shallots)
75 mL olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, mashed or finely minced
15 g all-purpose flour
Milk, as needed (I used veg. broth)
55 g grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Butter for dish

Wash the zucchini and trim ends. Halve lengthwise. Coarsely grate and toss with salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let drain for 20-30 minutes. Save the drained liquid. Taste. If too salty, rinse and drain the zucchini again (not saving the liquid this time). Squeeze in handfuls, gently, collecting the drained liquid. Blot dry on a paper towel.

Saute the onions on medium-low in olive oil for 8 – 10 minutes, until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the grated (dry) zucchini and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Toss and turn for 5 – 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

Measure the drained liquid. If you have less than 600 mL, add milk/broth until you have this. Stir this into the zucchini-onion mixture, return pan to stove over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat again, stir in the rice and all but 2 tablespoons cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

In a baking dish, add mixture, then sprinkle with reserved cheese and remaining olive oil/butter. Heat oven to 220 deg C. Bake in upper third of oven until bubbling and browned on top, about 25 – 30 minutes. (If yours begins to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil up until the last 5 minutes.) The rice should absorb all the liquid. Serve immediately.

~Jessica

Mushroom lasagna

Adapted from smitten kitchen, who adapted from Ina Garten and Simply Recipes.

Salt + pepper
Olive oil
400 g dried lasagna noodles (250 g would have been plenty for me!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
960 mL whole milk
170 g unsalted butter, divided
60 g all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper + nutmeg
750 g cremini or portobello mushrooms (really used 250 g! + eggplant + walnuts)
freshly grated parmesan, to top

I added:
1 red onion
500 g canned chopped tomatoes
fresh thyme + basil + oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of sugar
300 g frozen spinach
250 g ricotta
125 g mozzarella

Boil lasagna pasta for 10 min in salted water with olive oil. Simmer milk and garlic in a saucepan until fragrant. Remove. Melt butter. Whisk flour into the butter. Add milk mixture, little by little. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg. Thicken for 3-5 minutes, stirring. Set aside.

Trim mushroom ends, saute them with the onions in olive oil and butter. Add the spinach and canned tomatoes to this. Season with salt, red pepper flakes, sugar, and the fresh herbs. Preheat oven to 190 deg C. Spread béchamel sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer pasta, béchamel, mushrooms, parmesan three times, then top off with pasta, béchamel, and grated parmesan. Bake for 45 minutes, covered by aluminum foil. Remove at the end to crisp the top!

~Jessica

P.S. Cover with foil for the first half of bake time to avoid burning!

Baked ziti, in a manner of speaking

Adapted from smitten kitchen

Glug of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 garlic cloves, minced
125 g turkey strips
500 g can of crushed tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano
Red pepper flakes, to taste
450 g pasta, cooked al dente and drained
220 g mozzarella, coarsely grated
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
100 g frozen spinach
To serve: Dollops of your favorite ricotta and slivers of basil leaves =)

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I used fettuccine instead of ziti, and added a bit of chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, and mushrooms, for nutrition.

Preheat oven to 225 deg C. Cook pasta until al dente (at least 2 minutes less than the suggested cooking time). Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.

Heat large sauté pan over medium heat. Coat with glug of olive oil, and heat oil. Add the protein of your choice and cook with onion, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and salt over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until meat is browned; stir frequently. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. If it’s become quite thick, stir in reserved pasta water. Add spinach and cook until wilted, ~1 minute.

You can either 1) layer or 2) mix the pasta together, casserole-like, before baking. If 1) coat drained pasta in a little olive oil so they don’t stick. Ladle sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, then layer of pasta, another layer sauce, then mozzarella and ricotta, another layer of pasta, add the remaining sauce, and top with remaining cheeses, including Parmigiano.

If 2) Stir in drained pasta and heat together for one minute. Pour half of pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish, lasagna pan, or other 3-quart baking vessel (or divide among smaller ones, if you’d like to freeze some off). Sprinkle with half of each cheese. Pour remaining pasta and sauce over, and finish with remaining cheese. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes.

~Jessica

P.S. Feel free to cook in some bell peppers, a la Simply Recipes.