Less words more pics: homemade spaghetti alla chitarra

Italy is a wonderful country.
But italy is also a strange country, where -in the XXI Century- homosexuality is still something to buzz about it. Italy is a place where -in 2013- sounds normal that the manager of the biggest italian Company producing pasta talks about the traditional family as the housewife knitting, while she waits for her husband at home (for this idea of family I suggest you a textbook of Modern History: from the Fall of Costantinople, to the Congress of Vienna 1453-1815).
I won’t fuel the argument, because everything has been already said, written, posted and twitted about how Guido Barilla miserably made an ass of himself, I just think that probably he’s not so skilled in marketing, looking at the hell unleashed by his declaration about Barilla’s commercial and homosexuality on the web.

Well, we don’t care about Barilla (which is probably the most popular pasta in the world but not the best) and we propose you a wonderful recipe of homemade pasta!

SPAGHETTI ALLA CHITARRA*

Less words more pics..this is a traditional recipe, prepared with the ingredients of the abruzzese tradition, in a background that couldn’t be more traditionally set. I’m sorry for the poor Guido, who would judge the situation as a clamorous role swap, where the dough was kneaded and rolled by a man, and for one time, I was the invisible observer hidden behind the camera.

INGREDIENTS
for the dough:
3 eggs
450 gr durum wheat flour
a bit of water
salt

The exact amount of wheat depends of a a large range of factors, humidity and temperature of the air etc, so I suggest you to try and try until you get the perfect dough. Bytheway he traditional egg pasta would be one egg every 100 gr of wheat.

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Put the wheat on the pastry board as to form a sort of volcano. Make a hole on the top and open the eggs in it, add salt, beat the eggs a bit then start adding the wheat, add water if you need it and knead well, forming a sort of snake.

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Roll the dough and cut it the same width as the “Chitarra”, then press it on the strings with the rolling pin and let the spaghetti fall down on the base of the utensil.

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Let them dry a bit then cook in salted boiling water.

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Strain and serve with the sauce you prefer, we used the best homemade hot-pot sauce ever cooked.

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*the Chitarra (that would be guitar, literally translated) is an ancient utensil used in the kitchens of South of Italy. The name derives from its resemblance to the musical instrument, and it is used to prepare spaghetti with a squared section, instead of a circular one.

Happy weekend to EVERYONE!
Claudia

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When desire and need match!

22:30. Coming back home after having enjoyed a new summer in Brussels. I feel sooo good (probably also for the few glasses of wine I have just finished to drink but still, I feel good).

It is the first time I am posting an article at this time but I thought of all of you, of all the people that, for different reasons, are coming late at home, they have their fridge almost empty but they need, they want, they deserve something good to eat and maybe, as in my case, also to bring the day after to the office for lunch (don’t worry, I am still unemployed, I am just working few weeks for a project).

What I have at home are those products we always have in our kitchen: canned tuna, eggs, some kind of creamy cheese, etc. What to do with these ingredients? A tuna mousse! Perfect to eat inside a crunchy baguette but also with a salad.

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You can prepare it in few minutes in the late evening (like me) but also in the morning before going to work and it can solve a lot of problems for you: an improvised aperitif at home, a snack for the kids, a picnic, your lunch box for the office or a strange craving for something good and tasty after one of those drinks out with friends that take you to drink a lot and eat almost nothing :)

Ingredients:

  • 250 g of philadelphia or ricotta
  • 1 boiled egg
  • 1 big pack of canned tuna
  • capers as much as you like
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • a bit of parsley or thyme or oregano (the one you have at home)
  • salt
  • If you like a stronger taste you can add 1 or 2 anchovies in oil.

Put all the ingredients together into the mixer until they become a cream. That’s it. I told you it was very easy :)

Then, if you want to create something more sophisticate you can always add some boiled potatoes and olives and you will have a great tuna salad!

Buon appetito e buona notte..

