Posts Tagged "vegetarian"

insalata russa rossa (pink potato salad)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in main meal recipes | 1 comment

insalata russa rossa (pink potato salad)

I love it when I contact someone I interviewed in Italy to ask for recipe inspiration, and they hand me a gem wrapped up in their own family history.  This insanely pink salad has been a Christmas tradition for 3 generations in the family of Silvio Berlusconi’s image consultant. Presumably she never suggested that Italy’s flamboyant former Prime Minister should wear a beetroot coloured tie. It may have clashed somewhat with his slightly, er, orange complexion.  However this unusual but simple dish is a perfect accompaniment to cold meats such as ham and turkey. It’s really easy to make for a large number of people and is a fantastic quick meal for kids who are of course intrigued by the colour. Pink isn’t just for girls.

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pasta e zucca (pumpkin pasta)

Posted by on Oct 2, 2011 in main meal recipes | 1 comment

pasta e zucca (pumpkin pasta)

When autumn embraces Italy, ladies of a certain age don their fur coats in temperatures that still invite tourists to wear shorts and sandals. The change of season also welcomes this delicious pasta dish to many school dinner menus. It makes the most of the abundance of squashes and pumpkins. This recipe was given to me by a head teacher I know in Naples. She says the sweet buttery taste goes down a treat with most kids. It also makes sure they get a good dose of veggies. In my house this recipe is a big hit for an easy supper as it only uses one pan to cook the lot. We stir some chilli oil into the adults portions to add a kick that contrasts nicely with the sweetness. 

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polpette di ricotta al sugo (ricotta balls in tomato sauce)

Posted by on Sep 5, 2011 in main meal recipes | 0 comments

polpette di ricotta al sugo (ricotta balls in tomato sauce)

Packed with protein, these ‘poor man’s meatballs’ are a traditional peasant dish from Calabria (the toe of Italy’s boot).  When meat was scarce and costly, many families replaced it in recipes like this using fresh ricotta cheese which was cheap and plentiful. The lovely lady from Calabria who ran a tiny grocers shop opposite my flat in Rome was always extolling the virtues of ricotta, as well as telling me off for going out with wet hair and no make up, and asking when I was going to stop travelling around Italy on my own and get married.  It’s not easy or cheap to get genuine fresh ricotta in the UK, but that doesn’t matter. Tubs of the supermarket stuff still work brilliantly to create this tasty nutritious dinner for all the family.  I’ve also discovered this is a really useful recipe for teething toddlers as it’s incredibly soft to eat. Serve with pasta for an even heartier meal. 

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salame al cioccolato (chocolate salami)

Posted by on Aug 22, 2011 in dessert recipes, favourites | 1 comment

salame al cioccolato (chocolate salami)

This fun no-cook chocolate recipe comes from a headmistress in Naples. She told me it’s a firm favourite at birthday parties. She should know. She has a family herself and has been a teacher for over 3 decades. I did a bit of a double take though when she sent me the recipe and I saw limoncello (lemon liqueur) on the list of ingredients. I called her up to check.  “Are you sure about limoncello for kids?” I asked. “You don’t have to use it” she answered, “rum works just as well”.  

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pasta e piselli (pasta and peas)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in main meal recipes | 0 comments

pasta e piselli (pasta and peas)

Sweet, satisfying and simple. Pasta e piselli is one of those dishes that brings comfort after a long day. This recipe is from a dear Italian friend I met at University in Paris. I won’t tell you how many years ago that was.  But when I worked in Rome, her friends and family became mine, and her house a sanely insane refuge from the slightly surreal existence of being a foreign correspondent. We would talk, eat, drink and talk and drink some more. Did I interview her? Of course. Her English is huskily impeccable. And whenever I ended up covering an anti-war demonstration I knew she’d provide a passionate quote at a relatively sensible distance from the front line of baton wielding police and tear gas. Usually supping a cool beer, placard at her feet. 

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souffle di spinaci (spinach souffle)

Posted by on Aug 13, 2011 in main meal recipes, snack recipes | 2 comments

souffle di spinaci (spinach souffle)

Pieces of delicious green fluffiness. This souffle is a bit like a quiche without the base and is perfect for the whole family. It can be cut into small cubes for younger children and babies who’ve already been introduced to eggs. Today for lunch we all ate it alongside cold meats and salad. It’s also great with a bbq or eaten cold at a picnic.  

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coppette di pomodoro al tonno (tomato and tuna salad cups)

Posted by on Aug 10, 2011 in main meal recipes | 2 comments

coppette di pomodoro al tonno (tomato and tuna salad cups)

What does an eccentric Italian composer cook his son? To be honest when I first asked him, the answer was … ‘frozen fish fingers’. Really? I asked, did you never cook anything yourself? He thought about it, then chuckled. A gravelly 40-a-day chuckle. ‘Tomato, tuna and egg salad’ he said.  ‘What was in it?’ I wondered. Unneccesary question. On one hand, this single Dad  totally bucks the stereotype of Italians slaving in the kitchen for family meals. On the other, he’s left me with little to work with except tomato, tuna and egg. I guess it’s what you do with it. So I’ve added some mayo, herbs and presentation to spruce it up. This meal was actually a surprise hit for the little person’s supper. She loved scooping the filling out of the tomato cup and spreading it on bread. I added a chopped anchovy and a few capers to the top of mine. Nice starter. Pass the wine. I’d like to stress that no pianos were hurt in this photo. 

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quick ricotta and nutmeg pasta

Posted by on Jul 21, 2011 in main meal recipes | 0 comments

quick ricotta and nutmeg pasta

A super quick life saver of a recipe. From start to finish, it takes 10 minutes. I was given this dish by a Sicilian anti-mafia campaigner, and dad of two. His day job doesn’t leave much time for cooking elaborate meals. So when he’s on duty in the kitchen, this is a speedy favourite. His kids love it, and I’ve been given some chubby thumbs up in my house too. I often cook this on a work day when I pick my daughter up from nursery and get her home to find that she’s still hungry.

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