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Cover: Mamma Mia!

July, 2012

30Jul 12

Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta

Roasted Red Pepper BruschettaAmong our repertoire of appetisers, starters, and snacks, is roasted red pepper bruschetta. We’ve been known to whip some up for a light supper, or to accompany a light salad or soup, like this rich and tasty watercress soup. The red pepper is such an evocative taste of the Mediterranean for me. I remember the smell on the nights my mum flame-roasted them on a small fire, blackening them before peeling off the skin, rinsing and deseeding them, and then adding them to salads, pastas and of course bruschetta too.  For more toasty bread and salad sensations, try this warm chicken salad with garlic and tomato bread.

Mama would also store them in jars to add wonderful flavour into other recipes. If you have the option of flame-roasting your peppers, I would certainly recommend it for this roasted red pepper bruschetta. If you have a gas hob, you can roast them straight over the flame, staying close by, and turning them as you go with metal tongs. If you don’t have that option, then conventional oven roasting is also great. If you want to speed this recipe up massively, you can buy and use really tasty roasted peppers in jars.

Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 slices
 
Toasted ciabatta piled with roasted red peppers, red onion, tomato and balsamic; a sure-fire palate opener or tasty snack
Ingredients
  • ½ ciabatta loaf
  • 175g red peppers
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • ⅓ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • ⅓ bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of paprika
  • salt
Instructions
  1. Either flame-roast or conventionally roast your red peppers. If you are doing this in the oven, preheat it to 200ºC, brush the peppers with a little oil, sprinkle over a little salt and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika, and roast for 25-35 minutes until they are soft and coloured. Let them cool enough to remove the seeds before chopping them into thick ribbon strands.
  2. Let the oven cool a while and then turn the grill on. Cut your ciabatta into thick slices (about 2.5cm wide), brush one side with olive oil and grill with the oil-brushed side up until just crisp and golden. Remove the bread and let cool.
  3. Combine the roasted peppers, tomato, garlic, onion and basil in a small mixing bowl, then spoon out over the toast. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, garnish with a sprig of basil and serve straight away so that you can enjoy them warm.
Notes
If you're using pre-roasted peppers, you'll whip this snack up in 10 minutes!

 

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30Jul 12

Potato Gnocchi

Potato Gnocchi
Potato Gnocchi
are light potato dumplings which were my grandmother’s specialty, a typical Sunday lunch at her table. They are an Italian tradition, differing in ingredients and form according to the region. You can serve it up with different sauces; Pomodoro, Pesto and Gorgonzola are three classics.

Gnocchi is a versatile dish, and to get it perfect requires practice and a little patience, as they should be light and delicate rather than heavy and rubbery. But when you get it right, Mamma, are they good!

If you like Gnocchi you could also try my Baked Dolcelatte and Broccoli recipe.

Potato Gnocchi
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Light potato dumplings, gnocchi is a typical winter Sunday lunch dish in Italy.
Ingredients
  • 400g Floury potatoes - Maris Pipers or Desiree are good options. Try to pick the same size potatoes so they cook at the same time
  • 100g plain flour (plus some extra for the work surface)
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Place the unpeeled potatoes in a pan of slightly salted, cold water and bring to the boil (15-20 minutes). They are ready when the skins starts to crack and you can insert a knife without resistance.
  2. Drain the potatoes and place them on a kitchen towel.
  3. Peel and mash them into a bowl, making sure they are lump-free. It’s easier to mash while still hot. Let them cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Spread a layer of flour onto a clean work surface and put the mashed potato onto the flour.
  5. Next crack an egg into a bowl and whisk. Add a small amount (a couple of tablespoons) to the centre of the mash. Add a little flour and mix the ingredients with your hands. Repeat until you have used all the flour, but keep back a little egg.
  6. Knead the mixture for 6-7 minutes until the dough reaches a good consistency – smooth and elastic, not sticky. Add an extra spoonful of egg if the mixture appears dry.
  7. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
  8. Re-flour the work surface and roll your ball, making long sausage strips approximately the width of your thumb.
  9. Cut the strips into pieces of around 2½cm in length. Lay them onto the floury surface, not touching each other!
  10. Shape each piece into a rounded Gnocchi. You can flatten them slightly with a fork for a pillow shape.
  11. They are now ready to be boiled. You can boil them straightaway or leave them on a floured plate in the fridge to cook them later.
  12. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a gentle boil and add the Gnocchi – a few at a time. You will know they are cooked as soon as they start to float to the surface. This should take a couple of minutes, and they should be soft and light. Leave for 30 seconds and spoon out with a slotted spoon into your chosen sauce.
  13. Gently stir for 20-30 seconds, add basil leaves to garnish and serve immediately.