 

Pasta al pesto “stop and go”

Hello everybody!
How’s the weather in Brussels?
Here in Italy is still kind of temperate, but it depends on the regions and in this period I’m traveling a lot, up in the North, back to the South, and so on!!
I caught more trains in the last few weeks than in the past two years, and the story won’t change much in the forthcoming ones.
That’s why I have few time to cook but I refuse to give up to fast and prepared food.
If you too, you don’t want to give up, this post is for you!
Yep, this recipe is for those people who don’t have much time or do not feel like cooking, but want to eat healthy and well.

INGREDIENTS (2 servings)

  • 200 gr Durum wheat flour pasta
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 50 gr almonds
  • a fistful of fresh Valerian salad
  • Parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • extravirgen olive oil
  • a spoon of sugar
  • garlic if you like it
  • thyme
  • salt, pepper.

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Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes. Prepare a baking tray with some grease proof paper and place tomatoes on it.
Sprinkle with thyme, a bit of salt and sugar.
Put the baking tray in the oven, grill on the top, 140°C.
Fill a large pot with water and bring the water to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile combine almonds, cheese, Valerian salad and garlic (if wanted) in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add salt, pepper and oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water (do not forget to add salt to the boiling water before adding pasta).
Drain the pasta into a colander and shake off excess of water.
Season pasta with the almond pest and stir well.
Add the caramelized tomatoes and serve.

I wish you a wonderful weekend, mine will be a matter of love, surprises and friends.
Claudia

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A Shot of Energy? Belgian Cheesecake!

Wednesday..A nice day, since it is in the middle of the week. You start to see the week end but you also know that there are other 2 loooong days before the relax. How to deal with this long wait? A big slice of a very good cake is always the right solution!

In this case I decided to try a new version of the cheesecake: the Belgian one, with speculoos for the base and a layer of Belgian dark chocolate on the top.

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Trust me: the smile on your face you will come up naturally.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of speculoos
  • a small spoon of cocoa powder
  • 250g of ricotta
  • 60g of Philadelphia
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 spoons of sugar
  • 80g of dark Belgian chocolate
  • a bit of butter to add to the cookies for preparing the base of the cake

We start preparing the base: blend and crush the cookies, then, add the butter and the spoon of cocoa powder. Amalgamate all and roll out the dough into a cake tin lined with baking paper. When the base is done put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and in the meanwhile prepare the cream. Mix the 2 yolks with the sugar, then add the ricotta and the Philadelphia and mix everything. At this point add the 2 whipped eggs whites and amalgamate all together. Now you pull out of the fridge the cookies’ base and you cover it with the cream cheese. Put in the oven for 40 minutes at 180°. When the cheese cream will be a bit solid the cake will be ready so you should pull it out of  the oven and cover it with the chocolate cream made just with the dark chocolate melted with a bit of water.

Leave the cake in the fridge for at least 3 hours till it becomes cold, then enjoy!

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P.S. I apologize for the quality of the pictures s but I took them with my mobile phone..:)

Arborio rice with truffle from Abruzzi

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What a hard work to come back from the longest and probably most beautiful summer I ever spent in my entire life!
Sun is still shining in Italy, and I still don’t feel like get in the kitchen and start cooking…but as I promised you, I came back from holiday with a lot of recipes. I spent most of August travelling around the Abruzzi, our first stop-over.. from the sea to the mountains and back, all over the region.  _DSC9028

The recipe I propose you today comes from the countryside, and I have to thank Lino, Paola and Matilde for the present, but also Tobia and Havana, Lino’s dogs, who did the dirty work and found the truffle!

ARBORIO RICE WITH TRUFFLE FROM ABRUZZI

Ingredients:
6 small cups of Arborio rice
a little yellow onion
butter
beef bouillon or vegetables broth
a glass of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo
truffle-peeled and sliced thin
Parmigiano Reggiano

Mince the onion and put it in a pot with a bit of butter. Add Arborio rice and stir well.

