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I love Italian cuisine, its simplicity and beauty. The Taste of Italy is one of my favourite Italian cookbooks. I tried out many recipes featured in that book and each time it has been a great success. Today, I have got something absolutely mouthwatering for you! It is easy to prepare and it’s a delicious evening dish that goes very well with a simple salad and a glass of chilled white wine. Spinach, ricotta, mozzarella and Parma ham – an amazing winning combination.

Spinach-Stuffed Cannelloni

Serves 4

stuffed cannelloni

by Asia(Jo)

You will need:

12 dry cannelloni

225 g baby spinach

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 slices Parma ham, chopped (omit for a vegetarian option)

125 g Mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes

200 g Ricotta cheese

1 handful of grated Parmesan cheese

250 ml white sauce (béchamel)

25 g butter or 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pinch nutmeg

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

small basil leaves to decorate

The basic white sauce recipe:

25 g butter, 25 g plain flour, 250 ml milk, pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper

Melt the butter over a medium heat. Whisk in the  flour. Pour in the milk, whisking constantly until it starts to boil. Season. Lower the heat. Simmer gently for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Check the seasoning add the nutmeg.

Preparation:

Prepare the white sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200 ℃.

Heat the butter or olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and ham and fry briefly. Add the spinach and gently cook for aprox. 4 minutes util nice and soft. Remove from the heat and add the Mozzarella, Ricotta and the handful of Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, add the nutmeg.

Fill each of the cannelloni with the above stuffing.

Lightly grease an ovenproof dish. Pour over some of the white sauce. Lay the cannelloni on top of the white sauce. Pour over the remaining (bigger half) of the white sauce. Sprinkle over with 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The topping should be lightly golden when cooked. Decorate the dish with a few basil leaves. Serve hot.

It is a really tasty dish – I know you will love it :)

spinach stuffed cannelloni

by Asia(Jo)

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Once, Aneta, a friend of mine asked me for a quick supper dish recipe. I shared with her one of my favourite Italian recipes for stuffed courgettes. She absolutely loved this vegetable meal and suggested to add the cooking instructions to “let me fork you.”

Make sure the courgettes are fresh and about 13-15 cm long. This dish goes well with a simple salad of rucola mixed with halved baby plum tomatoes and  shredded parmesan dressed with a good quality virgin olive oil and balsamico.

Zucchini Ripieni

Serves 4

You will need:                                          IMG_3215

6 courgettes

salt & pepper

25-35 g crustless white bread

milk for soaking

100 g Ricotta

1/4 tsp dried oregano

2 clove garlic, crushed

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1 egg yolk

Preparation:

Wash and trim the courgettes. Drop them into a pan of boiling salted water, simmer for 5 min; drain.

Meanwhile soak the bread in milk and when soft, squeeze it dry. Cut the courgettes in half lengthwise and scoop out the centes, using a teaspoon, leaving long boat-shaped cases for filling.

Chop the centres finely, put into a basin and add the bread, ricotta, oregano, garlic, parmesan, egg yolk, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. The consistency should be fairly soft. Cook in a preheated oven (190℃) for 35-40 min until the courgettes are golden brown.

Excellent dish – test it and taste it!

IMG_3219

by Asia(Jo)

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This is the easiest pasta dish you could ever imagine! It’s fresh! It’s light! It’s quick! It’s simple! It’s Italian!
The key to a successful pasta dish is fresh and good quality ingredients! Don’t hesitate to get a bit more expensive pasta, olives, cheese and olive oil. These are the basic, which give a very authentic flavour! I found out that this recipe works best with penne but feel free to use any pasta shape you like or have at home. The beauty of this recipe is that you can easily work out the proportions depending on how hungry you are and what you have got at home.

Penne with cherry tomato sauce
Serves 2

IMG_2258

by Asia(Jo)

IMG_2290

by Asia(Jo)

You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
a pinch of chili flakes
1 small handful of chopped black olives
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 handful of fresh basil leaves, keep a few for decoration
250 g penne
salt & pepper

Preparation:
Start cooking the penne in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water so it is ready by the time you finish the sauce.
Heat the oil over low heat. Add garlic and let it soften but not brown. Add tomatoes and chili flakes, cook over medium heat for aprox. 10 min, or until the tomatoes are soft and just cooked. Add chopped olives and basil leaves and stir in tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. By this time your pasta should be cooked al dente, if not reduce the heat and keep the sauce warm. Drain the pasta and return to the cooking pot. Pour the tomatoes sauce and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and extra basil leaves. Serve with fresh ciabatta and a glass of light white wine.

Enjoy it!

IMG_2274

by Asia(Jo)

IMG_2287

by Asia(Jo)

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