Polpette al Sugo – Meatballs in Red Sauce

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Polpette = Meatballs = Italian Comfort Food 🙂

Nonna and Mamma used to make Meatballs all the time and I can still remember the excitement about dinner time!

In a cold day I used to love coming home from school to find one of my favourite dishes, Pasta and Meatballs in a rich tomato sauce…. awww it tasted amazing!!!

Today I am making this dish for my family and I hope I can inspire your family too!

#BringNonnaBack and Bring Families Together ❤️

Serves 4/6 people

 

Ingredients for the Polpette-Meatballs

250g beef Mince, good quality
250g pork mince
1 egg
100g bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
handful of parsley, finely chopped
l pinch of salt
sunflower oil for frying

Preparation
In a large bowl place the mince and add the egg, parsley, garlic, salt and bread crumbs. Mix all together with a fork or with your hand making sure you combine all the ingredients. If the mix feels too wet you can add some more bread crumbs, if it feels too dry add a splash of milk. Once the mix is smooth you can start rolling it into small balls, size of a 10p coin. I tent to make them a bit small as it’s easier for the children to eat them all in one go!

Option 1: Heat some sunflower oil in a large pan (filling all the bottom of the pan )and place 6/8 meatballs at the time. Cook them for 4/5 minutes, keep stirring them until golden. Prepare a large dish with some kitchen roll on the side and once the meatballs are ready to come out the pan, drain them and place them on the  kitchen roll to rest and to lose some of the oil. Add a pinch of salt. Keep doing the same until you have cooked all the meatballs.
Option 2: Preheat the oven at 200 degrees, place the meatballs on a flat oven tray and put the in the oven for 25 minutes until golden.

For the Sugo-Sauce

Ingredients
Half of a medium white onion, finely chopped
800/900g of plain tomato Passata (You can find passata in any good supermarket, it’s in a carton or in a bottle)
A handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
Olive oil, 2 tbs
Salt, a pinch
Sugar, a pinch (to lower the acidity of the tomatoes)
Preparation

Heat a large pan, add the olive oil and the onion. Simmer the onion only for a few minutes untill golden, don’t cook it for too long as it can easily burn.
Add the passata, the salt and sugar and cover with a lid.
PLAN B: if you haven’t got any passata 2 tins of chopped or plum tomatoes will do! Blend them first if possible and pour them into the oil, follow the instructions as before
Turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 minutes, stirring it every now and again.
Finally add your basil and let the sauce embrace the leaves… your Sugo is ready!
Place the meatballs into the sauce, make sure they are all covered, put the lid on and  keep cooking the sauce and the meatballs for another 10 minutes on a low heat.
Enjoy your Polpette with some fresh bread or pasta. Buon Apettito!

Insalata di Patate

When I was invited to share my cookery skills at the Women’s Day event on the 8th March  I was asked to make something easy, tasty and versatile.

My potato salad, “Insalata di Patate” is the dish that I chose and it’s also inspired to my #BringNonnaBack campaign. My Nan who is now 94 years old, has taught me that good food is made with simple ingredients, the fresher they are the better your dish is going to be. She is right and I realised that using a few simple ingredients is the secret of a balanced diet. On the 8th March whilst celebrating the milestones, the achievements and grand gestures  of Women from around the World I had to celebrate the food philosophy of ONE of the two inspiring Women in my life (my Mum is the other Woman!!!)

Serving 8/10

You will need a pestle and mortar (an electric blender can be used instead), a chopping board, a chopping knife, a large serving bowl, a large saucepan, a lemon squeezer

Ingredients

1.5 kilos of new potatoes (preferably organic)

1 handful of fresh mint

1 handful of fresh basil

4 large lemons (unwaxed), zest and juice

2 medium cloves of garlic

fine salt, a good pinch

extra virgin olive oil, 6 large tablespoons

Preparation

In a large saucepan, pour 1/1.5l of water and put the potatoes in (you don’t need to peel or cut them but make sure you thoroughly wash them before). Bring the water to the boil, add a table spoon of salt and cook for 20 minutes or until soften.