 

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27Jul 12

Taleggio, Ham and Sage Gnocchi

Taleggio, Ham and Sage GnocchiGnocchi are basically a kind of small, soft dumpling, which can be made from a variety of ingredients, including flour, semolina and potato, or numerous other combinations. Recently a friend of ours cooked us gnocchi made with chestnut flour, which was new to us, and very delicious. I’d like to try it myself some time soon. If and when I do, I’ll post it here.

Taleggio is a soft cheese named for the beautiful Val Taleggio in Lombardy. It is what is called ‘washed rind’ and ‘smear-ripened’. These terms refer to the maturation processes, and the result in this case is a pungent-smelling but pretty mild-tasting cheese, ideal for melting in dishes such as this.

Last time we ate this, we had one of our favourite super simple salads with it, consisting merely of watercress with Parmesan shavings, lightly drizzled in olive oil, with a slug of balsamic vinegar and a twist of pepper, and a freshly baked (from the supermarket, admittedly) white baguette. (For dessert, why not try this white chocolate mousse?)

Taleggio, Ham and Sage Gnocchi
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Gnocchi are basically a kind of small, soft dumpling, which can be made from a variety of ingredients, including flour, semolina and potato, or numerous other combinations.
Ingredients
  • 15g butter, cubed
  • 60g pancetta, cubed
  • 100ml double cream
  • 3 or 4 sage leaves (cut length-wise into thin strips)
  • 50g Taleggio cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of fine flour
  • 200g gnocchi
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, over a low heat, melt the butter. Add the pancetta and cook slowly, until beginning to caramelize (approx 10 minutes).
  2. Add the cream and sage and stir together. Increase the heat, bringing the mixture to the boil, thicken and reduce for several minutes. Add the Taleggio and Parmesan, stirring them in, and then remove the pan from the heat. Once the cheese has melted, taste, and then season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the gnocchi as per the packet instructions. This is usually only a matter of some minutes, and waiting for the gnocchi to float to the water surface. Drain and return to the pan. Pour over the sauce and serve to warmed plates or bowls.

 

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25Jul 12

Bacon and Borlotti Soup

Bacon and Borlotti Soup

 

I’ve called this bacon and borlotti partly for the benefit of English readers, and partly because I like the alliteration. You could of course use bacon instead of the pancetta I suggest, but of course thin rashers of bacon aren’t rustic, authentic or, let’s face it, macho! (For a vegetarian recipe using similar kidney beans, try this cheesy chilli sin carne.)

This recipe calls for “small soup pasta”. We have terms like ‘pasta in brodo’, which translates as pasta in broth, or ‘pastina’, the latter meaning literally, little pasta. Such pasta comes in many forms including, amongst the smaller types suitable for this recipe, annellini, grattini or stellini, the last of which are, as the name suggests, little stars! Nowadays many stores sell bags of small pasta in mixed sizes and shapes specifically for soup, so you can you have fun seeing what you can find.

Once the pasta is ready, take the soup off the heat and let stand to cool off a little before serving. Nobody wants to scald their mouth; we like to taste our food after going to the effort of cooking it!

Have a nice crusty loaf of unsliced bread and some butter handy, so you break off nice chunks and dip them in the soup. The Parmesan shaving, parsley sprigs and olive oil are all optional extras, and you may not feel you need them.

Bacon & Borlotti Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A hearty and savoury soup with Borlotti beans and small soup pasta
Ingredients
  • 100 ml water
  • 15g dried porcini
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 200g canned borlotti beans, drained and washed
  • 100g small soup pasta
  • 75g pancetta, cubed
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan shavings, parsley sprigs and extra virgin olive oil, to garnish
Instructions
  1. - Dried mushrooms need reviving, 'ravvivare' as we say: boil the 100ml of water, pour into a heat-proof bowl or container, and plop your porcini in, making sure they're all taking a proper hot bath! Soak for 15 minutes, drain (reserving the flavoured fluid), gently squeezing out any excess moisture.
  2. - Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, over a low heat, adding the cubed pancetta, carrot, onion and celery. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium and add rosemary, garlic and porcini, allowing to cook through for a minute or two.
  3. - Add the borlotti beans and red wine, turn up the heat and boil off the wine. Stir in the tomato purée, followed by the chicken stock and the liquid from soaking the mushrooms. Bring back to the boil, before reducing the heat and simmering the soup gently for about ten minutes.
  4. - Bring the soup back to the boil again and add your pasta, keep stirring the whole mixture, cooking it till the pasta is al dente. Small pasta is best for this recipe, as it keeps the soup kind of rustic and manageable, and also, importantly, will cook quickly.
  5. – Let cool just a bit before serving.

