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The very young Sicilian cook – Italian Cuisine

The very young Sicilian cook


Sicily and the Mediterranean in the hands of twenty-five year old Elena Amico, who leads one of the few gluten free restaurants in Palermo

In Palermo there is a girl who, at only 25, with her kitchen, manages to tell something much bigger and older than her: the Mediterranean and the island that is perfectly in its center, Sicily. He does it both in his restaurant, the Sesto Canto of Palermo, among the few gluten free of the city; both around the world, when thanks to her abilities she is asked to cook the meeting between the land and the sea, from which a homonymous event. But be careful, the Sesto Canto is the Dante's circle in which the greedy ones are punished, because the kitchen of Elena Friend it is like the Mediterranean currents: deep.

The Sesto Canto of Palermo

Elena spent a third of her life in the kitchen. Actually Elena started cooking long before the current round she has been working in for eight years, when she used to cook at home on the notes of the greatest jazz musicians, her father's passion, as can be seen from the current venue. To bring it there were a series of fatalities, in particular the meeting with the chef Riccardo Panarello, who has been and continues to be his great master, along a long, hard, hard course. Because the Mediterranean is not something that is inherited, but is achieved. It is a decision, not an advantage. So today they share the same cuisine as the Sesto Canto, which in Palermo was one of the first (and one of the few) to pay particular attention to food intolerances with menus and dishes of the day that are always present also in the version gluten free. But the main characteristic of Elena is another: the devotion and respect with which she treats the raw material, without ever altering it more than necessary, just as the products of Sicily deserve. Both those of the sea and those of land.

Products from the sea

If there is one thing that Elena knows how to do is cook the fish, in particular the tuna, which is an integral part of Sicilian history and culture. In this regard there are some noteworthy names, such as the Macaluso family of the company Coalma, which deals with the selection of the best blue fish fished in the Mediterranean offering red tuna, tuna, anchovies, mackerel and tuna cooked in water and salt according to an ancient recipe handed down from 1922. The same goes for the very young Paolo Gennusa of Pure Sea in Custonaci, which completes the entire processing of its fish products in Sicily, including a delicious one tuna bresaola. Moreover, it is also very attentive to environmental issues with continuous monitoring of energy and environmental parameters such as drinking water, electricity and CO emissions.2. But too often we forget that the islands are not only sea, but also land.

Products from the earth

Do you know something more fascinating than the art of bread-making in the Mediterranean? Even more so in Sicily, where for years they have been carrying out important work on durum wheat and on the recovery of the oldest varieties. An example always present in Elena's kitchen is the Pandittaino of the Agricultural Cooperative Valle del Dittaino, in the province of Enna, which completes the entire chain: from the production of grain to its storage, from the grinding to the bakery, for a daily result of about 200 quintals of bread. The Pandittaino is one of those loaves of the past, which lasts even a week, with a high degree of craftsmanship, prepared only with durum wheat semolina, water, salt and acid yeast "criscenti" to ensure the typical sensory characteristics of Sicilian bread slightly acidic taste and the smell of wheat and earth. Not least are the cheeses of the Sicilian dairy tradition, like those of the historic family Zappala; or wines made from vines that stretch from 40 meters up to 450 meters above sea level, like those of the Tenute Chiarelli; or, again, oil Barbera, which at the Sesto Canto never fails, for many reasons, including one above all: it knows as much about land as it does about the sea.

The sea reaches where the olive tree grows

In Sicily Manfredi Barbera needs no introduction. Now a prophet at home and an ambassador in the world, Manfredi is one who leaves his mark, who has had that strength of seamen to carry on a history of land for 120 years. It was the end of the 1800s, in fact, when the Manfredi family moved from Menfi to Palermo and founded the Società degli Oleifici Siciliani in 1888, together with the Florio of tonnare, whose oil was used for conservation. They have since passed 120 years, with periods of high, like the first two decades of the twentieth century and of low. And yet the Manfredi oils came to the fifth generation, drawing something from each passage, even though it is undeniable that a particular vital impetus was given to them by Manfredi, by his travels, by his Mediterranean passion; the same one that tries to transmit to his sons Carlo and Lorenzo (of which I suggest you try the homonymous oil). Also for them, Manfredi organized (together with the other producers, Atmosfere Siciliane and at the Department of Mediterranean Fishing) a moment to bring together, always in the hands of Elena, the land and the sea.

