Posts Tagged ‘italian food’

Gnocchi di Patate served with tomato and porchini sauce makes a good, quick evening meal. You will love the delicate taste, smooth texture and the fabulous smell of Italian dry porchini. This is a delicious recipe that begs to be tried!

Gnocchi with tomato and porchini sauce

Serves 2

gnocchi di patate @ frock & fork

You will need:

500 g Gnocchi (De Cecco)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small shallot, chopped  (or regular onion)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

300 g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small handful of dry porchini mushroom, soaked in hot water for approx. 15 minutes, water kept

1/2 teaspoon dry Italian herbs mix

1 small handful of fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a skillet pan. Fry gently the shallot and garlic. Add the dry Italian herbs mix and continue frying on a low heat for a minute. Add the tomatoes and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, adding 2-3 tablespoons of mushroom water throughout cooking. After 10 minutes add the soaked porchini. Cook the potato gnocchi in plenty of salted water, according to the package instructions. It will only take 2-3 minutes. Once the sauce is cooked, add the basil and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with grated parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

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I am a great lover of herbs. I love them fresh, I love them dry and I love them finely grinded. Most of the time I buy fresh herbs and if possible or needed I freeze them. I also love it when my mom shares her herbs with me. She plants mint, sage, dill, parsley and camomile in her garden and then either air-dries them or hangs them up in her attic to preserve. Finally, I am a big fan of powdered herbs. A friend of mine, Anna, a very lovely Italian lady, once gave me a tiny little jar of some fantastic and aromatic eco herbs. She bought them in Castellina in Chianti, a small Tuscan town. A couple of years ago, she spotted a nice man selling those beautiful colorful jars at the local food market. Since then she regularly buys his great aromatic powdered herbs. Last April I went to Castellina in Chianti and met the same “herb farmer” who makes his products himself at his biological farm. I absolutely love his “rosmarino” (rosemary)! It smells fabulous and if you add a dash of it into your dishes (soups, pasta, meat, etc) – gosh – you will feel the difference! Anna told me never to touch these powder herbs with fingers but to use the end of a teaspoon. For the best result, you should add the herbs at the end of cooking. If you ever plan to go to Tuscany, don’t bypass Castellina in Cianti. I’m positive, if you find my herbalist, you will return home with at least two of his charming jars.

Here is my rosmarino:

powdered herbs rosemary

by Asia(Jo)

Here is the herbalist’s movable market stand:

donkey farm

by Asia(Jo)

My mom’s herbs:

dry herbs

by Asia(Jo)

Finally a very quick recipe – it tastes delicious if you enhance the falvour with those Aroma Da Cucina Del Chianti.

Baked potato chips

Serves 2

You will need:

2 large baking potatoes

3 garlic cloves

2 fresh rosemary springs, leaves picked

2 fresh thyme springs, leaves picked

sea salt

black pepper

olive oil

a dash of Rosmarino “Aroma Da Cucina Del Chianti” (optional)

by Asia(Jo)

by Asia(Jo)


Preheat the oven to 200 ℃. Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes (don’t overcook them, they should be half cooked yet easy to cut). Drain and slice the potatoes. Arrange them in the ovenproof dish or baking tray. Add the garlic, fresh herbs and a couple lugs of olive oil. Sprinkle everything with some sea salt and some freshly grinded pepper. Bake the potatoes for aprox 35 – 45 minutes, depending on your oven. Towards the end, take the potatoes out of the oven and dust them with the powdered rosemary. Return to the oven for the last few minutes. Serve hot.

Happy Eating Everyone!

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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.


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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Peperonata, a delicious accompaniment for fish or meat dishes. This fantastic Italian recipe, coming form Campania region, tastes luscious and can be flavoured additionally by capers and anchovy fillets.

Some time ago I found this recipe in one of my favourite and precious cookbooks Italy The Beautiful Cookbook, which is full of authentic recipes and wonderful photographs of all featured dishes and the Italian culinary regions.

This dish doesn’t require many ingredients but remember to use only fresh and good quality ones.

Peperonata – Pepper & Tomato Stew

Serves 6

by Asia(Jo)

You will need:

3 ripe tomatoes

6 red and yellow bell peppers (I tend to use green ones as well)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

salt & pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

a few fresh basil leaves


Plunge the tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds; drain and peal. Chop the tomatoes; seed and slice the peppers.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until translucent. Add the pepper slices, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Cover, reduce heat and cook slowly for 30 min, stirring from time to time. Add the basil and cook for a few minutes more to blend flavors. Transfer to a bowl and serve or enjoy it with a grilled tuna and lemon risotto on one plate.

by Asia(Jo)

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Lately, I have discovered something really tasty and useful to keep in my kitchen cupboards. It’s a whole range of great products from Casale Paradiso. What I like about this Italian brand, is a fantastic variety of ready prepared mixes of risotto rice, pasta, soups and herbal seasonings. Frankly speaking, I prefer cooking from scratch, yet sometimes on those busy or lazy days, when the cooking inspiration doesn’t come, I like to grab one of those risotto packages and enjoy the aromatic flavours it contains.

Risotto is one of my favorite Italian dishes. I love the simplicity of this dish, its creamy consistency and a great amount of individuality you can attach to it. It is all up to your imagination what other ingredients you want to use to enhance the taste and the presentation. My best ever risotto recipes include risotto with cooked ham, carrots and peas, wild mushroom risotto and champagne risotto (expect a post about this bubbly rice in the near future).  However, I must say, I am a big fan of Casale Paradiso truffle, lemon and saffron risotto mixes. I tested all three and they tasted amazing.

In one of my future posts I will show you how to cook risotto step by step. If you need the instructions immediately, refer to Jamie Oliver’s cook book Jamie’s Kitchen, pages 118-119. All you need to prepare a great risotto dish is a good quality Abrorio rice, white wine, stock, white or red onion and a dash of finesse, creativity and elegance. Work with the basic ingredients and your epicurean soul to deliver a luscious risotto; pair it with a crispy salad of rucola; add freshly grated Parmigiano on top and serve with a glass of well chilled white wine. Divine!

(Casale Paradiso products are available in London/UK and Haarlem/NL in selected speciality food stores. I bought mine at the local fishmonger in Greenwich and received some extra packs from my friend living in Holland)

Saffron Risotto from Casale Paradiso mix

Serves 4  (1 risotto package)

by Asia(Jo)

You will need:

1 package of Saffron risotto

5 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (optional, already exists in the mix, yet I really like the extra smell and flavour it gives)

2 garlic cloves, chopped (optional, already exists in the mix)

1 large glass of white wine

500 ml vegetable stock or hot boiled water

2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmigiano (parmesan cheese)

1 knob of butter or olive oil spread

salt and pepper

basil leaves, to garnish


Heat the olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic until lightly coloured. Add the risotto rice and fry over medium heat stirring constantly until it becomes semitransparent. Add the wine – bend your head down towards the pan and enjoy this beautiful smell! Let the liquid evaporate but continue to stir the mixture. Add the first ladle of hot stock. Reduce the heat, allow the stock to be absorbed, add another ladle of stock and keep stirring the rice. Continue the process. It will take 15-25 minutes. Season the rice carefully. Turn off the heat. Add one handful of Parmigiano and a knob of butter. Cover and allow to rest for a minute or so. Served immediately, sprinkled with the remaining cheese and basil leaves on top. Lovely!

by Asia(Jo)

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