 

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22Jul 12

Chilli Crab Spaghetti

Chilli Crab SpaghettiCrab is obviously just one of the many delicious and varied ‘frutti di mare’, or ‘fruits of the sea’ commonly found in Italian food. And, given that almost all of Italy’s regions have stretches of coast, it’s no wonder our rich seafood is omnipresent in our cuisine.

And, of course, feel free to switch out spaghetti for any other similar pasta like tagliatelli or fettucine. Any of those options would work.

A similar-tasting meat is crayfish meat, which are only found in fresh water. If you want to try out a recipe using crayfish, try this crayfish rice with mango recipe.

Like some other of my recipes in the blog, you can start off with the pasta, as the whole meal is done very quickly, whilst the pasta cooks.

A light, leafy green salad, using something like iceberg lettuce or Romaine (also known as Cos) lettuce, makes a good accompaniment to this dish, as would a dry white wine. A floral French Bordeaux wine would be one option, whilst the more flinty taste of Chablis, from Burgundy, would be another. Despite the differences, either type of wine pairs up nicely with crab, I think.

Chilli Crab Spaghetti
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
This is also yet another example of simple and quick pasta that is light and delicious
Ingredients
  • 50ml olive oil (extra virgin is best)
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced into thin strips (set aside some fronds for use as garnish)
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • 1 red chilli (fresh), deseeded and finely chopped
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • A handful of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 50ml dry vermouth
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 150g fresh crab meat
  • 200g spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook according to the packet instructions, in a large pan of lightly salted water, till the pasta is al dente.
  2. Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over a low heat. Add the garlic, chilli and fennel, and sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the crab meat, and cook for a minute or so before adding the vermouth. Turn up the heat, bringing the liquor to the boil. Reduce for a couple of minutes, until most of the liquor has evaporated.
  3. Remove from the heat, add the remaining oil, the juice of half a lemon, and season. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  4. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the chilli/crab mixture and stir it all together. Serve to warm plates, garnished with the cherry tomatoes and fennel fronds or parsley.

 

 

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18Jul 12

Porcini Papardelle

Porcini PappardellePappardelle is a broader version of tagliatelle, usually about an inch (2.5/3 cm) wide. It’s a delicious form of pasta, and reputedly gets its name from the verb “pappare”, which translates as to ‘scoff’ or ‘gobble’ up. Very appropriate!
Porcini mushrooms, whose Italian name is derived from ‘piglet’, belong to the genus Boletus, and are unquestionably the emperor amongst fungi, at least as far as we in Italy are concerned. (In England, they are called ceps.)You could use other mushrooms in this dish, but why do that? This recipe is really all about the particular flavour of the porcini, which is a blend of creamy, meaty and nutty flavours, a literal taste of their symbiotic relationship with the wooded areas where they grow (at least the wild ones).
I also recommend my mushroom risotto. Delicious! (If I do say so myself!)

It doesn’t take much to modify this dish. You could add bacon, chicken, courgettes, or all three. Or some cream, or a little dry white wine. We enjoyed a version of this we once tried where we used a little leftover roast rabbit. A green leafy salad, some crusty bread, and a dry white wine will all complement this dish perfectly.

Porcini Papardelle
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
It’s a delicious form of pasta, and reputedly gets its name from the verb “pappare”, which translates as to ‘scoff’ or ‘gobble’ up.
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 25g butter, cubed
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • I red chilli (fresh), deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 200g porcini mushrooms, cleaned
  • 200g papardelle pasta
  • 50-100g Parmesan cheese shavings
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Start by making the sauce. After cleaning the porcini, slice them quite thinly (2 or 3 mm). Bring the oil in a heavy based frying pan up to a low heat, add the garlic and chilli, allowing them to infuse the oil, but being careful to ensure they don’t burn or get at all scorched.
  2. Turn up the heat and add the mushrooms, cooking them until they are tender and have taken on some colour, caramelizing very slightly. Turn off the heat and add the butter, stirring it in as it melts. Add the parsley (set a little aside for garnishing) and lemon juice.
  3. Now you can get on with the pasta. Cook the pasta in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water, until al dente. Reserve a cupful of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.
  4. Mix the pasta with the mushrooms and sauce, and return to a medium heat, adding the reserved cooking liquid. When it’s all combined, and the pasta is unctuously coated, serve onto warmed plates or bowls, adding salt and pepper to taste, generous amounts of Parmesan shavings and the remaining chopped parsley.

