RICE CAKE

Here’s a typical dish of my hometown, very easy to cook and delicious. It is called “torta di riso”: I tried a couple of days ago and it was a great success. There are many versions and every family has its own. Here’s my mom’s recipe.

torta-di-riso

What you need

250 g parboiled rice
3 eggs
30 g parmesan cheese
250 g ricotta cheese
bread crumbles
aromatic herbs, majoram, oregano
salt
oil

How to prepare

Before starting to cook, turn on the oven at the maximum heat. Cook the rice in boiling water (remember to add salt) for 10-15 mins. Drain and put the rice in a big bowl. Add ricotta cheese, aromatic herbs, grated parmesan cheese, salt and the eggs.

Technically, you can add whatever you like to the mixture and try your personal variation: rice with peas, lettuce, ham, saffron, other kinds of cheese…

Mix well and put everything in a large casserole covered with oven paper. Level the mixture with a spoon but don’t press it too much. Sprinkle some bred crumbles on the whole surface to make a crispy crust and add three spoons of oil.

Put the casserole in the oven and cook it at 200° for half an hour. When you see it becomes yellowy and the borders are crunchy, it’s ready. Make it cool a bit and taste it. Here’s your lunch for today, and also for a couples of more days if you keep it in the fridge! Enjoy.

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CHRISTMAS PANETTONE FROM GENOVA

panettone-genovese

My favourite Christmas dish is the Panettone Genovese, from Genoa, my hometown. It is the most popular Christmas pastry around there, and it’s totally different to the usual Italian Panettone. In the last days I realized that the preparation is not very difficult, and decided to try and make one. Here’s the recipe.

What you need:

500 gr pastry flour
200 gr sugar
150 gr butter
50 gr pine nuts
100 gr raisins
50 gr candid citron
6 teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg
1 lemon
Marsala wine (8 spoons)
pinch of salt
warm milk (8 spoons)

How to prepare:

Put rhe raisins in warm water and let it soak for 15 minutes. While waiting, pour the flour in a large bowl and add the sugar, the baking powder, salt, the grated lemon peel, the pine nuts, the small pieces of candied citrus fruit and mix all the ingredients together. Be careful to squeeze off the excess liquid from the soaked raisins and add them to the bowl.
Then, beat the egg with the Marsala wine and two teaspoons of lemon juice.
Now make a small hole in the centre of the mixture in the bowl and add the melted butter, the egg with Marsala wine, the warm milk and mix all the ingredients together for some minutes to form a dough.
At this point shape the dough into a large ball and place it in a cake tin previously buttered. Make a deep cross cut on the top of the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Turn on the oven and wait.
Finally, put the panettone in the oven and bake it for 45 minutes at 200C degrees. When it is cooked, let it cool down, take a picture of it, then slice it and enjoy your homemade Christmas dessert!

pandolce-genovese

CHICKEN BREAST WITH HERBS

What you need (two people)

1 chicken breast
2 spoons extra virgin olive oil
marjoram
thymus
salt
pepper

How to prepare

Turn on the oven at the maximum level, with heat under and over and no ventilation. Separe the two half of the chicken breast with a knife and remove the little bones. Put it in an oven dish, add extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with marjoram and thymus – you can also add some pepper if you like it spicy, or try with some other herbs, as the recipe is so simple.

The only thing you have to do now, incredible but true, is to put the dish in the oven and wait. After 15 minutes, check the colour of your chicken, and if it’s white, turn it to the opposite side and add some more herbs. Let it cook for some more 15 minutes and check it again.

You should leave it in the oven until you see the external part becoming a little yellow-orange: this means that the meat is soft in the middle and crispy outside. Don’t wait too much or it will burn, turn the oven off and, being careful not to burn your hands, transfer your chicken breasts in two dishes. Now you can add more pepper, salt and salad or other vegetables you like: call your friend, dinner is ready!

THE EGG TIMER

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Today I want to introduce to you a small but very useful tool that totally changed my life as a goofy cook into a smart one. It’s the egg timer.
How long does it take to boil eggs at the right point? And what if I want the red part to stay a little soft, perfect to eat with a spoon?
I don’t know, really. I’ve asked my mom, my friends and housemates, but everyone gave me a different answer. Someone said 8 minutes, someone said 5, someone simply didn’t care.
Now that I have the egg timer, I don’t care as well: my little plastic egg tells me. I just have to put it in the boiling water together with the eggs and check it sometimes. A red circle gets smaller as it cooks, progressively reaching three steps: soft, medium and hard. Easy.

COOKING TIPS: GREEK COUS COUS

 

What you need

–          4 tomatoes
–          2 cocumbers
–          3 spoons of black olives (pitted)
–          200 g of greek feta cheese
–          300 g cous cous
–          Extra virgin olive oil

 

How to prepare

Wash well the cocumbers and cut them in slices and dispose them in a large dish. Sprinkle some salt on the slices and let it rest for 10 minutes. They will flavor and loose some water.

On side, wash the tomatoes and cut them into small pieces. Put them in a bowl and add oil, olives and salt. Cut the feta into small pieces and add it to the mix.

Put the cous cous in a bowl and slowly add boiling water. Do it very very slowly while you mix it and stop sometimes to let the cous cous absorb the water and cook. Taste it sometimes, just to be sure it is not too fluffy.

Dry the cocumbers and put them in the bowl with tomatoes and olives, wait until the cous cous is cold and add it to the mixture. Ready to eat?