The earth meets the sea

The land meets the sea is an initiative created to introduce Sicilian fish and agri-food products, taking them on a sailing boat and, cooked by Elena, making them taste passers-by and travelers from Palermo to Ustica, up to San Vito Lo Capo (during the days of the Cous Cous Fest). The deepest meaning, in fact, is to recover that ancient sense of belonging to the same sea and its laws, even if the Mediterranean is much more than a simple belonging. And how, if not on a sailboat, a sustainable means par excellence, which exploits the winds, the true gods of the sea; those that only those who live there can recognize and anticipate, just like Manfredi. Doing it by land would not have had the same meaning because, as Predrag Matvejević wrote in his Mediterranean Breviary, as long as we sail we forget the differences, and then remember them once I went ashore.

How to cook and cook baked pumpkin – Italian Cuisine

How to cook and cook baked pumpkin



Symbol of autumn and the spectral recurrence of Halloween, the pumpkin it is a beloved vegetable all over the world. This plant, originating from the Americas, has seduced and conquered the cuisine of various countries with its orange flesh and its delicate aromas, which vary from species to species.

Used in side dishes, casseroles, soups, risottos and fillings for fresh pasta, la pumpkin often needs one pre-baked in the oven. How to best perform it? Discover with Salt and pepper all the secrets and tricks for cook the pumpkin in the oven perfect.

When it is better to cook the baked pumpkin

The good news if you are a lover of pumpkin is that, even if it reaches maturity and is harvested in late summer and early autumn, you can enjoy it throughout the winter. A whole pumpkin can in fact be kept for up to a year after its harvest. But be careful what kind of vegetable you are buying and, above all, if fully ripe.

If you want to take away the worry of having to cook it piece by piece from time to time, the best way to keep it in the freezer it is not raw but already baked in the oven. Obviously you can also choose to keep the pumpkin cooked in the microwave or steamed, you will still have a great result.

Which pumpkin to choose

If you're wondering which pumpkin is best to choose and how to prepare it in the oven we are here to answer your question. Let's start by saying that the pumpkin is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Gourds. The fruit is a very large berry with a very hard peel. Italy is a land of pumpkins: many varieties are cultivated. Let's see what to choose to prepare the baked pumpkin perfect.

The most famous in Italy is the Mantuan pumpkin, also known as the priest's hat. Although it can give us a hard time eliminating the hard skin, its pulp is powdery and tasty. If you want a sweeter taste try the marine pumpkin of Chioggia. The most used to prepare the baked pumpkin is instead the tonda padana. Born in America, it has adapted perfectly to our territory, its flesh is very valuable and versatile.

Also there pumpkin pumpkin from Piacenza with a flat shape and an irregular surface it lends itself to this type of cooking. The pulp, between yellow and orange, is firm, compact and powdery. Just add a little olive oil and a few sprigs of rosemary to get a tasty result with just baking. A more particular flavor is offered by the long pumpkin of Naples. This vegetable, which can weigh up to 20 kilograms, has a flavor between sweet and savory that is preserved even after baking.

How to prepare baked pumpkin

Now that you've chosen the pumpkin variety we find out together how to prepare it in the oven. Cut the vegetable into slices or pieces and place them in a baking dish, you can decide whether to keep or remove the peel. Season it all with a little extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, don't forget to add some aromatic herbs: both thyme and rosemary highlight the characteristic aroma of the pumpkin.

At this point you just have to put the tray with the pumpkin in the oven and cook it at 200 ° C for 20-30 minutes. You will know that it is ready when, helping you with your fork, you will discover that it is soft inside and crunchy on the surface.

How to cook the pumpkin in the oven cut in half

Now let's try to answer another very common doubt: how to cook the pumpkin in the oven cut in half and with the peel. If you love pumpkin, but don't feel like sweating seven shirts to clean it, the technique of baking in the oven is the one that's right for you. The cooked pulp in this way will be perfect for filling ravioli, preparing a cake, a velvety, a risotto and even a purée. The outer skin will have become soft and it will be much easier to eliminate it.

Proceed as follows: wash the pumpkin, light the oven at 200 ° C and cut the vegetable in half without peeling it. Remove the seeds with a spoon and place it upside down on a baking sheet. Put the half pumpkin in the oven and cook it for at least 20 minutes. The prongs of the fork, stuck in the skin without resistance, will tell you that the wait is over and that the pumpkin is cooked.

Is it better to cut the pumpkin into slices or cubes?