Drain the potatoes and place the on a large serving bowl. Whilst the potatoes are cooling down, take all the basil and mint leaves (chop the stems off) and place the leaves into a pestle and mortar.  Peel the garlic, put the garlic in with the leaves, add a pinch of salt and start pounding. You may need to add the leaves in batches if your mortar isn’t big enough Gradually add the lemon zest, lemon juice and the olive oil. Keep mashing and continue until the ingredients are combining together. Pound until you’ve reached the right texture. You should have an oozy consistency. Have a taste and if needed season with more salt. Mix in with the potatoes…Pronto! Buon Appetito!

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Bruschetta ai Funghi

BRUSCHETTA pronounced“ BROO-SKEH-TTAH” is not only a very popular Italian dish but it is also one of many Italian words that people mispronounce. With this recipe I combined some cookery skills along with language skills. As a language tutor I find that people learn quickly with practical examples and by referring to words that regularly pop out on a  daily basis.

Here is a word that everybody would know though: CHIANTI and I am sure we all know how to say it!  “KEY-AN-TEE” …. Just like that!

“CHI” and “CHE” always sound “KEY” and “KEH” therefore whenever we find words with these syllables we need to remember to pronounce them as there was a ‘K’ .
Have a go now with some other popular words:
MOSCHINO (brand) MÁCCHINA (car)
ORCHÉSTRA (orchestra) MÁSCHERA (mask)
MARCHE (a region) TACCHÍNO (turkey)
CHILO ( kilo) FORCHÉTTA (fork)

While we are all saying these words out loud we can make this very tasty recipe….and by now we should know exactly how to pronounce “Bruschetta” 🙂

Serving 4 people

Ingredients 

300g  closed up mushrooms, washed and chopped

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped

300g double cream

2 garlic cloves , finely chopped

2  loaves of tiger bread or ciabatta

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Parmesan cheese, shavings

1 pinch of salt

Preparation

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the mushrooms and cook for a 3/4 minutes.

Add the garlic and the parsley. Stir it and pour the cream in, add a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes at low heat.

Slice the bread and toast or grill it. Place the bread on a large serving plate.
Pour the sauce on the bread and add the parmesan shavings.…Pronto!!!

Buon Appetito!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR SPAG SAKE!

Someone very special in my life quietly and very suddenly changed his residence to Heaven.

He believed in my cooking and he raved about my dishes giving me all the support I needed.

When you can make your family happy with your cooking you know that what you are doing is  simply great.

The dish he loved the most is the simplest, the quickest and the tastiest of  all.

Here I am, dedicating this recipe to a man who is no longer here but I know his support is still around (R.I.P. John)

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Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

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Serving 4 people

Ingredients

Spaghetti 400g

Olive Oil (preferably Extra Virgin) 7/8 tablespoons

Garlic,  2 cloves, finely sliced

Dried chillies, small handful or half of a medium fresh chillies, seeded and finely sliced as an alternative

Salt, corse, 1/2 tablespoons

Parmesan cheese, as much as we like!!!!

Preparation

In a large saucepan pour some water (1/1.5 l) and bring it to the boil. Add the coarse salt, put the spaghetti in and cook following the time on the packet (usually spaghetti cook in 8 minutes)

Heat the olive oil, the garlic and the chillies on a large pan. Simmer only for a few minutes till golden, don’t cook it for too long as it can easily burn!!!

Once the spaghetti are cooked (don’t over cook them as they need to be “al dente”, not too hard, not too soft), you can place them into a large serving bowl. Pour all the oil with the garlic and chillies. Mix and sprinkle as much parmesan as you like! Pronto 🙂

Following my #BringNonnaBack we would also add some fresh parsley before serving ( garlic and parsley go very well together and the natural property of the parsley helps to digest the strong garlic taste).

I also meant to say that this dish is also known for “LO SPUNTINO DI MEZZANOTTE”, a midnight snack ….

Buon Appetito !!!

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Peperonissimi

I love peppers and I love them even more when roasted. They complement any dish, I like them with rice, pasta, fish and meat, although on their own are just perfect! Peppers are very popular in Italian cuisine despite the fact that most people might think they are more prominent in Spanish dishes…..well the truth is that wherever you are, Italy, Spain, UK etc… they taste beautiful, you only need to bring their extra flavour out by adding some simple ingredients. For this recipe capers and anchovies do the trick and at home we all love it!

My Nonna used to fill “peperoncini” ( small type of peppers) with chillies and anchovies or with ricotta cheese and anchovies!

