Home made white lasagna for the Easter table

It is the beginning of the first week of Spring and, in the range of crops at the food store, we might find the asparagus that can be chosen as privileged ingredient of several dishes for the Easter table. During the last weekend, I made some different kind of fresh pasta at home. For the dough, according to the gastronomy tradition of my region, Apulia, I used simply good local flours (Senatore Cappelli and semola) and water. No eggs were necessary and, in this way, the dish could be a bit lighter. What is more, you can store the fresh pasta in the fridge for a couple of days. At this proper, for example, I use to alternate layers of lasagna on layers of fridge papers that are cut of similar sizes of lasagnas and store them accurately in the fridge.

As for the recipe about white lasagna dish, you need few simple steps for making it. 1. After removing the lower wooden ends of the asparagus (you need three or four per person), steam them for five minutes and then put them in a pan with a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil, a fragrant idea of garlic and cook them for few minutes more. 2. Make a smooth velvet Béchamel sauce. Melt some butter (I used about 30/40g), add a very small idea of garlic in the pan, if you like it. At this point, out of the small cooker, add slowly some all purpose flour (I used a couple of soup spoons) and mix it with the butter. Work it very well in order to dissolve each lump and have a smooth roux. Back on the small stove, add gently hot milk (250 or 300 ml) and keep on stirring and whipping until the white sauce is done. Add a sprinkle of salt, grated nutmeg and melt one or two generous handfuls of grated Rodez cheese (please, see the previous recipe – crêpes). 3. Cook lasagna pasta for about 5 minutes in salt boiling water. Then, strain and leave lasagna to dry on a clean towel on the table. Before starting with layers of lasagna, pour a couple of soup spoons of béchamel sauce on the surface of the cocottes and then alternate n. 4 layers of lasagna with béchamel sauce, asparagus and pieces of mozzarella cheese. 4. Place in the oven 180°C/200°C for about ten minutes (please, don’t leave it too long, in order to still have a moist surface) and then serve it very warm. I hope you enjoy the recipe and wish everybody ‘bon appétit‘.

Enjoy the music

Stay at home, listen to Mozart and enjoy cooking

Staying at home in these days is a good opportunity for spending more time with family. For this reason, let’s cook something appetizing for our loved ones. We need good local potatoes, asparagus, garlic, onion, extra virgin olive oil, some typical Toscanello cheese, an egg, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper and breadcrumb. Choose your preferred music to listen to while you are graciously following the rhythm of the recipe.

1. After steaming cubes of small pealed potatoes (let’s say about 8 small potatoes for 4 people), mash them and add a sprinkle of sea salt. Peal 8 asparagus and cut into small round pieces (please, do not forget to remove the lower stringy end). 2. In a pan with three or four soup spoons of warm extra virgin olive oil, add an idea of garlic, some chopped onion, rosemary, and the asparagus. 3. Cook for about five minutes and then, in a bowl, add the asparagus and the oil juice to the mashed potatoes. 4. Mix well all together and add one egg, the grated Toscanello cheese (4 generous soup spoons), some breadcrumb and a sprinkle of pepper and oregano. 5. In small greasy pans made of clay, pour a couple of soup spoons of the mixture making a first lower layer, then a second layer with mozzarella, and again add more of the mixture and make a third and last layer. Add a sprinkle of breadcrumb on top and some drops of extra virgin olive oil. 6. Bake the flans in the oven for about 20/25 minutes 220°C.

Potatoes and Asparagus Croquettes
Potatoes and Asparagus Croquettes

If you have more of that mixture, it would be nice to prepare also small croquettes by adding some all purpose flour as ingredient to it. Leave the mixture in the fridge for 2 or three hours and then make some squared gnocchi (you won’t be able to work the mixture too long). Fry them golden and crisp in extra virgin olive oil and serve them hot as snack with fried tomatoes (cooked very fast in extra virgin olive oil with some garlic and onion, a sprinkle of salt) and slivers of tasteful Toscanello cheese on top. Enjoy the dishes with your loved one and please, stay at home!

Stockholm – on Saturday, April 27th


Stockholms stadshus
Stockholms stadshus

Stockholms stadshus
Stockholms stadshus

Stockholms stadshus
Stockholms stadshus

Stockholms stadshus
Stockholms stadshus

Stockholms stadshus
Sofia Kyrka

Hello, are you in Stockholm for the weekend, by chance? Since it is going to be the culture night on this Saturday, April 27th, I may recommend to climb the bell tower of Sofia Kyrka overlooking the beautiful district of Södermalm or to visit the Stockholms stadshus. More accurate details about Stockholm Culture Night and all special events that are going to take place tonight are on Visit Stockholm web pages. Enjoy the weekend!