 

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15Jul 12

Rabbit Emilia-Romagna

Rabbit Emilia RomagnaI’m crazy about rabbit! (As you can probably tell by my post on braised rabbit.) If you liked my previous post, here’s another dinner party friendly dish with rabbit. This time it’s a regional speciality from the wealthy Emilia-Romagna, the ‘administrative region’ of northern Italy, home not only to some great food, but also to some other modest home-grown Italian successes like Lamborghini, Ducati, and Ferrari.

This goes well with rice, potatoes or polenta. Last time we had it, we had the potatoes dauphinoise style, – rich and creamy – and we loved it!

As for wine, you could go red, rosé or white with this fairly richly flavoured rabbit dish. We had Cuvée Mythique with it last time, a French red wine that I’d remembered as being very smooth. It was a bit sharper than I had remembered, but we still liked it. Nevertheless, perhaps next time I would try a different wine pairing for this delicious rabbit.

 

 

Rabbit Emilia-Romagna
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a dinner party friendly dish with rabbit.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-sized rabbit (about 1.5kg), cut into 8 pieces by your butcher
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 125ml passata (tomato sauce)
  • 50g butter
  • 100g lard
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a casserole dish, melt the butter and lard. Over a medium heat, cook the onions and celery and sauté for 3-4 minutes until the onions turn golden. Add the rabbit pieces and continue to cook, turning the meat over to cook evenly. A couple of minutes on either side should be enough.
  2. Add the wine, cook for 2 minutes, and then add the passata. Stir thoroughly to coat all the meat with the tomato, and then add half the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 1 hour, turning the meat every 15 minutes and keeping an eye to ensure the food doesn’t dry out. If the sauce is disappearing, top up with some more stock.
  3. Mix the chopped garlic and parsley and add to the casserole, stir well, and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. At this point remove the lid, and depending on the level of liquid sauce, either serve immediately or cook for 5-10 minutes more to reduce the sauce even further.

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12Jul 12

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

 

 

Once a year or so, I like to visit a vineyard and do a wine tour or tasting. It is always interesting the differences that each company uses in their wine production. There are a lot of decisions made throughout the process that changes the body and flavour of a wine, making each one really distinct. I wouldn’t say that I am a connoisseur, by any means. However, the more tastings you go to, the more you learn and can appreciate the difference between wines.

Many vineyards have gift shops to buy the wines you liked or other paraphernalia. I once saw a ceramic that tickled my fancy, and now it hangs in my kitchen. The slogan goes, “I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.” In my household, this is most certainly true! This chicken marsala recipe is just one example of when I enjoy a glass of wine while cooking, and use just a bit in the process as well.

I use red wine here, but if you prefer white, try this chestnut spaghetti with chicken livers.

 

Chicken Marsala
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A great way to cook with wine
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 150g flour
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning of choice
  • 8 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 200ml marsala wine
  • 150g spaghetti
  • 1 pinch of parsley to garnish
Instructions
  1. Take your chicken breasts and wrap them in clingfilm. Pound them flat.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour and your seasoning of choice.
  3. Remove the clingfilm and dip the chicken into the flour until heavily coated on both sides.
  4. Heat up 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken for 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove the chicken and set aside on a plate, covering with aluminum foil.
  6. Heat up the remaining oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Add the marsala wine and let it reduce a bit.
  8. Next add in the chicken stock and start to stir. Wait a few minutes until you notice the sauce begin to thicken, and sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add the chicken breasts once again to the mixture.
  10. Cover the frying pan, and let it all simmer together for approximately 10 minutes.
  11. Whilst you have the chicken going, prepare the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.
  12. After the allotted time, remove the cover on the frying pan and check to see if the chicken is cooked throughout.
  13. If so, drain the spaghetti and divide it equally onto two plates.
  14. Scoop the chicken on top of the pasta, making sure to get lots of the sauce as well.
  15. Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

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11Jul 12

Colomba Pasquale: ‘Easter Dove’ Cake

Colomba pasqualeAlso known as Colomba di Pasqua, the dough used is similar to that which makes Panettone (flour, sugar, eggs, yeast and butter), but with candied peel instead of raisins. For an authentic Italian Easter celebration, the cake is made in the (often very approximate) shape of a dove.

If you’ve only got ordinary round cake-baking tins don’t worry. This tastes equally delicious whatever shape you choose! And I know I’m a bit late for Easter, but maybe it was because I ate too much over the holidays that I didn’t feel like posting this at the time! So here it is, a recipe for one of the many delicious things I just couldn’t give up for Lent!

