Red onion focaccia

Baking is not my forte, I admit it, but focaccia is one of the few things that I can successfully bake.

For this recipe I used fast action yeast, so proving times are not too bad – you only need a couple of hours, so I usually make the dough and then I move on with my life: I watch an episode of my favourite programme, call a friend, question my life choices, as you can see the list is endless!

Ingredients for the focaccia- 8 people:

-strong flour, 500g

-fast action yeast, 1 sachet

-water, 370 ml

-salt, 3 teaspoons

-olive oil, 6 tablespoons plus abundant oil to grease a bowl

For the topping:

-red onion, 1/4

-flaky salt

-olive oil

Steps:

  1. Mix together all the focaccia ingredients, except the salt
  2. once you get a smooth texture, add the salt and keep kneading for 10 minutes
  3. the texture will be very sticky, dont worry about it
  4. grease a bowl with abundant oil, and put your dough in the bowl, covering with a damp towel, and leave it to prove 1 hour
  5. line a tray (or grease it with abundant oil) and transfer your focaccia there, spreading it evenly
  6. leave it for 30 minutes, covered with a damp towel
  7. preheat the oven to 200 fan
  8. chop the red onion finely
  9. take off the towel, make the dimples with your finger and spread oil evenly
  10. spread the red onion and the flaky salt evenly
  11. put it in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden

Your new favourite risotto

Here we go again: you open the fridge and you have that sad little courgette, that will probably end up in the bin unless you find a glorious way to use it. Glory is always in a risotto, everything in a risotto looks, sounds and tastes better especially “boring” veggies!

Ingredients for 3 people:

-arborio rice, 250g

-courgette, 1

-frozen peas, 150g

-vegetable stock,1l

-white onion, 1

-smoked pancetta cubes, one pack

-white wine, half a glass

-butter, 2 tablespoons

-olive oil, 4 tablespoons

-mascarpone, 70g

Steps:

  1. Chop the onion finely
  2. melt the butter in a pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onion
  3. let it cook 3-4 minutes at medium temperature, and add 3 tablespoons of stock
  4. grate the courgette and add it to the onion, add 3 tablespoons of stock
  5. leave it to cook for 3 -4 minutes ad add the rice
  6. add the wine and let it evaporate
  7. add the frozen peas
  8. keep adding the vegetable stock any time the rice becomes dry, and keep stirring all the time
  9. in the meantime, take another pan and warm up 2 tablespoons of oil
  10. add the pancetta and let it cook until golden and crispy
  11. when the rice is done, mix the mascarpone and stir until spread evenly in the risotto
  12. serve it in the plates and top with the pancetta

Cannoli siciliani

Sicily: sunshine, sea and obviously cannoli! These little pieces of heaven need some patience, cannoli moulds and a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil – but it is definitely worth it!

Ingredients for 15 cannoli

To make the shells you need:

-flour 130g

-sugar 15g

-marsala wine 30g

-egg yolk 10g, but keep the rest of the yolk to seal the cannoli

-cocoa powder 3g

-lard 15g (you can replace it with butter, but your cannoli wont be as bubbly)

-salt 3g

-white wine vinegar 5g

-sunflower oil to fry the shells

For the most delicious filling you need:

-ricotta 350g

-sugar 50g

-vanilla extract 3g

-pistachio crumbs, chocolate chips or dried oranges, pick what you like!

Steps

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then add the liquid ingredients
  2. keep mixing everything together until you get a smooth consistency, it might take a while because the quantity of wet ingredients is considerably less than the dry ones
  3. wrap your dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge for 45 minutes/1hour
  4. take it out the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes
  5. wiht a rolling pin (or a pasta machine) start work your dough until it is super thin, 1mm or less
  6. cut some squares, about 10cm x 10cm, and wrap them around the moulds
  7. seal them with the remaining yolk, press the edges firmly or the cannoli will open when you fry them!
  8. let the cannoli dry a little bit around the mould before frying them
  9. put your oil in the pan, it has to be enough to drown the cannoli
  10. using the thermometer, check the oil reaches 180° and using a metal sieve, fry the cannoli: it will take less than one minute to be ready, just turn them all the time
  11. using the sieve and a fork, take the cannoli shells out and leave them to cool on a plat wiht some kitchen paper
  12. in the meantime prepare the cream mixing together the ricotta, sugar and vanilla
  13. you can fill your cannoli using a pipe or a teaspoon and decorate with pistachio, chocolate chips or dried fruit
  14. eat them immediately! if you are not planning to eat them as soon as they are done, dont fill them with the ricotta until the very last minute, otherwise they will absorb the liquid from the ricotta and will get all soggy!