If you have chosen to cook the baked pumpkin, you may find yourself in front of another question: Is it better to make it into slices or cubes? Both cuts are valid and give a tasty and very scenic result.

If you have chosen to bake the cubed pumpkin you will get a more aromatic result because this format allows you to dress the vegetable better. Just a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary to enrich the orange flesh with flavor. If instead you have decided to cook the sliced ​​pumpkin you can bring it to the table directly as a side dish.

Matches with baked pumpkin

What to combine with baked pumpkin? Let's find out together. The most classic of pairings is with cheese: tip on a gorgonzola or another blue-veined cheese to get a disruptive "wow effect".

If you want to love strong flavors, remember that macaroon is mustard are 2 combinations that have always been present also in the filling of tortelli. Try also the combination pumpkin is truffle, perfect for a risotto or a puree. While for a dessert based pumpkin the most appropriate combination is with spices such as nutmeg and the cinnamon.

What to do with the advanced baked pumpkin

Did you cook baked pumpkin kilos but couldn't eat it all? What can you do with the advanced baked pumpkin? First you can freeze it, it will remain ready for use for at least 3 months. If you plan to consume it within the week, you can also keep it in the fridge, in a simple airtight container.

Light recipes with baked pumpkin

If you want to use the baked pumpkin to prepare light recipes, we have some valuable suggestions for you. You can turn the cooked pulp into a puree that you will toast in the oven to create gods crunchy sage pumpkin cannoli. You can try an excellent light side dish with the pumpkin and porcini mushrooms with rosemary or prepare a unique dietetic dish like the yellow pumpkin tin with barley flakes: you will have everything you need to be satisfied without giving up taste.

Delicious recipes for baked pumpkin, au gratin

A classic baked dish is the yellow pumpkin gratin, leeks and cheese. If the pumpkin abounds and you have some time why not try cooking then the yellow pumpkin parmigiana? This is one of the mouth-watering recipes to take advantage of baked au gratin pumpkin. This food so prepared is excellent tasted as a side dish, and can be enhanced in combination with mushrooms is cheeses.

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How to cook chestnuts in 10 recipes – Italian Cuisine

How to cook chestnuts in 10 recipes


A typical autumnal fruit, chestnuts are a versatile product that can be used to prepare appetizing and unusual recipes. Used in sweet or savory preparations, chestnuts are rich in mineral salts and fiber, as well as being a food with a high energy value

With the first colds the time for chestnuts arrives: who doesn't go crazy with the idea of ​​enjoying a plate of steaming roasted chestnuts? Or, how did our grandmothers, to eat them boiled in a glass of milk? Loved by adults and children, chestnuts are an ingredient increasingly present in our kitchen, turned into cream to fill cakes or crumbled into a sophisticated risotto. Below are our suggestions for bringing them to the table.

Croutons of black bread with lard and chestnuts

It is a fast and tasty appetizer. Boil 300 g of chestnuts; when they are ready, cook them in a saucepan with a knob of butter and some rosemary needles. Meanwhile, grill the slices of black bread and place a slice of lard on each, better if D'Arnad. Add the rosemary-scented chestnuts and garnish with a drizzle of chestnut honey. Serve with freshly grilled hot bread.

Sheet with chestnut cream and scamorza

It is an appetizing finger food. Boil 250 g of chestnuts and when they are ready clean them and remove the skin. Blend them by adding a few drops of milk, until they form a soft cream. With the help of a spoon or a sàc a few spread on each sheet of crackers, the chestnut cream. Meanwhile cook the smoked scamorza, cut into slices, in a saucepan with a little oil. When it is well colored and not yet steaming, remove it with the help of a spatula, place it over each pastry and decorate with chopped fresh pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Cream of chestnuts and potatoes with crispy pancetta

Cut a leek into thin slices, fry it in a pan with a little olive oil and after 500 minutes add 500 g of peeled and diced potatoes. Cook for 30 minutes, adding a ladle of broth from time to time.
Meanwhile, slice the pancetta into strips and sauté in a non-stick pan without any seasoning until it has become crispy.
Add to the ready-made potatoes 12 boiled chestnuts without peel, mix the mixture with a blender and add salt. If the cream is too thick you can add a ladle of broth. At this point, serve the velouté with crispy pancetta cubes, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and two minced rosemary needles.

