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Italian Sauces

Sauces are used extensively in Italian cookery, to enhance the flavours of everything from meat, fish,pasta or risotto to salads. Whether a fragrant Pesto or a sweet, sumptuous Amaretto cream, they will bring delight to your tastebuds and style to your cooking.

Sugo di Carne(Meat sauce)

Serves 4

75 g / 3oz unsalted (sweet) butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 celery  stick, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

450g / 1 lb minced (ground) beef or lamb

4 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

4 tbsp red wine

120ml beef or lamb stock

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry (saute) the onion for 2 minutes. Stir in the celery, garlic and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook stirring until browned and all the grains are separate. Add the tomatoes, thyme, wine and stock and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 40 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and serve hot over pasta.

Salsa Besciamella (Basic White Sauce)

Serves 4

40g / 3 tbsp unsalted (sweet) butter

25g / 1 oz plain (all-purpose) flour

300ml milk

1 bay leaf

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Blend in the flour. Heat the milk and add it to the flour a little at a time, stirring well. Add the seasoning and bring to the boil, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens. simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaf before use.

Salsa Napoli (Napoli Sauce)

3 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

4 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped

1 tbsp savory or thyme, chopped

3 tbsp lime juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the garlic, rosemary and tomatoes for 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce. Add the savory and lime juice and puree in a blender if desired. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Serve with pasta,fish or chicken.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Italian foods, Sauce

 

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Italian Salads

Italian salads are famous throughout the world. Largely I suspect, due to the wonderful olive oils used dress them. All vegetables can be served in a salad with the traditional olive oil dressing-the dressing is an integral part of the salad and not merely an addition to it. Oranges feature in many savory Italian salads. They are in plentiful supply and their natural affinity with chicory, pinch and fennel makes them an ideal ingredient. Although often served as a side dish, a salad of raw crunchy vegetables is the idea antipasto if tossed well in a mixture of herbs,  olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and vinegar or lemon juice.

Insalata al fresco (Rice salad with Olives and Tomatoes)

serves 4

225g/8oz/1 cup arborio rice

1 onion, thinly sliced into rings

45ml/3tbsp olive oil

30ml/ 2tbsp balsamic vinegar

5ml/1tsp caster (superfine) sugar

3 stoned (pitted) black olives, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and roughly chopped

4 mint leaves, chopped

Preparation

Cook the rice in plenty of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes until just cooked but still with texture.. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. turn into a bowl. Meanwhile, cook the onion in the oil gently for 3 minutes until softened. stir in the vinegar, sugar, olives and some salt and pepper and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Pour the hot onion mixture over the rice, Add the tomatoes and mint. Toss and serve straight away.

Insalata di barbabietola (Beetroot Salad)

serves 4

 

450 g/1lb beetroot (red beets)

2 red onions, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

15 ml/1 tbsp oil

30 ml/ 2 tbsp tarragon or wine vinegar

50 ml/ 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley or chervil

Preparation

Cook the beetroot in boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Cool, peel and cut into small cubes. Gently mix with the chopped onions. Mix the seasoning with the oil and vinegar. Pour over the beetroot and onions and arrange in a dish. Decorate with the chopped parsley or chervil.

Insalata Alla Romana (Roman Salad)

serves 4-6

 

225g / 8oz young spinach, torn in pieces

2 large tomatoes, chopped

100g / 4oz white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil

15 ml/ 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Toss the spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms together. Blend the olive oil, vinegar, basil, garlic, salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Toss gently and serve.

Insalata di Araggosta (Lobster Salad)

serves 2

1 cooked lobster

1 egg

Green salad leaves

5ml / 1 tsp white wine vinegar

15ml / 1 tbsp olive oil

5 ml /1 tsp chopped fresh basil

Salt and freshly grounded black pepper

100g /4 oz peas,cooked

Preparation

Remove the meat from the lobster tail and large claws and chop roughly, reserving the washed , small claws for garnish. Boil the egg for 5 minutes and rinse under cold water. Peel, halve and slice the egg and salad leaves on a serving dish. Add the lobster meat. Blend the vinegar, olive oil and basil in a bowl and beat well. Season with the salt and pepper and pour over the lobster. Add the green peas, garnish with small claws and serve.

Insalta di Pesce Bianco ( White Fish Salad)

serves 4-6

150ml dry white wine

150ml water

1 onion, quartered

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Few springs of mixed fresh herbs

Salt and freshly grounded black pepper

450 g / 1lb white fish fillets

1 egg yolk

5 ml/ 1 tsp made mustard

30 ml/ 2 tbsp olive oil

150ml single (light) cream

30ml/ 2tbsp finely snipped fresh chives

12 olives, to garnish

Preparation

Put the wine, water, onion, lemon juice, fresh herbs,salt and pepper in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the fish fillets and reduce the heat. Simmer gently for 10 to 12 minutes until the fish flakes easily.

Lift out the fish with a fish slice.Boil the fish stock until the liquid has reduce to one-third, strain and allow to cool. Flake the fish into 1cm in pieces, discarding any skin and bones. leave to cool. beat the egg yolk with the mustard in a bowl until creamy. Slowly add the oil, drop by drop and gradually beat in the strained fish stock. Whisk in the cream and season to taste. Stir in the chives and fold in the fish. Spoon into a serving dish, garnish with the olives and serve with a mixed salad.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Italian foods, Salad

 

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