Legumes bring good luck in Italy and the best example is the classic “cotechino e lenticchie” at New Year’s Eve where the lentils are said to promise good fortune (literally, money!) in the coming year. Generally Italians also prepare a broad bean and pecorino cheese dish for May 1st to bring good luck, but to expand our “fave” repertoire, here is another Italian recipe using broad beans.
While the legume itself might be healthy, the rest of this traditional Roman dish isn’t but it was made back in the days of Italian nonne who weren’t so concerned about their figures. For ingredients, this traditional Italian cooking recipe uses: 300 gr of sausage, 300 gr of pork cut for casserole, 500 gr of broad beans, 50 gr of lard, six slices of stale bread, chopped parsley, sage, mint, oil and salt and pepper.
To prepare, fry the lard in a little oil and then add the chopped herbs. Remove the skin from the sausage and break it up a little, then add to the lard, browning slightly. Add the pork as well and cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes. If it dries out, add some water.
If using dried broad beans, they need to have been soaked in water, otherwise use fresh ones with the skin removed. Add to the meat mixture and dust with a little salt and pepper. In the meantime, toast the bread and add a little olive oil. Remove the casserole from the flame and serve with the bread on the side.
We recently presented the traditional Italian product of “fave”, or broad beans, and here is an excellent spring recipe with a broad bean soup. Adding some mint leaves gives this light dish a fresher flavour, perfect for days when the body is getting used to warmer temperatures but isn’t quite ready for salad.
Ingredients for four people are: 350 gr of fresh broad beans (shelled), 1.5 litres of vegetable stock, two onions, a carrot, one celery stick, one potato, fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.
Prepare the stock if using a stock cube and set aside. Toss the beans into some salted boiling water and boil for two minutes. Drain them and remove the skin. Wash, peel and chop the various vegetables and heat them in a casserole dish with some olive oil. Add some mint leaves and the broad beans.
Add the vegetable stock and a little salt if necessary. Cook for 50 minutes on medium heat and towards the end of the cooking, remove about three quarters of the soup and blend in a food processor. Add it back to the soup and mix together to get a smoother and creamier mixture. Add a little pepper and serve garnished with a fresh mint leaf.
Photo | Flickr
Central Italy has a long tradition of vegetables and legumes and in season at the moment is the traditional Italian product of “fave” or broad beans. While Umbria and Tuscany are famous for cereal and legumes, gustoblog says the best broad beans come from Leonforte in Sicily, and Carpino in Puglia where the ‘fave’ are smaller and tastier.
When buying broad beans, make sure that the pod is firm and is a bright green colour to get the freshest examples. The other trick to selecting broad beans is to be careful of how much you buy. The pod waste of broad beans can be about 70 percent of the weight of the whole lot you buy, so if for example you want 300 gr, you should purchase about a kilo.
You should shell broad beans only when you want to use them, because the beans dry up when in contact with air. To prepare broad boans for cooking, you should toss them into some boiling water first to remove the skins. You can then proceed to boil them for about 20-30 minutes. If the beans are small and tender, you can try them raw - I’ve seen people shell broad beans and eat them straight away as an Italian antipasto. Coming up, we’ll have a traditional fave recipe to share.
I love zucchini flowers done any way - fried, stuffed, roasted, whatever. Today we bring you a great Italian recipe for summer with these courgette flowers and ricotta. The traditional Italian product is very versatile and this is the kind of dish you can use as an Italian antipasto, or even as an entire light lunch on the weekend.
Ingredients for four people are: eight large, open zucchini flowers, 300 gr of ricotta cheese, 4-5 tablespoons of grated cheese (parmesan should work), a small bunch of chopped chives, the juice of a lemon, olive oil and salt.
Clean the flowers and slice them vertically in half. Place them on a chopping board. Wash and chop the chives and place them in a bowl. Add the ricotta, grated cheese and a little salt and mix well to achieve a creamy texture. With a wet spoon, place a spoonful of the ricotta mixture in each half zucchini flower and bring the sides together to close the flower.
In a small bowl, squeeze the lemon and add a little salt and olive oil, whisking with a fork. Take four plates and drizzle the lemon juice over them, placing the zucchini flowers on top and you’re done! A nice, zucchini flower salad for summer.
Italian desserts for summer range from the classic gelato to semifreddo (great if you haven’t got an icecream maker) and they also know how to do a good mousse as well. This Italian recipe uses the traditional product of lemons - famous in southern Italy and also to be found in some areas in north that enjoy patches of temperate climate. The town of Limone on Lake Garda is one, but back to our recipe.
The mousse uses yoghurt and lemons and the ingredients for four people are: 250 g of natural yoghurt, 200 g of sugar, 50 g of butter, the juice of five lemons and four eggs (separated).
Beat the egg yolks and then in a heat-proof bowl over boiling water melt the butter, add the lemon juice, sugar and yolks. Heat for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. When done, take from the heat and leave to cool. In the meantime, beat the egg whites until they form peaks. When the lemon mixture has completely cooled, add the yoghurt and fold in the egg whites.