Creamy mascarpone and seafood risotto

This is one of my favourite recipes: it is delicious, easy to make, and full of flavours!

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • Arborio rice, 160g
  • White onion, 1
  • Carrot, 1
  • Courgette, 1
  • Vegetable stock, 1l
  • Mixed seafood (prawns, calamari, mussels) 200g
  • Mascarpone, 3 tablespoons
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • White wine, half a glass

Recipe:

  1. Peel and cut the onion
  2. Put some oil in a pan and warm it
  3. Boil the vegetable stock
  4. Add the onion in the pan and let it cook until clear
  5. Add some vegetable stock
  6. Peel and grate the carrot
  7. Grate the courgette
  8. Add the grated vegetables to the pan
  9. Add the seafood and let it cook a little bit
  10. Add some vegetable stock
  11. Add the rice
  12. Add the wine and let it evaporate
  13. Add some vegetable stock
  14. Keep stirring and keep adding vegetable stock any time the rice dries out
  15. Add salt and pepper as you like
  16. When the rice is cooked, add the mascarpone and stir

Enjoy!!

Apple cake

Apple cake is one of my favourite desserts, so easy and so full of flavours! It is perfect with some cream, gelato or just a cup of tea!

Ingredients:

  • Flour, 250g
  • Apples, 4
  • Sugar, 200g
  • Milk, 200ml
  • Lemon, 1
  • Fast action yeast, 1 sachet
  • Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs, 2

Recipe:

  1. Grate the lemon to get the zest
  2. Cut the lemon and squeeze it
  3. Peel the apples and cut them in little squares
  4. Put the squares in a bowl and add the lemon juice
  5. In a separate bowl, put the flour and yeast
  6. Add eggs and milk and mix
  7. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon zest and mix
  8. Rinse the apples and add them in the mixture
  9. Preheat the oven at 160° fan assisted
  10. Grease a tray with some butter and add the mixture
  11. Leave it to cook for 40 minutes or until cooked

Orange cinnamon rolls with white chocolate icing

This is not the usual cinnamon rolls recipe, it has a lovely orange kick that gives even more flavour! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Ingredients for the dough:

  • Flour, 500g
  • One sachet of fast action yeast
  • Orange zest, 1
  • Orange juice, 5 tablespoons
  • Egg, 1
  • Butter 75 mg plus some for the tray
  • 75 g of sugar
  • 175ml of milk

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 30mg butter
  • 30mg icing brown sugar
  • Orange juice, 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon, 1 tablespoon

Ingredients for the icing:

  • White chocolate, 200g
  • Icing sugar, 150g
  • Butter, 200g
  • Orange juice, 3 tablespoons

Recipe:

  1. Use the ingredients for the dough and mix together the flour, sugar and yeast
  2. Add the egg and stir
  3. Add the milk and stir
  4. Melt the butter and add it to the mixture
  5. Put some butter in a bowl, add the mixture and leave it to rise for one hour or until double in size
  6. Using a roll, flat the dough until it is 1.5 cm
  7. Cut the butter is little squares and spread them on the dough
  8. Spread the cinnamon
  9. Mix the sugar and the orange juice and spread it on the dough
  10. Roll the dough
  11. Cut the roll in slices of about 2cm
  12. Grease a tray with some butter
  13. Put the slices in the tray and let them rise until double in size
  14. Put the tray in the oven at 160° for 20 minutes or until golden
  15. Let it cool and prepare the icing: melt the white chocolate and the butter, mix them with the orange juice and the sugar
  16. Spread the icing on the rolls

Enjoy!

Creamy pasta with mushrooms and pancetta

Mushrooms and pancetta are just meant to be together! I love the combination of these flavours and it is such an easy recipe to make with pasta!

