Tag: cook

How to cook spelled – Italian Cuisine

Tips to bring spelled to the table, a versatile cereal, easy to cook, perfect paired with fish, meat and vegetables

Spelled it is a cereal with very ancient origins: the Romans made it the "puls", a kind of polenta that remained the most consumed food of the poor even in the imperial age. Since each ear generally bears only one kernels, it was gradually replaced by other cereals even if, with the return of interest in regional, poor and traditional foods, a new moment of glory is reliving!

Its name indicates three species of grasses of the same botanical genus of wheat: Triticum monococcum, Triticum turgidum and Triticum aestivum and unlike soft and hard wheat, the three species of spelled are dressed grains. For this reason the beans, after threshing, require mechanical procedures to be peeled. Sometimes they can also be pearly, such as barley and rice, and this makes them clearer but reduces the amount of fiber and nutrients.

The pairings

Spelled has a very particular aroma, which adapts very well to decisive combinations. It can be combined with fish and vegetables, it can be an accompaniment for meat, which, with spelled as a garnish, creates many unique dishes. On the market it is pearly, semi-pearly, whole (with the outer film of the grain, called glumetta), broken, in flour and flakes for breakfast. Spelled is a highly appreciated food in the kitchen and considered among those beneficial to health. Especially the hulled one, it contains a lot of fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, valuable fats and vitamins, in particular from group B. It is also low in calories and, absorbing a lot of water, it immediately gives a sense of satiety. Folk medicine has always attributed to him energy, refreshing and intestinal regulation properties. Those pearly and semi-pearly with chemical treatments have lost part of their nutritional properties and are considered of lesser quality.

how to cook spelled

How to prepare it

First wash the spelled under running water to remove all impurities. If you use hulled spelled, remember to leave it to soak the night before, for pearly spelled it doesn't need to be soaked. Spelled is consumed boiled, in abundant salted water: the hulled one cooks in about an hour, the pearly or semi-pearly one in 30 minutes. Double the water must always be considered compared to the cereal. Once cooked, let it rest for ten minutes to absorb all the water before seasoning it. It can also be toasted as if it were rice or steamed.

Vegetables, fish or meat: the ideal pairings

Spelled is a very versatile food, it goes very well with vegetables, fish or meat to prepare appetizers, first or second courses. It can be used in timbales or instead of rice in supplì. It is excellent in a salad with cherry tomatoes, green beans and olives, accompanied by mozzarella, basil and tomato or with a pesto of zucchini and prawns. A fresh and summery recipe is spelled with aubergine cream, walnuts, pine nuts and mint. Combined with cooked vegetables it gives flavor to soups or gives a load of protein combined with sauteed legumes. Spelled can also be used to prepare sweets, with honey, ricotta and cinnamon. But remember to cook the spelled separately from the ingredients.

Bread, biscuits and cakes

Spelled flour is an excellent alternative to type 00 flour for preparing cakes, breads or biscuits. It is more digestible than 00 flour, it is less caloric and has a gluten more easily attacked by our digestive system. Furthermore, being spelled less refined than soft wheat, it maintains more nutrients.

Here are some tips to bring it to the table

Baked onions, how to cook them: tips and recipes! – Italian Cuisine

Baked onions, how to cook them: tips and recipes!

There are many and different types of onions that are found along the peninsula and each has its own specific characteristics to be enhanced in the kitchen: white au gratin, coarsely cut yellow and long-cooking red

The onions they are not all the same. From north to south of the country there are dozens of cultivated varieties, mainly divided into three types based on color of the bulb, which can be yellow, red and white. However, all onions are rich in vitamins and minerals and were used in ancient times for purify blood, but also to relieve the symptoms of flu and colds. The best known varieties are undoubtedly the Tropea red onion, the golden of Parma and the white of Barletta. But around the peninsula there are many, all with some characteristics different from each other and with various precautions to keep in mind when cooking them. Here are all the tricks to be taken to prepare the onions in the oven, depending on the variety.

