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what to cook on the shortest day of the year – Italian Cuisine

what to cook on the shortest day of the year

From Swedish sweets to Palermo arancine, here are the traditions in the kitchen for December 13th

“Santa Lucia, the shortest day there is”, says a proverb. And, in fact, the 13 December is known as the shortest day of the year (or the longest night) even if in reality this is no longer the case since, with the transition to the Gregorian calendar, the winter solstice it falls a week later, on December 21st.

Santa Lucia, what to cook on the shortest day there is

Short or long, we always find time to cook and celebrate by making this day magical, especially for i children. It is they in fact who, in the night between 12 and 13 December, eagerly await the arrival of Saint Lucia which, according to legend, will pass from house to house on the back of a donkey leaving treats and gifts to the little ones.

What to prepare special? The traditions in the kitchen linked to Saint Lucia are different and numerous.

Lussekatter, the Swedish sweets of Saint Lucia

December 13th is a very heartfelt holiday in Sweden where it is usual to prepare the Lussekatter, the cats of Saint Lucia: these are soft sweets whose shape resembles the rolled tail of a cat, characterized by an unmistakable aroma of saffron, a spice that with its yellow color illuminates the darkest night of the year. Here is the recipe to prepare them.

From the eyes of Saint Lucia to the arancine, the traditions for December 13 in Italy

The saint of light is also celebrated in certain areas of Italy: in Puglia it is tradition to do the eyes of Saint Lucia, little ones taralli to wine covered with a sugar glaze, a preparation that we explain here with some tips for children to participate.

In Sicily, in Palermo, Santa Lucia is the day of the arancine. Popular tradition dictates that, out of devotion, neither bread nor pasta should be eaten throughout the day. All the bakeries in the city are closed and the predominant ones are the fry shops. Also in Palermo, but also in Syracuse, on 13 December and mainly at home, it is customary to taste the sit, an ancient sweet made with boiled wheat with ricotta cream. If you want to know more, here is the recipe to prepare it.

How to cook lentils without soaking – Italian Cuisine

How to cook lentils without soaking

Is it possible to cook lentils without soaking? It depends on the type of legumes you have purchased

Soups, broths, meatballs, salads, creams, first courses… Le lentils are a very versatile ingredient, economic and full of excellent property for health. In particular, it is the amounts of protein and iron that make them perfect meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Canned legumes, already pre-cooked, certainly represent an easy solution to bring the meal to the table quickly, but if you have chosen the lentils dry you will find yourself faced with the following question: can I cook them without soaking?

In general, lentils need to be softened in water for a period of time that can range from a minimum of two hours up to a whole night, in the case of larger varieties.
However, there are some types of lentils that do not require such a long soak or that can even avoid it altogether. This is the case of the peeled lentils, or those without peel.

Cooking lentils without soaking: which ones to choose?

Among the best dry lentils to cook without soaking there are first of all those Umbrian, like those of Castelluccio you hate Colfiorito, small in size and with a tender and thin skin that reduces cooking times.
Similar are the tiny lentils of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, very rare Abruzzo variety.

Even the red lentils, known as "Egyptian lentils" and mainly spread without peel, they are perfect for quick and practical cooking, without soaking times.

How to cook lentils without soaking

If you want to prepare stewed lentils without soaking, it is still important clean them properly before cooking, washing them in cold running water.

Once this operation is complete, you just have to cook them in a pot, adding enough water to just cover them. According to your taste, you can flavor with a clove of garlic, sautéed celery, carrot and onion, tomato or bacon.
As regards the herbs and the spices there is an embarrassment of choice: the best combinations are those with rosemary, bay leaf, sage, chilli, turmeric, paprika or curry.
The lentils should cook with the lid on for about 40 minutes, depending on the size and directions on the package.

You just have to choose the recipe that's right for you: below you will find our tastiest ideas!

Dried mushrooms: how to cook them? – The Italian kitchen – Italian Cuisine

Dried mushrooms: how to cook them? - The Italian kitchen

A supply of dried mushrooms in the pantry is always needed because with this ingredient you can cook many things, from the appetizer to the main course and also the side dish

Dried mushrooms are an ingredient to always keep in the pantry because they are very versatile and can be kept for a long time.
Here's how to soften them and then how to use them in the kitchen.

5 ways to soften dried mushrooms

How do you soften dried mushrooms?
Of course, the first way that comes to mind is by using water, but you know you can do it with both cold and hot water?
In the second case, using boiling water, you can recycle it to flavor a soup, or to cook pasta or to blend roasts.
In addition to water, you can also try the milk which will make the mushrooms much softer.
Other solutions are there steamer or a classic broth warm.

Once the mushrooms are ready, here are which recipes to use them:

Pasta Alla Boscaiola

A classic recipe that everyone always likes is pasta alla boscaiola.
We suggest you make it with homemade noodles or otherwise fresh egg pasta because mushrooms require this type of combination. The version with gnocchi is also excellent for a really rich and tasty first course.
The woodcutter has several variations. In addition to mushrooms, we suggest adding bacon and peas.

Escalopes with mushrooms

Another timeless classic are the escalopes with mushrooms.
They are prepared with a good cut of veal and simply bread the slices with flour.
Once cooked in butter and blend with the white wine, add the softened mushrooms, preferably in milk, and cooked in a pan with garlic, oil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
The secret is the creaminess of the sauce, so if you want you can blend a part of the mushrooms and add them after blending the meat with the wine.

Mushroom cream for croutons

To prepare delicious bruschetta or autumn croutons cook the mushrooms, steamed or softened in broth, with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, rosemary and sage.
Add the white wine and let it evaporate.
Once ready, season with salt and pepper and blend everything.
Excellent pairing with a tasty cheese such as gorgonzola, or with a pumpkin cream or with smoked cold cuts such as speck.
Then spread the cream obtained on the toasted croutons!

Baked potatoes and mushrooms

This is a super side dish that you absolutely must try.
If you love baked potatoes, you will love this version with mushrooms.
The first thing to do is cut the potatoes into wedges and blanch them for a couple of minutes.
Separately then cook the mushrooms in a pan with garlic and oil and at the end add salt and season with parsley.
Drain the potatoes and season them with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and with the mushrooms.
Pour everything into a baking dish and, if you want, sprinkle a little grated Parmesan cheese.
Cook in a convection oven at 200 ° for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve!

Scroll the gallery above to discover other recipes with dried mushrooms!

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