#BringNonnaBack today with my version of her peperoncini!

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

5/6 yellow and red peppers,halved

a handful of basil, finely chopped

a handful of parsley, finely chopped,

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 tin of anchovies, finely chopped

2 tbsp of capers, finely chopped

1 tsp olive oil for drizzling

Preparation

Preheat the oven at 200c (190c fan oven). Halve the peppers and put them on an oven tray. In a large bowl mix the anchovies, basil, capers, parsley and garlic making a thick looking paste.  Fill the peppers with the paste, drizzle with a little olive oil and put them into the oven for 15/20 minutes. The smell of roasted peppers will fill your house, wait till you taste them!

They are simply delicious x

You can have this dish as a side to a BBQ, everyone will tuck in! IMG_0902 IMG_0903 IMG_0907

A Classic……PASTA with PESTO

IMG_1591So many different versions of Pesto, I know, but this classic Italian recipe is really really easy to make and extremely tasty. I would make enough to store it in the freezer ( an ice cube tray is ideal ) so it’s fresh every time I need it and my Nonna would say : FACCIAMO PROVVISTA    ( Let’s stock up) … Of course it goes with Pasta (we love it with Tagliatelle!) but it’s that kind of sauce that would go with ANYTHING: fish, chicken, roasted vegetables, bruschetta, panini, mozzarella, green salad, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, even pizza! If you have a nut allergy you can miss the pine nuts out and perhaps add some grated parmesan cheese instead. If you want to make it a little bit more adventurous you can add a handful of rocket or for a spicy kick you can add some fresh  chillies.

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

Basil, a good handful, you can’t ever have too much basil!

Parsley, handful half the size of the basil

Garlic, one small clove

a pinch of salt ( you can add a little more if you like 🙂

20g pine nuts

50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil

300g Pasta (Tagliatelle or your favorite type of pasta)

Preparation

You can either put all of your ingredients into a blender and whisk it up until you get a smooth texture or as an authentic Italian recipe you should use a pestle&mortar. Pesto in Italian means bashed up and that is exactly what you would do with a pestle&mortar, you bash all the lovely ingredients together until you get a smooth texture and your arm starts aching from the strenuous movement while stirring 😉 It’s definitely a good workout too!

Although I said you need 50ml of olive oil you can always add a little more if you feel it looks too dry (just play it by ear).

In a saucepan bring some water to the boil, add a tbsp of salt and put your pasta in, follow the cooking time on the packet. Drain your pasta and mix your pesto in, stir it and add some grated parmesan for some extra flavour. Pronto!!!

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My Uni Tagliatelle

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This is the dish that made me realise how much I enjoy cooking for other people. The passion for food has always been there but my (Spanish) flatmates at “Uni”  helped my passion to become a real “THING”…….simple ingredients made a dish that still today is one of my fortes. Gracias Merce, Virgi y todas las cumpañeras de piso de Greenstead!

TAH-LLYA-TEH-LLEH (Tagliatelle) ai Funghi e Pancetta

Pancetta and Mushroom Tagliatelle

I would normally make my own tagliatelle but it’s just as tasty (and quicker) using the pre-packed one. Any local supermarket would sell it! Follow the cooking time on the packet and make sure you add some course salt in the water as it starts to boil. Instead of the pancetta you can use cooked ham (finely chopped). Or if you want to make this dish vegetarian you can completely miss out the pancetta……it’s still extremely tasty and simple.

Serving 4 people

Ingredients

350g fresh tagliatelle (roughly 2 nests per person)

150g closed up mushrooms, finely chopped

150ml double cream (single cream for less fat content)

1 glove of garlic, finely chopped

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

130g smoked Italian pancetta (cubes)

olive oil 2tbsp

salt, a pinch

Preparation

In a large saucepan pour some water (1/1.5 l) and bring it to the boil. Add a large tablespoon of coarse salt and put the pasta in.

Put the olive oil on a pan, add the pancetta and cook for a couple of minutes until the pancetta is crispy. Add the mushrooms and gently mix together. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add the garlic and the parsley keep stirring and cook for a minute. Pour the cream and cook with the lid on for a couple of minutes.

The tagliatelle should be cooked by now! Drain the pasta, put it onto a large serving dish, pour the sauce and mix together. Add some parmesan cheese…..Pronto! 

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