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • Mushrooms, 250g
  • Pancetta, 4 slices
  • Cream, 150 g
  • Pasta (mezze maniche or rigatoni) 320g
  • White onion, 1
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon

Recipe:

  1. Peel the onion and cut it finely
  2. Melt the butter in a pan
  3. Add the onion and leave it to cook until softened but not golden
  4. Wash the mushrooms, cut in slices and add them to the pan
  5. Add some water to the pan
  6. Cut the pancetta in squares
  7. Put the pancetta in a separate Pan and Cook it in its own fat
  8. Cook the pasta
  9. Mix the pasta with the mushrooms
  10. Add the cream
  11. Add the pancetta on top

Enjoy!!

Artichoke risotto

Spring means artichokes! This recipe is very easy and simple, you can also add to your risotto anything you like: pancetta, shrimps, olives, etc…

Ingredients for the vegan option- for 3 people:

  • Artichokes, 3
  • Rice, 240g
  • White wine, half a glass
  • Vegetable stock, 1 litre
  • lemon, 1
  • White onion, 1
  • Salt
  • Pepper

If you don’t want the vegan option add the following:

  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Grated parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons
  • Double cream, 3 tablespoons

Recipe:

  1. Prepare the artichokes: remove the external leaves, remove the top and the base
  2. Cut the artichokes in 4 pieces and place them in a bowl with water and lemon juice – leave them for 30 minutes
  3. Peel and cut the onion
  4. Warm some oil in a pan and add the onion
  5. Rinse the artichokes and put them in the pan, let them cook for 15 minutes
  6. Boil the vegetale stock
  7. Optional: If you want, add the butter
  8. Add the rice
  9. Add the wine and let it evaporate
  10. Add some stock and keep stirring until the stock doesn’t get absorbed
  11. Add stock any time the rice becomes dry and keep stirring all the time
  12. Add salt and pepper as you like
  13. Optional: when the rice is almost done, add the parmesan cheese and the cream

Enjoy!

Potato and red onion frittelle

This recipe is a delicious starter, easy to make and full of flavours!

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • Potatoes, 4
  • Red onion, 2
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Flour, 100g
  • Water 50ml
  • Rapeseed oil

Recipe:

  1. Wash and boil the potatoes
  2. Peel and cut the onion
  3. Warm some oil in a pan and add the onion
  4. Add some water and let them cook for 15-20 minutes until soft
  5. Peel and cut the potatoes in slices
  6. Make your pastella: mix the flour, water, salt and pepper until you have a thick not watery mixture
  7. Add flour or water if necessary
  8. Add the onions in the patella
  9. Add the potato slices in the pastella
  10. Warm the rapeseed oil in a pan
  11. With a spoon, take 1 potato slice and the onions covered in the pastella and put it in the pan (1 potato slice covered in pastella with some onions=1frittella)
  12. Add several tablespoons of the mixture in the pan to get several separate frittelle
  13. When they are golden, take them out and put them in a dish that has been covered with kitchen towel

Enjoy!

Neapolitan ragù

Ragù Is not just a sauce, it is the perfect representation of the love and care that Italians have for food: it takes several hours to make it and it needs stirring regularly, but the result will pay everything off, I promise!

Ingredients for 8 people:

  • Beef ribs, 700g
  • Pork ribs, 350g
  • Pork sausage, 350g
  • White onion, 1
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red wine half a glass
  • Tomato sauce 700g

Recipe:

  1. Peel and cut the onion
  2. Warm some oil in a pan and add the onion
  3. When the onion is clear turn the heat off
  4. Cut the beef and remove the fatty bits
  5. Cut the beef, the pork and the sausage in pieces and add them to the pan
  6. Turn the heat on and let the meat cook for 10 minutes at low temperature
  7. Add the wine and let it evaporate
  8. Add the tomato sauce
  9. Add 2 glasses of water
  10. Add salt and pepper
  11. Let everything cook for 5 hours at very low temperature
  12. If you want (this is not part of the traditional recipe but I love it) after 4 hours add some frozen peas, they give some colour and their sweetness matches well with these flavours

Enjoy!