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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with Italian food

12Sep 12

Beef Canneloni

Beef Canneloni

 

There are a million ways you can make canneloni. The combination of fillings and sauces are up to your imagination! My mum used to cook up a beef canneloni with a tomato filling, and so I followed suit. Of course I experiment with other possibilities, but I consider this the classic recipe.

Some people use the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking pan, placing the canneloni on top of the passata and then smothering it with cheese. Others place the canneloni in first and then pour the tomato on top. My personal preference is combining the two and using both as filling, while drizzling over a delicious buttery cheese sauce. And if you really like cheese, you could sprinkle some extra on top afterwards!

Canneloni is a bit like lasagne: there are a million options for combinations, and the ingredients are made separately and then combined in the oven. Try this fantastic vegetable lasagne, and you’ll see what I mean.

Beef Canneloni
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
My mum's recipe for classic beef canneloni
Ingredients
  • 6 large canneloni tubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 230g ground beef
  • 400ml passata
  • 25g butter
  • 12g flour
  • 170ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 40g Parmesan cheese
  • 50g cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
Instructions
  1. Cook canneloni according to packet instructions.
  2. Next, pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan and sauté the onions and garlic for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef and fry for about 5 minutes.
  4. Next, pour in the passata, a pinch of salt, a couple twists of black pepper and the basil. Let it all simmer together between 15 and 20 minutes.
  5. While the meat is simmering, you can prepare the topping and preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  6. Melt butter in a saucepan. When completely melted, whisk in the flour for a minute or two. When completely dissolved, you can add the milk. This step should be done slowly and carefully so as to avoid lumps.
  7. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg and simmer for five minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  8. Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese and cherry tomatoes, stirring them all together.
  9. Take the meat and tomato mixture, stuffing it inside the canneloni.
  10. Gently place the canneloni side-by-side in a large baking dish, pouring the cheese sauce on top.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes and serve piping hot. But be careful not to burn your mouth!

 

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31Aug 12

Veal Milanese

Veal Milanese
These pan-fried veal escalopes splashed with lemon are mouth-wateringly good. Veal Milanese reminds me of authentic trattoria cuisine from when I was a child growing up. The escalopes are best served with a small portion of spaghetti and a fresh Pomodoro sauce, or sautéed potatoes and salad.

If you are having a dinner party and stuck for time or inspiration, then Veal Milanese is a simple dish. It won’t cause a sweat in the kitchen, but will definitely impress your friends.

If you don’t like the idea of cooking veal, then you can use an alternative such as chicken or pork, but really veal is the authentic ingredient and definitely the most delicious meat for this recipe. If you do enjoy veal, then you could also try Brian Turner’s rib of rose veal with honey and soy glaze.

Veal Milanese
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A classic veal dish served with spaghetti Pomodoro or sautéed potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 2 veal escalopes (about 100g each)
  • 1 large egg
  • 150g flour
  • 150g white breadcrumbs
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary, discard the stalks and very finely chop the leaves
  • Handful of basil leaves, chopped very finely
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lemon, quartered to serve
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. You need to flatten the veal escalopes, so place them in clingfilm, and using a rolling pin, gently pound them, being careful not to tear the meat - it just needs to be a little thinner and stretched.
  2. Crack the eggs into a dish and beat them lightly together with some salt and black pepper. Mix the finely chopped rosemary and basil into the breadcrumbs and spread on a plate. Now season the flour with salt and black pepper and spread on to another plate.
  3. Dip each escalope, first into the flour, then the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess breadcrumbs. Then place the escalopes onto a clean plate.
  4. Heat half the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat; when sizzling hot, add the escalopes to the pan. Cook them for 4-5 minutes on each side or till crisp and golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle with a little salt and serve with the lemons to squeeze over, grated Parmesan and your choice of side dish.

 

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29Aug 12

Fried Calamari

Fried Calamari

 

Fried Calamari is a must-know for any aspiring Italian chef. I often serve mine alongside home-made chips, taking advantage of the already heated and ready-to-go deep fryer. Besides, that combination sort of gives a nod to the British classic fish and chips.

