Pasta, Gnocchi & Risotto
Ravioloni alle verdure grigliate – Classically cooked in boiling water and served with sautéed courgette and fresh mint leaves
Preparation: Cook in salted boiling water for 2 minutes and served with sautéed zucchini (courgettes) and fresh mint leaves.
Whilst the water comes to the boil, dice the courgette and sauté in an open fry pan with a splash of olive oil until nicely golden. Once cooked toss in the chopped mint leaves.
Add the ravioli to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes then combine with the sautéed courgettes and mint. Serve with a sprig of mint and grated parmesan.
Gnocchi di patate e uova – cooked directly in a Gorgonzola and milk sauce.
Preparation: 5 minutes + 3 minutes cooking On pack Alibert advise using 250g sauce for the full 500g of gnocchi.
1. Take a medium large frying pan, big enough to contain the sauce and gnocchi, and place the milk and gorgonzola in it.
2. Gently bring to the boil and then add the gnocchi.
3. Sautee together for “1 minute” as per the pack instructions and then serve.
Gnocchi di patate e uova – cooked in boiling water and served tossed in basil Pesto
Preparation: 5 minutes + 3-4 minutes cooking. In terms of cooking, this recipe couldn’t be simpler.
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and whilst waiting mix your pesto and olive oil in a serving dish.
2. Once boiled you can add the gnocchi and cook for 3-4 minutes. The gnocchi will float to the surface once cooked so all you need to do is scoop it out with a sieved spoon and place directly in the dish with the pesto, mix well and it’s ready to serve.
Meat Ragu or Bolognese
Ingredients: I small onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 stick celery, 1 carrot, 350-500g minced beef, 1 large tin of plum tomatoes, Oregano or mixed herbs, salt & pepper, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan, your pasta of choice
Preparation: 5-10 mins & 40 mins cooking
1. Dice the onion and garlic finely, peel and dice the carrot and thinly slice the stick of celery.
2. In a large pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook until starting to brown.
3. Add in the minced beef and cover for a couple of minutes until browned.
4. Add in the celery and carrot together with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
5. Finally, pour over the plum tomatoes and break using a wooden spoon and then stir in the oregano or mixed herbs. I favour plum tomatoes over tinned chopped tomatoes as they contain less water and tend to be more tomato-y. You can also use a jar of passata and/or add in a tablespoon of tomato puree if you want a stronger flavour.
6. Cover and allow your ragu to simmer for a good 30-40 minutes until your sauce is nicely coloured. At this stage, Italians will always add in an extra slug of olive oil for taste.
7. Serve with your pasta of choice and decorate with the grated parmesan and freshly chopped basil leaves.
Tip: Use seasonal vegetables for best results and keep it simple; Asparagus
Mushrooms, Courgette flower, Pumpkin, Chicory.
Preparation: 20 -30 mins
1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil to create stock by blanching your asparagus or vegetable of choice for 1-2 minutes.
2. Remove the asparagus and keep the water simmering. Tip: You can add in a stock cube for greater flavour or keep your stock simple.
3. In a large casserole dish heat some olive oil and add in the chopped 1/4 onion. Cook until golden and then throw in the dry rice and seal for a couple of minutes. Tip: Here you can add in a small cup of either red or white wine but many chefs believe it’s better to do without and let the flavour of the rice come through.
4. Add in the stock water in small amounts until the rice is cooked but still has a slight al dente crunch to it.
5. Chop your blanched asparagus and stir in to the risotto with the butter and grated parmesan and add salt to taste.
Tip: For mushrooms, fry up a few extra in butter to serve on top. For all other vegetables decorate as desired.
Preparation: 10 mins + 25 mins cooking
1. Chop 1/2 onion finely and cook in a generous helping of olive oil in a medium sized saucepan.
2. Add in 5-10 freshly chopped tomatoes (medium-size) or 1 tin of plum tomatoes (breaking up tomatoes), a shake of dried oregano, pinch of salt, 1 garlic clove (halved) and bring to the boil.
3. Leave to simmer for 15-25 mins and add in another good slug of olive oil to serve.
4. Stir in pasta of your choice and serve with freshly grated parmesan and shredded basil leaves.
Preparation: 20 mins + 4 mins cooking
1. Mix flour and egg yolks together to form a smooth dough.
2. Roll using a pasta machine or rolling pin until c. 3-5mm thick. Shape into small ravioli or tortellini or cut into lengths of tagliatelli or spaghetti. For tortellini or ravioli, fill with ricotta, spinach, pumpkin, meat ragu or other.