“If I were a child…”

Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine:

“If I were a child, I would certainly love my parents cycling me around on this super fantastic cargo bike for kids. On this dream house there would be plenty of room to share with other members of the family and friends, for the sky, the sun and little clouds and for the whole universe. Together, we would go like the wind along city streets and country paths and in the wonderful world of children, where adventures take place.”

Enjoy a good weekend, everybody!

It is the season for fava beans

Hallo! An inviting recipe introduces the new week and Springtime. This last weekend, at the food market, among hills of vegetables, I saw fresh fava beans winking at my direction. Since they looked small and tender, they could taste appetizing prepared with a light salad of spelt (triticum spelta). By the way, I added some globose, pulpy tomatoes to my shopping list for using them as natural floral cups to be filled with the salad.

In the kitchen, I accurately cut the upper side of the tomatoes, then, helped myself with a corer and emptied the tomatoes of their juicy pulp, which will be added to the preparation of the fava beans later on. Tomatoes were turned upside down on a grill, after adding a sprinkle of sea salt inside in order to have a good straining process.

As second step, I cooked some spelt into salted boiling water (a small coffee cup filled with spelt can be the right portion for each guest at your table). When the spelt was done and strained, it was left in a corner for few minutes, until the fava beans were also ready for finishing the dish.

Then, it was the turn of the fava beans. After being shelled, the fava beans were gently fried with some chopped onion and an idea of garlic in a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil for three or four minutes. I added the juicy pulp of the tomatoes prepared before to the fava beans and kept on cooking them. It was necessary to add also some bouillon made with vegetables, a sprinkle of salt and pepper. In the end, the spelt was well mixed with some grated Toscanello cheese, the fava beans and its creamy sauce.

Last step, for finishing the dish, was to fill the tomatoes with spoons of spelt and fava beans and top them with few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Then the tomatoes were placed in the oven for about 20 minutes (180°) and served with leaves of fresh mint.

I heartly hope you will enjoy this culinary idea that tastes of Spring and wish ‘buon appetito’ and a good week to everybody.

Afterwork: Time for Amaretto Cream

It is time for the week-end and today I have prepared a velvet cream, which has Amaretti pastries as main ingredient and fragrance. The recipe is very easy and it is a delicious idea to serve the cream cool to your guests.

Ingredients:

2 eggs, 2 spoons of sugar, 100gr mascarpone cheese, 50gr amaretti, few amaretti for decoration.

  1. Separate the yolks from the whites of eggs and work the yolks with sugar until the cream will have a very light color.
  2. Add mascarpone cheese and amaretti crumbs and work the ingredients all together in order to have a well mixed cream.
  3. Beat the egg whites till stiff, add them to the cream, mix slowly and gently: your wrist has to rotate in a movement that goes down and up.
  4. Serve the cream cool in a dessert glass and decor it with a sprinkle of coffee powder, almonds crumbs on the surface and a couple of amaretti pastries or as your creativity suggests.

Wishing everybody a good week-end!

Brioche au fromage for the picnic basket

For celebrating this May 1st, I did enjoy preparing and baking a soft brioche au fromage. This easy, genuine recipe was given to me years ago by a couple of friendly ladies during Summer holidays and, from then on, my family and friends showed always appreciation every time I prepared it. Indeed, this brioche au fromage can be an excellent idea for the picnic basket and a meal in the open air, or for a children party: they are events, which take place quite often during Spring and Summer season.

Ingredients:

500gr whole wheat organic  flour, 3 eggs, 12,5gr yeast, 250ml milk, a sprinkle of sea salt (about a coffee spoon), 100gr parmigiano reggiano, 100gr speck, thyme, 125ml peanut oil.

Mix all ingredients together and leave the mixture to rest for a couple of hours. Then, grease a baking tin and pour the mixture in it, bake it (220° C) until it has a golden crisp surface.

Serve it with vegetables or a fresh salad: for this occasion, I also added some grilled tomatoes, which have been seasoned with drops of garlic and thyme aromatized extra vergin olive oil and little cubes of fresh sheep milk local cheese .

Wishing everybody a beautiful Spring and Summer season!