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Cover: Mamma Mia!

Recipes with tomato

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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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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27Apr 12

Paperdelle with Wild Boar

Papperdelle con Cinghiale

You may have noted that you can buy boar either wild or farmed, but nowadays, truly wild boar is less easily had. Boar is such a different beast from the more commonly farmed breeds of domesticated pig; it’s a deliciously strong, earthy flavour, and something everyone should try. (For more gamey recipes, try this potpie of roe deer with root vegetables.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small bunch flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Small sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced very finely
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (a red onion if possible)
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large glass of robust red wine
  • 500g wild boar meat, finely chopped or minced
  • 1kg pappardelle
  • Pecorino, grated
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1 – In the olive oil, gently fry the herbs for several minutes, along with the bay leaf, in a heavy-bottomed frying pan or casserole. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for 3-5 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for a couple more minutes and then add the meat.

2 – Pour in the wine. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook until the liquid is almost completely reduced. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for a further fifteen minutes.

3 – In a large pan of lightly salted boiling water, cook the pasta till al dente, as per the packet instructions. If you don’t have papardelle, then fettucine, tagliatelle, or even linguine or spaghetti will suffice.

4 – Drain the pasta and serve into large, deep preheated plates, before serving the wild boar sauce. Have a bowl of pecorino on hand so you can sprinkle the wild boar paperdelle liberally with cheese.

Wild boar meat can be very strongly flavoured, so you need a muscular red wine to stand up to it! Rhone valley reds, like the classic Chateauneuf-du-Pape, seem like an obvious option. A good crusty loaf of brown bread and some extra virgin olive oil will go well with this scrumptious meal.

Serves: 2
Total Time: – 1 hour (preparation, 15 minutes; cooking time 45 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.