You may have noticed that most seafood platters are served with lemon wedges, which is interesting to me. The combination of the citric fruit and fish comes from the olden days when it was more difficult to keep fish fresh for a long time. As there wasn’t ice in those days, the product often developed an unpleasant odor after being stored or transported to a nearby city, the journey often taking a few days. Lemon was used to combat the smell of the less-than-fresh seafood. Others say that it was used like salt to help preserve the quality of the nutrients and avoid any bacterial problems.

But now that transportation and keeping our seafood fresh isn’t a problem, we still use lemon! My parents were against the use of lemon and claimed that it is an insult to the chef to use it. If you like the combination, you are free to eat it as you choose. However, maybe you could try it without and enjoy the flavours of the fish exactly as they should be savoured.

(Also try this sea bass with white bean mash.)

Fried Calamari
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Fried Calamari is a must-know for any aspiring Italian chef
Ingredients
  • 400g calamari, cleaned and cut up in rings
  • 130g flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 130g breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 lemon, cut up into wedges for serving
  • 200ml marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Take the calamari, and with a paper towel, pat out any remaining water.
  2. Place the flour in a sandwich bag, along with the calamari, and shake, thoroughly coating all of the squid with the flour.
  3. Using a sieve in a bowl, dump out the contents of the bag into the sieve, and the excess flour will fall into the bowl.
  4. Beat the two eggs in another bowl, and carefully dip the flour-covered calamari into the egg.
  5. Next, pour the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or whatever other seasonings you like into a sandwich bag.
  6. Repeat the process from before, dumping the egg-coated squid into the Ziploc bag. Shake and sieve out the excess breadcrumbs and seasoning.
  7. Meanwhile, heat up the deep fryer to cook the calamari, approximately 3 minutes until they turn a golden brown.
  8. Invert the squid onto a plate covered with paper towel to soak up any dripping oil.
  9. Remove the paper towel and serve alongside a few lemon wedges and the marinara sauce for dipping.

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22Aug 12

Veal Parmesan

Veal Parmesan

This recipe is a hearty favourite of mine. Pasta itself is filling, but with the breaded red meat and strong cheese, I recommend that you make this only when famished!

This is more of a lunch item as well. My wife and I prefer the Mediterranean diet, so we normally eat a substantial lunch and a lighter dinner. Eating a heavier lunch gives us the energy we need and allows time for proper digestion.

I lent this recipe to a friend of mine who wanted to show off his  culinary skills. He proudly served it as dinner to his family. Later, his wife confided to us that although it was tasty, their young son suffered from fairly vivid nightmares all night. We all know that there are a number of things that can affect your dreams, but my personal suspicion is that it was the heavy meal right before bedtime.

I serve a side salad with lettuce and tomatoes, drizzled over with oil and vinegar. The lettuce aids in digesting the meat. You could also try this summer salad with pears and cheese. Or save that option for your light dinner before a peaceful night’s sleep.

Veal Parmesan
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
With breaded red meat, pasta and cheese, I recommend this for when you are famished!
Ingredients
  • 300g fettucine
  • 2 veal cutlets
  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 120ml red wine
  • 250ml passata
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • 2 slices Mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Wrap the cutlets in clingfilm and use a mallet to flatten them.
  2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, setting aside a separate bowl for flour and for the breadcrumbs.
  3. Cover the cutlets in flour by dipping them in the corresponding bowl.
  4. Next drench them in the beaten eggs and coat with breadcrumbs.
  5. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the veal cutlets until golden on both sides. This should take 2-4 minutes on each side.
  6. Remove the veal from the heat and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  7. Pour in 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the same frying pan to sweat the onions.
  8. Once translucent, add the garlic for another minute.
  9. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate for 2 minutes.
  10. Stir in the passata, basil, oregano, parsley and almost all of the green onion, setting some aside for garnishing later. Let it all simmer together for 10 minutes or so. The sauce should begin to thicken and emit a pleasant aroma.
  11. When almost to the perfect consistency of your liking, place the veal cutlets on top of the sauce, but spoon out a few tablespoons on top of the veal.
  12. On top of that layer of sauce, equally distribute the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses.
  13. Let this simmer for another 10 minutes on a low heat so that the veal is warmed up again and the cheese begins to melt.
  14. During those 10 minutes, you can prepare the fettucine according to instructions on the packet.
  15. On a plate, serve the fettucine, sauce and veal cutlets, garnished with the leftover green onion.