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Simmer with white wine until reduced, then add a spoonful broth at a time and cook for about fifteen minutes, adding broth when needed.

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Turn the burner off, add truffle, parmigiano and some butter, stir and cover for a couple of minutes. Serve hot, adding some more truffle on the top of the risotto.

Have a nice weekend,
your Claudia.

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Friends, Small talk and…Bruschetta!

Hello!

I apologize for this week of silence but I have been to a very special wedding in Sicily. The most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen, the best weekend ever. I am so ​​full of happiness, serenity, love and cheerfulness that I think I will be happy for all the next year:)

40 people, friends from childhood, a big family together in a big sicilian farmhouse for an entire weekend. Who could ask for more? And then, if at the center of the garden there is also a huge BBQ on which have been cooked more than 16 kg of lamb, many of fennel sausage, and ribs bracciole all washed down with gallons of Sicilian wine..No words, only happyness!

About the menu of the wedding I will maybe show you some pictures later on since we all know that images speak more than words. In the meanwhile we should, I should, come back to the reality, to Brussels, where the weather is not longer very good and we start to spend our evenings at home, maybe with good friends and a bottle of wine, speaking about our summers and our loves.

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To Silvia, me and our friends, it often happens  that we start our evenings outside, with an apero, and then we decide to continue our chat at home in front of something good to eat. However, not always the fridge is full of ingredients and possibilities so..sometimes creativity is essential. The recipe I want to give you today is exactly the result of one of this evenings!

Bruschetta with avocado, tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala and chilli oil. So easy soooo good!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 soft avocado
  • few tomatoes
  • 1 mozzarella di bufala
  • brown bread
  • chilli oil

Toast the bread, spread on it the avocado and put on top the small pieces of tomatoes and mozzarella. Then, season with chilli oil and salt!

Have fun

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Why we need a man if we have the cookies?

I love cookies. First of all they are very simple to made, then, they can last longer if stored in the right way. They are perfect for a snack or an easy breakfast but, depending by the recipe, they can also be an elegant dessert for a dinner with friends. They can keep you company in front of the tv watching a nice movie, they can come with you everywhere, they are good for all the seasons and you can eat them without feeling guilty since they are small and thin :) Moreover, you are never tired of them becuase you can eat them in sooo many ways: soaked in latte, coffee or tea, covered by chocolate or jam, made with dried fruit or spices, butter or olive oil..they are the fantasy realm, Not to mention all the forms that you can give to them. And, finally, the nicest thing is that, if they come out with some mistakes..it is enough just to eat them and the mistake will disappear! So…Why we need a man when we have the cookies?! :)

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Now, do you remember those nice molds for cookies that I had bought together with some nice jam and the speculos spices from Dille&Camille few months ago? (http://youritaliancookmates.altervista.org/dillekamille-un-angolo-di-paradiso/) Finally I decided to use them!

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Ingredients:  

  • 250g of flour
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg
  • a bit of salt
  • 100g sugar
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons (as much as you like) of speculos spices (you can do it also just with cinnamon or other spices you like!)
  • apple and cinnamon jam q.b.

MIx all the ingredients together (except the jam) in order to create the pastry that you will leave in the fridge for 30 min. wrapped in a film. After that, you should roll out the dough with the rolling pin to obtain a thickness of about 3-4 mm.

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 Have fun to cut out and shape the cookies as you like the most. Remember that, for those “bulls-eye” with jam the best idea is to cut circles with glasses, and, for half of these, you have to make an extra hole in the center with a smaller glass. The donut-shaped cookies will be used as a cover of the other circles-shaped cookies covered with jam!

At this point put the cookies into the oven, 180°, for around 20 min.

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When they are ready, leave to cool the ones you want to eat as they are. Instead, for the ones with the jam, you should take the circles-shaped cookies still hot, spread them with the jam and cover them with the donut-shaped cookies. Then, leave them to cool to room temperature!

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I wish to all of you a good Sunday and a good relax!