Lentil and chestnut soup

Typical recipe of Abruzzo tradition, this dish embodies the flavors and colors of autumn. First boil 100 g of chestnuts, peel them and crumble them. In the meantime, rinse the lentils and put them to boil in a pot of water for about 30 minutes with a handful of salt. Fry in a saucepan a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a chopped celery stalk, an onion cut into thin slices, a clove of garlic and a package of peeled tomatoes. After 5 minutes add the lentils with their cooking water, the boiled chestnuts and a rennet apple cut into small pieces. Cook for 10 minutes over high heat. When cooked, add chopped parsley and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Rabbit stuffed with chestnuts

Take an already boned rabbit and cut it in half. Meanwhile, place 120 g of already boiled and peeled chestnuts in a pan with a knob of butter, a shallot cut into pieces and let simmer for 10 minutes. When they are cooked, chop them coarsely and mix them with an egg, a pinch of salt, pepper and a few sprigs of chopped rosemary. Spread the mixture over half of the rabbit saddle, overlap the other half and tie everything with string. Place the stuffed rabbit on a greased baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 180 ° for 40 minutes. Eliminate the aluminum after 20 minutes. Finally, take the meat out of the oven and let it rest. Dilute the cooking sauce with half a ladle of water on the heat and then filter. Serve the rabbit cut into round slices with its sauce and a little oil.

Mortadella and chestnut meatballs

Easy and tasty recipe. Finely chop half an onion with some parsley, basil, sage and rosemary leaves. Meanwhile boil 15 chestnuts in abundant salted water. Peel them and crumble them roughly. In a bowl, cut 300 g of mortadella into small pieces, add 300 g of ground beef and 300 g of sausage without the skin. Add an egg, the crumbled chestnuts, a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and a couple of slices of bread in a box soaked in milk and squeezed. Add the chopped herbs and season with pepper.

Make small meatballs with your hands and brown them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and chopped celery and carrot. If the dough is too liquid, add a tablespoon of breadcrumbs.
When the meatballs are golden, add a glass of white wine.

Tasty salad

It can be a delicate side dish or a single dish. Take some songino, finely slice half fennel and a rennet apple. Put everything in a bowl, add a handful of roasted, peeled and crumbled chestnuts, chopped almonds and thinly sliced ​​dried apricots.
Crumble some dry bread, put it in a pan with a little oil and two cloves of garlic. Brown the bread and add it to the other ingredients. Season with oil, salt and lemon and serve.

Small chestnut pudding

Boil half a kilogram of chestnuts in water for 25 minutes, drain, peel and shake. You can also use already cooked and vacuum-packed chestnuts: in this case, halve the dose. Chop apart 50 gr of peeled almonds. Melt 100 g of salted butter in a saucepan. Shell the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites; add 140g of brown sugar to the yolks and whip until they become creamy. Stir in the melted butter, almonds and 50 g of sweet cocoa. Meanwhile whip the egg whites until stiff. Now add the blended chestnuts and egg whites to the mixture, being careful not to disassemble them. Pour the contents into small buttered molds, filling them 2/3. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the puddings from the oven and serve with a tablespoon of liquid cream.

Chestnut strudel

Prepare the strudel paste according to the recipe (https://www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com/tutorial/le-tecniche/la-pasta-di-strudel), wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Whisk about 300 g of boiled chestnuts, add 50 g of shelled walnuts, a teaspoon of chopped ginger and one of cocoa. Stir and spread this filling in the center of the strudel paste spread. Fold the strudel dough and close it by brushing the edges with beaten yolk. Also close the two ends of the strudel and bake at 180 ° for about 40 minutes. Serve with cream ice cream.

Chocolate mousse in chestnut pastry

A really inviting and easy to prepare spoon dessert. First chop 350 g of dark chocolate in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water and cook over low heat. Add 125 g of icing sugar to the mixture and remove from the heat. Add 6 egg yolks and mix with the whisk until the mixture is homogeneous.
Whisk 4 egg whites separately and add them to the chocolate, making sure they do not come apart. At this point the mousse is ready to be placed in the refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours.
Separately, beat 2 egg whites with the whisk for a few seconds, then stir in 30 g of 00 flour, 30 g of chestnut flour and 75 g of icing sugar. Mix well. Cover a baking sheet and distribute it over the batter with a spoon, forming 4 circles of 12 cm in diameter each.
Put in a preheated oven and brown. Then remove the waffles and place them on an inverted mold, bending them gently
to give them the shape of a small container. Repeat the operation with the rest of the batter. Serve the mousse inside the wafers and sprinkle with icing sugar.

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