 

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14Aug 12

Pumpkin and Sage Crisp Risotto

pumpkin and sage crisp risotto
The delicious sweetness of ripe pumpkin combines deliciously with the crispy sage and Parmesan cheese to create this sublime dish from Northern Italy. Pumpkin and Sage Crisp Risotto is simple to prepare, and wonderfully filling, so you don’t need to think about side dishes.

If you can’t find fresh sage leaves, you can mix dried sage into the rice mixture. It’s not the same, but it still gives you the aromatic flavour that enhances the traditional pumpkin risotto. Other fantastic rice meals include this delicious asparagus risotto and my tempting game Pigeon Risotto.

As an accompaniment, I recommend a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, served ice cold.

Pumpkin and Sage Crisp Risotto
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
The sweetness of the pumpkin combined with aromatic sage is divine.
Ingredients
  • 400g ripe pumpkin, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200g risotto rice, preferably Arborio
  • 1 small glass of white wine
  • 50g butter
  • 50g Parmesan, freshly grated, plus shavings to serve
  • 8-10 sage leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the pumpkin and cook gently until just softened, around 10 minutes.
  2. Stir occasionally, making sure that the pumpkin doesn’t brown. When the pumpkin is tender, add the white wine and stir until it has evaporated.
  3. Set aside one-third of the cooked pumpkin.
  4. Put the rest of the pumpkin into a food processer and whiz until smooth. If necessary, add a touch of hot water to get the mixture moving.
  5. If you are using a ready-made stock, you will need to heat it in a saucepan, keeping it at a gentle simmer. Or prepare your stock-cubes in boiling water and put to one side.
  6. Next heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the rice. Cook, stirring frequently, for one minute, to ensure that all the rice is coated in the olive oil.
  7. Add a small amount of the hot stock, enough to cover the rice, and stir until it is almost all absorbed. Repeat until you only have a few ladles of stock left. Check the rice to see if it is ‘al dente’. If not, you can add more stock.
  8. Add the pumpkin purée and cooked pumpkin, stir through the rice mixture and season to taste.
  9. Stir in the butter and the grated Parmesan. Put to one side, covered to keep warm.
  10. Finally heat a little olive oil in a small frying pan until hot. Fry the sage leaves for a few seconds until crispy and drain on kitchen paper.
  11. Ladle the risotto onto warm plates. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the Parmesan shavings and sage leaves.

 

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07Aug 12

Aubergine Parmigiana

Aubergine Parmigiana
Aubergine Parmigiana
or La Parmigiana Melanzane originates from the beautiful coastal province of Puglia, set in the heel of Italy. It’s a great way to serve up aubergines, layering them with tomato and cheese, almost like the classic lasagne, minus the pasta.

Serve with fresh garlic bread and a rocket salad. Perfect accompanied with a classic northern Italian red wine, such as Villa Casetta – Barbera d’Alba. Divino!

Aubergine Parmigiana
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A delicious, warming aubergine dish layered with cheese and tomato
Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes, or 500g of fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 leaves of shredded basil
  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 1 ball Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced
  • Splash of wine vinegar
  • Handful of Parmesan cheese
  • Handful of dried breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Salt and ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. If you use fresh tomatoes, which will be sweeter if they are in season, you first need to de-skin them. Prick the skins and put them in a pan of boiling water for 40-50 seconds. Spoon them out and drop them into a bowl of cold water. Leave for 30 seconds, then remove their skins. Cut up the flesh, removing the seeds.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan. Add the garlic, onion and dried oregano and gently cook for 7-8 minutes until the onion is soft and the garlic turns a golden brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cinnamon and simmer for around 15 minutes until you have a thickened sauce. Season with the basil, wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  5. Whilst the tomato sauce is simmering, slice the aubergines lengthways about 1cm thick. Brush both sides with oil and a little salt. Pan fry or chargrill, turning a few times until tender. It's important to get the aubergine as tender as possible, so give it time, but don’t burn them! Put them to one side.
  6. Now take an ovenproof dish and spoon a layer of the sauce in the bottom of the dish, cover with aubergine and then the Mozzarella. Repeat 3 or 4 times and finish with a thin layer of tomato sauce.
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan and breadcrumbs and bake for 30-40 minutes until the dish is bubbling and the Parmesan and breadcrumbs are golden brown.

 

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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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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.