3. Bring a large deep pan of water to the boil and add in a handful of rock salt.
4. Cook fresh pasta for 3-4 minutes
Ingredients for ragout: 1 x pack of minced beef (c. 250-300g), 1 diced onion, 2 carrots diced, 2 celery sticks finely chopped, 1 x 700g bottle of tomato passata, oregano / mixed herbs, salt & pepper
Ingredients for bechamel sauce:, 200g butter, 0,75 -1 litre milk, 2-3 heaped tablespoons of flour
- In a deep pan, fry up the diced onion and then throw in the minced beef and cook until nicely browned.
- Add in the chopped celery, carrot, herbs, salt and pepper and pour over the tomato passata. Leave to simmer for 20 mins.
- In a seperate pan, melt the butter and then stir in a couple of heaped tablespoons of flour.
- Add in the milk whilst continuously stirring and keep stirring until nicely thickened. Add in more flour as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Take both pans off the heat and start contructing the lasagne in a rectangular baking dish.
- Start with a base layer of ragout then lasagne sheets and then bechamel. On top of the bechamel spoon a little more ragout then once again lasagne and bechamel until finished, making sure to leave enough bechamel for on top and a little ragout to make it decorative.
- Finally sprinkle parmesan and basil leaves over and cook in a medium oven 160-180 degrees for 45 mins to an hour.
Preparation: 1 hour + 10 mins cooking
- Boil the potatoes in their skins until you can insert a knife easily.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes and then rub off the skin and mash the potato with a potato creamer.
- Add in the flour and egg and mix into a smooth dough adding salt to taste.
- Cut of small sections and roll into a long sausage c. 1cm in diameter and then cut small gnocchi pieces (they don’t need to be uniform).
- Place all gnocchi on a heavily floured board before cooking to soak up an excess moisture.
- Bring a large deep pan of water to the boil, add some rock salt and bit by bit throw in the gnocchi. You’ll probably need to cook them in 3-4 stages as there will be a lot of them.
- As soon as the gnocchi float they are ready for eating.
- Scoop the gnocchi out with a large sieved spoon and toss into serving dish with any of the following; butter & sage, gorgonzola, pesto, meat ragout and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
- Melted Butter and fried sage
- Meat Ragout
Ingredients: 2-3 chopped Garlic Cloves, 1/2 Onion, 150g Grated Parmesan, Salt, Basil leaves, 2-3 Aubergine, 2 bottles of tomato Pasato or 3 tins of chopped tomatoes, 300g (2 packs) Mozzarella, Olive Oil, rock Salt
Preparation: 20-25 mins + 40 mins in oven
- Start by preparing the aubergine by slicing it into 1 cm think slices (rounds or lengthways) and sprinkling with some rock salt to dry out any water in the vegetable. Leave for anything up to 1 hour (20 mins will do) and then rinse and dry with kitchen paper.
- Next make the tomato sauce by frying the chopped onion in a deep pan in the olive oil. Once nicely coloured add in the 2 bottles of pasato or tins of chopped toatoes and simmer until the sauce thickens. Lastly add in a pinch of salt and the chopped basil leaves.
- Go back to your aubergine and fry the slices in olive oil (both sides) and then once again dry on kitchen paper to soak up any of the excess oil.
- With both the aubergine and tomato sauce prepared you can now start layering the parmigiana.
- Take a large rectangular baking dish and place a layer of tomato sauce followed by a layer of aubergine. Try not to overlap the aubergine slices too much as they will not cook as well later on. On top of each aubergine layer add more tomato sauce and then some grated paremesan and mozzarella slices and continue until you’ve got 3-4-5 layers or you’ve finished all your ingredients.
- Ideally the last layer should be tomato sugo with parmesan and mozzarella as this will form the crust when you bake it in the oven.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180-200 degrees and cook for 40 minutes or until the cheese crust is golden.
- Leave to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
Canederli (Spinach, Beetroot, Speck ham)
Ingredients for circa 12 Canederli: 150g soft white bread, 1/2 onion, 1tbsp butter, 2cups flour, 80g speck ham / smoked bacon (chopped finely) or for vegetarian option you can use spinach or beetroot, 100ml milk or water, 2 eggs, big sprig of parsley or chives, salt
Preparation: 20-30 mins + 20 mins cooking
- Cut the bread into small cube sized pieces and put in mixing bowl.
- Sweat the finely chopped onion in butter and add to the bread and mix well.
- Add the flour and speck / bacon.es.
- In a separate bowl mix the milk or water with the eggs, parsley or chives and the salt and then add to the bread mix and stir in.
- Leave the mix to rest for circa 15-20 minutes to allow for the liquid to soak in.
- Make your 12 canederli balls (using a spoon if it help to form the balls) and then cook them in boiling salted water with the pan half covered for circa 15-20 minutes. Alternatively you can roast them until nicely browned.
- Serve with a mixed salad.
- Serve as an accompaniament in soup.
- Serve dripping with melted butter.