Using four small cups or cocktail glasses, divide the mixture and leave it in the fridge for at least two hours. When serving, you can decorate with raw sugar or a little grated lemon rind.
Photo | Flickr
Italian pasta recipes can get creative and while it might seem like a strange combination to some, there is more than one example in Italy of pasta and potato served together. As summer in Italy approaches and we’re in a heat wave right now, pasta is still a great dish to serve as long as you keep it light. This fresh, summer feeling and experimental dish uses the traditional Italian product of pesto sauce, with linguine and potatoes.
For four people, you’ll need: 300 gr of linguine, 300 gr of broad beans, 300 gr of potatoes, one large bunch of basil, one bunch of rocket lettuce, two tablespoons of pistachio nuts, one clove of garlic, four tablespoons of grated pecorino cheese, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.
Wash and clean the rocket and basil, peel the garlic clobe and put it through a food processor with the pistachios and some salt and pepper. Add the basil and rocket and mix again. Blanche the broad beans slightly in some boiling salty water and take off the skin. Peel and chop the potatoes and boil for ten minutes. Boil the linguine pasta with the broad beans in some water, drain but keep the water aside.
Toss the pesto sauce through the pasta and add some of the water if it’s too dry. As a last flourish, add the pecorino cheese and serve. This would do with a nice bottle of Italian white wine, possibly from the Liguria region as this regional cuisine is home to the pesto sauce.
Photo | Flickr
We’re currently in the middle of spring and artichoke season in Italy and while we love this traditional Italian product, cleaning and preparing the spikey artichoke variety can be difficult. Artichokes can be high in tannins and if you don’t remove the external leaves properly, you’ll still be chewing on them the day after.
During the time in which the plant matures, the artichoke heart develops a hairy part, which the Italians call “barba” or “beard”. To make any good Italian recipe with artichokes, this part needs to be removed. You should have an idea of what you’re going to do with your artichokes before cleaning them because there are a couple of different methods you can use.
In any case, the first step is to soak your artichokes in water and bicarb soda to remove any dirt and other impurities. Artichokes prickle and stain, so wear some gloves before the next steps. Take a knife and cut off the stems a couple of centimetres from where the flower is. Scrape away some of the surface of the rest of the stem so that when cooking, it softens. Now there are two options you can use:
Italian cooking tradition is about as varied as they come: from north to south, the famous peninsula offers just about everything. Even the most famous Italian cuisine overseas has a local tradition from somewhere in the Bel Paese. In fact, you could hardly describe traditional Italian products or cooking as national - much like the Italian people, in fact.
But to celebrate further today’s 150 years of Italian unification, we bring you a gallery of all the best “Italian flag dishes”. Today is a public holiday in Italy but many people are still working, so you can save these for the weekend, too. You would be surprised at just how many red, white and green ingredients there are to make these dishes.
A favourite Italian flag dish, as you can see in the gallery, is to use rocket lettuce, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese - staples of the Italian diet, too. And the original Margherita pizza is also an example of the first homage to the Italian tricolore that is probably documented. Check them all out below.
This tasty side dish uses the traditional Italian products of gorgonzola and radicchio. Italy’s famous blue cheese has become more industrial these days, often with a creamier texture, and you can use it in this recipe with radicchio. Italy has many varieties of radicchio and it will probably be difficult outside the country to get the variegated Castelfranco variety, but any type will do.
For this recipe you need: 150 g of gorgonzola, two heads of radicchio, extra virgin olive oil and pepper. The warm gorgonzola and radicchio salad is prepared by cutting the radicchio in half, washing and drying the pieces, and placing them each on a large square of baking paper. Dress each one with a little olive oil and some pepper.
Drop a slice of gorgonzola into each radicchio half, wrap each parcel in the rest of the oven proof paper, bunching at the top, and place on an oven tray. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes. Take the radicchio from the paper and serve immediately.
You can accompany this dish with some good Italian homemade bread, in the rustic style, and even made with walnuts. The warm salad can be served as a first course, or as a side dish to something lighter that needs a little extra.
Source | Gustoblog.it
Today is the fourth annual International Day for Italian Cuisine and this year’s focus is the regional Italian cuisine dish of pesto from Liguria. Genoa is the home of Italy’s famous pesto sauce and this edition follows the previous celebration of local Italian products and cuisine after carbonara pasta sauce, Milanese saffron risotto and Bologna’s old favourite tagliatelle with ragù were showcased in previous years.
We already published our traditional homemade pesto sauce and when done well, with fresh, Ligurian basil, it’s a delight. The international day and its pesto sauce making worldwide competition stipulates that chefs must use Ligurian basil, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, Pecorino cheese and sea salt.
The day ultimately aims to help protect Italian traditional cooking and ingredients, which are often subject to imitations that attempt to cash in on the industry and tradition. While there is obviously a business case to be made in protecting the Italian culinary industry, the country is also concerned about protecting its cultural heritage. Look out for some traditional pesto dishes in your local restaurants today!
Source | Italymag
Photo | Flickr