Baked red onion

The general rule is usually that red onion is eaten uncooked, the white one is for flavor one dish, while the yellow one is ideal for long cooking. But every rule, you know, has its exceptions. The red onion of Tropea, grown mainly in the provinces of Cosenza and Vibo Valentia, oval in shape and tending towards purple, is usually eaten raw but can also be baked together with chopped parsley and rosemary, maintaining its unmistakable flavor. Simply peel the onions, boil them in salted water for just under ten minutes, cut them in two or three parts and put them in the oven at 180 degrees for an abundant hour, after covering them with a drizzle of oil. The same procedure can obviously be used for the red onion bell of Alife and for the red onions of Acquaviva delle Fonti (in Puglia), Suasa (Marche), Cannara (Umbria) and Cavasso Nuovo (Friuli).

Baked white onion

In addition to that from Barletta, among the most common white wines in Italy there is certainly also the onion grown in Giarratana, in Sicily. As said, white onions are mainly used in the kitchen to flavor numerous recipes, but they make a great impression at the table even if prepared in the oven. After cleaning them and keeping them in water for an hour, until the excessive flavor and smell is discharged, that's enough cut them crosswise on the bottom and place them in a pan with a high edge. Then you need to salt the onions, pepper them and cover them with oil and especially breadcrumbs. Baked white onions, in fact, are the most suitable to be gratin. At the end of these simple steps, you just have to bake them in 200 degrees until I am golden. The very fast preparation just described is also valid for the white onion of Chioggia, the typical Borettana of the Po Valley (ideal, however, especially for the conservation in bitter-sweet) and for the Sardinian of Banari, golden on the outside but very white once peeled.

Baked onions: the yellow one

Among the most common of this coloring are certainly the onion of Montoro, the one of Parma and the yellow onion of Sermide, in the Ferrara area. They are those used mainly for soups, while to prepare them in the oven, using them as side dish, there are very few steps and tips to keep in mind. Just peel them, boil them for about ten minutes in salted water, cut them coarsely and bake them in 180 degrees for three quarters of an hour, remembering previously to sprinkle them with oil and flavor them with salt and pepper. To make them even more fragrant, yellow onions can also be cooked in the oven with rosemary or parsley. Seeing is believing.

Cucumber: how to choose it, clean it and cook it – Italian Cuisine


The cucumber it belongs to the cucurbitaceae family and is native to Asia, where it has been cultivated since 3000 BC.

In practice it is the fruit of an annual herbaceous plant, from the same family of watermelon and melon.

There are many varieties of different sizes, more or less rounded at the end, with smooth or lumpy skin. Some grow well even in the mountains, others in warm areas, as long as they are not arid.

Cucumber contains a lot of water (96%) and needs well-hydrated soils. In Italy it has always been cultivated in Lazio, Veneto, Puglia, Sicily, Calabria and Emilia Romagna.


The most common cucumbers have green color and cylindrical shape: the length can range from 15-20 cm in the most common types on our markets, up to 30-40 cm in the Dutch varieties. There are then only 4-5 cm cucumbers, used for pickled preservation.

They are not yet fully ripe: the pulp, firm and crunchy, contains numerous seeds, more abundant in less fresh cucumbers.

Then there are the so-called "carousel" cucumbers: short, rounded and crossed by thin vertical grooves, they can be intense or light green, uniform or streaked. Their pulp is more digestible than that of common cucumbers.


To make it more digestible, peel it and peel it with an arched potato peeler, then cut it in half lengthwise and eliminate the seeds, passing a scoop along the central part with the seeds.

To remove the bitter taste of the cucumber, put the sliced ​​vegetable in a colander, sprinkle with salt and put a weight on it; rinse them after 30 minutes.

Or remove the 2 ends and rub them on the freshly cut pulp to extract the white foam.


In our tradition it is used to slice it thinly to mix it with mixed salads. Cut into sticks, diced or chopped, it is the protagonist of great dishes of Mediterranean cuisine, from Gazpacho Spanish allo tzatziki Greek or a characteristic Bulgarian soup, datta tarator, in which it is mixed with yogurt.


Cucumber is refreshing and diuretic, has very few calories but contains fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamins.

And it is excellent for beauty: two thick slices placed on the eyes for 10-15 minutes cause the capillaries to contract and thus reduce the swelling of the eyes.

Barbara Roncarolo
June 2020

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