A good breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated. With the right herbs and spices, a simple avocado smash with some fried mushrooms can be a cheap alternative to going out for breakfast. Here I’ve fried the mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, Italian spices, oregano and a good sprinkle of salt/pepper. Add a little water if the mushrooms are burning. For the avocado, add a little olive oil and salt/pepper for extra flavour.
Osso buco is one of my favourite Italian dishes. It simply melts in your mouth but you have to be patient and slow cook it for hours. This one is veal which I believe is better than beef. It was slowed cooked for about 3 hours or so on a stove top with homemade passata and chicken stock. The saffron risotto compliments this dish nicely, it’s expensive but well worth it.
The start of summer means the start of homemade basil pesto. Homemade pesto is a million times better than anything you will buy in the stores and is not very hard. I always make pesto with a mortar and pestle. It allows me to control the consistency and I like being able to see it all come together right in front of your eyes rather than whizzing everything in a blender. This recipe, like many others, is straight Italian Food Safari (Lucio Galletto) and adding potatoes and green beans is a nice variation to traditional basil pesto dishes.
Tiramisu, meaning ‘pick me up’ is one my favourite Italian desserts. When made well, the combination of coffee-soaked savoiardi and sweet mascarpone is unlike anything else and it simply melts in your mouth. The beauty of tiramisu is that it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge, however, you may find it hard to resist after day one.
The classic Italian soup and perfect for the winter months. I like to fry some pancetta first with an onion and garlic before adding the diced vegetables. Mix up your vegetables for variations. I always add cabbage towards the end for a few minutes along with a little bit of pasta. Be careful and don’t add too much pasta as it will expand and ruin the soup. If you have some parmesan cheese rind, throw that in whilst cooking. Italian’s don’t like to waste anything.
I love cooking risotto because there are so many variations. This mix includes button, swiss and porcini mushrooms. Take your time with risotto, the slower it simmers, the better it tastes. Place your dried porcini mushrooms in boiling water to bring them back to life and use the liquid to cook the risotto along with your stock. Be careful with how much porcini liquid you use as it be quite over powering.
Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh parsley to serve.
This dish was inspired by an Italian cooking show, Made in Italy, I came across the other day.
The photo doesn’t really show the dish however behind the crusted layer of sauce are rows of homemade cannelloni filled with mozzarella and veal mince. Making the pasta from scratch is time consuming but well worth the time. Practice makes perfect. Putting the cannelloni together was a lot harder than on the show! (funny that). Anyway, still delicious, and I am still amazed at how only a few simple ingredients make such incredible meals.
Osso buco is one of my favourite slow cooked dishes. This time I used veal shanks instead of beef. This is slow cooked in diced tomaotes and chicken stock for about 2 hours. The base of the sauce is onion, garlic, anchovies, celery, carrots and white wine. The longer you simmer the dish the better it will be. Don’t be impatient.
Served with mash potatoes, garnished with chives.
These bite-sized baby eggplants are a great idea for starters when entertaining friends. The stuffing is garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan cheese and an egg plus the insides of the eggplants that have been lightly fried in olive oil. Top with extra parmesan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
This dish combines 3 of my favourites… pasta, chicken and basil pesto (homemade of course). There is something therapeutic about making pesto in a mortar & pestle. It takes longer than a blender but you have better control over the outcome. Cook the pasta till al dente, add the warm chicken then coat with plenty of pesto and top with parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil. I love parmesan cheese so find myself always going back for extra toppings mid-way through!