Don’t be put off by the long preparation time – most of this is just allowing the dough to rise, the main part of which is best done overnight. The kneading is the only really demanding part, and there are machines you can buy that will do that for you if you can’t face it!

I don’t know if this is true or not, but I was once told that there was a law passed to control and regulate the production of this cake. Judging from the varieties I’ve had over the years, the law isn’t being rigorously enforced!

Ingredients:

  • 450g flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 30g baker’s yeast
  • Some warm water
  • 200g butter
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 75-100ml milk
  • 75-80g candied fruit peel, to choose between lemon, lime and orange peel (diced)
  • 20g white hundreds and thousands for extra decoration
  • 75g almonds
  • A pinch of salt

Preparation:

1 – Crumble the yeast into a small amount of warm water, and allow it to dissolve. Then mix in 60g of flour. Roll a compact ball of dough and cut an ‘x’ into the top. Roll the dough-ball in flour, and then place it in a bowl along with a cup-full of warm water. Leave for half an hour, occasionally turning the dough over in the water, when it floats to the surface.

2 – Mix the rest of the flour with the egg yolks and just over half the butter (approx 110-115g), and the sugar, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the milk (which should be warmed first). Knead this mixture together, then add the already leavened dough and knead for 15-20 minutes (good kitchen exercise!). The smooth dough that results from all this effort should be placed in a covered bowl somewhere warm and allowed to rise for as long as required to increase the volume by roughly 30 per cent, which will probably be a minimum of 4-8 hours (it’s best left to rise overnight).

3 – Knead the dough again, slowly adding about half the remaining butter, in small chunks. Let it rise again, this time doubling in size, which will take up to six hours. Finally, knead one more time, this time adding all the remaining butter and the candied peel. (Set aside some of the candied peel to top the cake with later.) If you’re going for the dove shape, now’s the time! Otherwise place in a cake baking tin, lined with greaseproof paper to stop the cake sticking.

4 – Preheat your oven to 190ºC. Brush the remaining egg yolk over the cake mix (you could add a drop of vanilla essence to the glaze if you feel like it), and press the almonds in, so they won’t fall out as the cake bakes. Sprinkle over the sugar and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160ºC and bake for a further 20 minutes.

5 – Top it with any candied peel you have set aside along with the hundreds and thousands.

Makes at least 8 generous servings
Total Time – Approx 24 hours (preparation, 20 hours; cooking time, 40 minutes)

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05Jul 12

Mozzarella and Tomato Calzone

Mozzarella and Tomato CalzoneA calzone is a folded pizza. I’ve had some that are literally a pizza folded over, and others that are like an English ‘pasty’, folded over and joined along the edge to for a self-contained pie. Calzones have often been used as a way of clearing up tasty leftovers, with tomato and mozzarella added to bind the whole lot together.

With today’s recipe, I’m keeping it ultra-simple, and sticking to just those two essentials: tomato and mozzarella, and a little shredded basil: red white and green, the colours of Italy!

You can obviously make as many as you need, and they actually taste fantastic cold, as well as hot, so you can make a few and store them in the fridge for those times when you just need to grab and go.

Eat with a peppery rocket and watercress salad and some nice cold beers. This stuff makes good couch eating; as it cools off, you can dispense with the cutlery and pick the pizza up and munch away, while you chill in front of the TV. It’s not all sophisticated living!

Ingredients:

  • Approx 250g of pizza dough, divided into two (Check out this gluten-free option for pizza crust.)
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 150-200g chopped tinned tomatoes (or half a jar of store-bought pizza sauce)
  • 250g mozzarella, sliced or chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn up or shredded
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

1 – If using tinned tomatoes, simmer for 15 minutes in a pan to reduce and thicken. If using pizza sauce, skip this part. Divide the pizza dough into two balls, and on a lightly floured surface, roll out two discs of between 20-30 cm in diameter.

2 – Divide the tomato sauce between the two pizza bases, leaving a 2.5 cm edge around the base. Add the garlic and mozzarella to one half of each pizza-base, before sprinkling over the basil leaves. Season with salt and pepper.

3 – Brush water around the edge of the base, fold over and seal, pressing your thumbs into the dough. Place on some baking foil, in a baking tray, prick in a couple of places with a fork, and cook at 200ºC for between 10-20 minutes. Basically keep an eye on them and remove them when the dough turns a beautiful pale gold.

Makes: 2 calzone pizzas
Total Time – Approx 45 minutes (preparation, 25 hours; cooking time, 20 minutes)

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About Gianluca Dievole

My Badge: Assistant

About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.